It all came down to one phrase from my wife, Amy: “Mardi Gras and drinking just go so well together.”
I could find no logical argument.
And thus it was decided, as if heralded from the Isle of Joy by King Felix himself, that I shall provide a guide for an alcohol-fueled journey to last you through Fat Tuesday.
So grab your go-cups and take notes, fellow revelers. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover.
BEFORE THE PARADES:
Start things off right by making your way over to Serda’s Coffee Co. on Royal Street for one of its famous Screaming Moonpie Shots. An eclectic collection of Mobile denizens recently rang in the Boom Boom season with a few rounds of this classic concoction at the crack of 6 a.m. If that’s not enough street cred for you, perhaps the fact that it warms your belly and tastes remarkably like a Banana MoonPie will convince you that this is the way to start a parade.
DURING THE PARADES:
I’ve never been one to believe in rhyming drinking advice, but “liquor then beer, you’re in the clear.” It’s Mardi Gras, so why the hell not. And nothing goes better on the parade route than some good canned beer. There’s no glass to worry about, you can crush it flat and stash it in your throw bag, your favorite koozie fits it like a glove, and the selection of delicious canned craft beer has never been better.
If it’s a shorter parade and you’re looking for some bang for your buck, grab a six-pack of Straight To Ale’s Monkeynaut IPA. This rocket-fueled India Pale Ale has more than enough juicy hop flavor to satisfy your taste buds, and at 7.25 percent ABV, it should warm your belly nicely during the colder night parades.
If the weather warms up and the sun shines down upon the day parades, you really can’t go wrong with Westbrook Gose, a straw-colored, low-alcohol, sour and salty brew that conjures the flavors of ice cold margaritas, complete with a salted rim.
If your ice chest holds a ton of beer and you’re in it for the long haul, go for the Yuengling (“ying-ling” for the uninitiated). This Pennsylvania institution is America’s oldest family-owned brewery, a distinction that means more and more in these times of mega mergers and acquisitions in the beer industry. Besides, their flagship lager is an affordable, easy-drinking and flavorful option.
AFTER THE PARADES:
Collect your throws and journey to The Merry Widow at the corner of Conti and Conception streets, where mixologist-extraordinaire Roy Clark has devised his own take on the New Orleans classic Hurricane of Pat O’Brien’s fame. No super-sweet, high-fructose, pre-made mixers here; this Hurricane uses a blend of rums and nothing but pure, fresh fruit juices.
AT THE BALL:
(Blank) and (Blank). Choices for the first blank include: Crown, Jack, Beam or Crown (may be prefaced by the word double). Choices for the second blank: Coke, water, rocks, Coke or nothing at all. Or Coke.
GRAVESIDE RAISING CAIN:
You’re a Mardi Gras purist, the type who hangs the official Mobile Mardi Gras flag on Twelfth Night, and you’re certainly not going to miss the spectacle that is the Merry Widows of Joe Cain at the Church Street Cemetery on Sunday. They aren’t the most punctual bunch, and awaiting their arrival at Joe’s grave can get a little long, especially so early in the morning. That’s why I suggest a six-pack of Fairhope Brewing Co.’s Judge Roy Bean coffee stout.
While it may not be their official Mardi Gras seasonal (save that one — Lil Poison Brown Ale — for the Grayson Capps show at Callaghan’s later on), this rich, very dark beer is a natural choice for a breakfast beverage. Dosed with cold-brewed House Roast coffee from the Fairhope Roasting Co., it provides the dual sensations of sipping on your morning cup o’ Joe and a little of the hair of the dog that bit ya when the MOTs rolled on Saturday night. Just remember to bring a plastic cup to pour it into, and for Joe Cain’s sake, don’t leave your bottles on the ground.
Happy Mardi Gras, everyone, and remember: Beer then liquor … Who gives a crap?