Ted Blumenthal, the bar manager at Booty's Street Food (800 Louisa St., 504-266-2887; www.bootysnola.com), isn't much of a beer guy, but he is a firm believer in daytime drinking, especially as Carnival kicks into gear and the temperatures rise.
The Redhead is one of four Abita beer cocktails Blumenthal has created to kick off Booty's beer cocktail program. Each cocktail consists of spirits and aromatics mixed in the bottom of a pint glass, topped with a full bottle of Abita beer. Blumenthal says beer cocktails are not only flavorful and easy to sip, but they're quick to make behind the bar — an important thing when trying to serve Mardi Gras crowds.
In addition to The Redhead (a ginger and rum concoction), Blumenthal pairs Abita's Turbodog with Swedish and Mexican liqueurs to make Old Dog, New Trick, which uses walnut bitters and flower aromatics to create a rich, complex beverage that improves as it warms.
Blumenthal loves Abita's Jockamo IPA for cocktails. "It's a mild IPA, great for mixing," he says. The beer's hoppy aroma gets a boost in La Prima Mattina with herbaceous and bitter Amaro liqueur. The addition of lemon brings out the citrus of the hops, and the sugar smooths out the bitterness in the IPA and the Amaro.
The Boulevard Bock is stronger. It contains the classic Boulevardier cocktail topped with Abita's Mardi Gras Bock, which contains 6.5 percent alcohol by volume. "This is perfect for the Mardi Gras mindset," Blumenthal says.
Blumenthal also is planning an epic Morning After Mardi Gras Ash Wednesday Hangover Brunch, showcasing beer cocktails, coffee cocktails and specialty bloody mary options. — NORA McGUNNIGLE