February is for lovers — except in New Orleans. This month, Mardi Gras beads and king cake are far more treasured there than any bouquet of roses or box of chocolates. While the revelry of Carnival season officially culminates on Fat Tuesday, February 13, partygoers in Fort Worth can keep the good times going all month at these bars and restaurants that offer New Orleans or Mardi Gras-inspired cocktails. So put your beads back on and laissez les bons temps rouler a little longer.
Go now for the king cake martini. With RumChata, Godiva chocolate and orange liqueurs, whipped cream vodka, and house-made praline sauce, the drink is a sweet and creamy version of the traditional spiced New Orleans pastry — without the plastic baby. It will be offered all month at the Race Street restaurant and bar, which features owner Cindy Wheeler’s Crescent City-inspired favorites like buttery peel-and-eat barbecued shrimp and seafood gumbo. Also, visit the refurbished 1940s bungalow (snag a seat on the shaded patio if it’s nice out) for happy hour, 3-7 pm Tuesday through Saturday, when all craft beers are only $3.
After quietly opening in the Near Southside in December, this spinoff of the Deep Ellum original — with its expansive patio and dimly lit interior with leather seating, candles and chandeliers — is quickly gaining a reputation as one of the best places for drinks in Fort Worth. It’s also one of the few places to find an authentic version of the New Orleans Pimm’s Cup. While the light and refreshing lemonade-based cocktail originated in London, the libation made its mark at New Orleans’ Napoleon House bar by the late 1940s. Twilite Lounge uses Pimm’s No. 1, a gin-based liqueur with notes of citrus and spice. A splash of ginger ale adds an effervescent kick.
Boo-Ray’s of New Orleans
It’s not Mardi Gras without a hurricane, and Boo-Ray’s of New Orleans has them frozen or on the rocks. They're made with light and dark rums, orange and pineapple juices, and good, old-fashioned Southern Comfort. Owner Scott Marks, who was part of the opening chef team at Copeland's and co-founded Razzoo's Cajun Café, recently moved his northwest Fort Worth location to snazzy new million-dollar digs just a couple miles away. There’s now plenty of room to sit and sip Cajun-inspired concoctions like voodoo punch and the restaurant’s signature swamp juice, too.
Southern Classic Daiquiri Factory
Roam around the French Quarter long enough and you’ll spot more than a few folks sipping something strong from a white Styrofoam cup. Those would be daiquiris, and they’re found in several bars around Bourbon Street, as well as in East Fort Worth at Southern Classic Daiquiri Factory. The restaurant and bar offers more than a dozen flavors and endless combinations, such as the Louis Armstrong made with peach and white Russian daiquiris, and the Bayou Classic made with hurricane and Long Island iced tea daiquiris. A 12-ounce serving is only $3 during happy hour, from 5-7 pm Monday through Friday. Sit and sip inside the no-frills dive, which hosts occasional live music, or take the frozen concoctions by the gallon to-go.
New Orleans is not all beads and bra tops. There’s a sophisticated side, with many classy bars and mixologists who have a deep appreciation for the craft cocktail — like the storied sazerac, which was homegrown in the French Quarter. Grace’s version of the smooth rye whiskey cocktail is crafted with Peychaud’s bitters and Pernod absinthe, just like the real thing in New Orleans. Sit at the downtown restaurant’s elegant bar and ask for Chris, who makes a sazerac that will keep you coming back.