February has so many different holidays to celebrate! For the shortest month of the year, it is certainly packed tightly with activities! Two of the biggest holidays in February are Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras! Let’s take a look at both of the holidays and the smoked cocktails we have prepared to help you celebrate.
Let’s Start on Bourbon Street
Mardi Gras, which translates to “Fat Tuesday” in French, refers to the day before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Christian season of Lent. It is celebrated predominantly in regions with significant French Catholic influence, such as New Orleans, Louisiana, and parts of Canada.
Mardi Gras is known for its festive atmosphere, parades, elaborate costumes, and indulgent celebrations. The tradition dates back to medieval Europe but has evolved over time, especially in places like New Orleans, where it has become a major cultural event featuring large, elaborate parades with floats, marching bands, and costumed participants tossing beads, coins, and other trinkets to spectators.
In addition to the parades, Mardi Gras festivities often include parties, balls, and other events leading up to Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of the Lenten season of fasting and repentance in preparation for Easter. Mardi Gras is a time for people to enjoy themselves and indulge before the solemn period of Lent begins.
The King Cake
Another big part of Fat Tuesday is, The King Cake!
King cake is a traditional dessert that is closely associated with the Mardi Gras season, particularly in New Orleans and other parts of the Gulf Coast region of the United States. It is typically a circular-shaped pastry, similar to a large cinnamon roll or coffee cake, and is decorated with colorful icing in the traditional Mardi Gras colors of purple, green, and gold, which represent justice, faith, and power, respectively.
One distinctive feature of a king cake is the hidden trinket, often a small plastic baby figurine, baked inside the cake. The person who finds the trinket in their slice of cake is traditionally designated as the “king” or “queen” of the festivities and is expected to host the next gathering or provide the next king cake.
The King Cake Cocktail
So, for our Mardi Gras celebration, I decided to turn this tasty cake into a cocktail! The cake’s flavors consist of cream and cinnamon! You can have different variations, but this is the traditional version. So, this makes the perfect start for a cream-based cocktail!
I started with whipped cream vodka. It’s by Pinnacle and I am sure you’ve had it either mixed into another cocktail before or even by itself (maybe in the college days…) Next, add in a cinnamon whiskey to bring out the Cinnamon flavors of the cocktail. We chose, Fireball! Finally, add in the half & half to give it the smooth creamy texture to bring both of those flavors together nicely in the cocktail.
To add to the Mardi Gras vibe of the cocktail, you need the green, purple, and yellow sanding sugar! These are essential in a King Cake! Mardi Gras colors of purple, green, and gold, which represent justice, faith, and power, respectively. We rimmed the glass first with these colors and then also put the colors on top of the drink for more festive fun!
As for adding smoke to this cocktail, we chose to smoke-rinse the glass. Another teaser for a cocktail this weekend and it involves our smoke rinsing method!
What is Smoke-Rinsing?
Rinsing a cocktail is basically just swirling an empty glass with a particular flavor to just add a flavor of it throughout your entire cocktail. In this case, the rinse is the smoke! If you watch our videos, you’ll notice most of the time we smoke our drinks at the end. This gives a nice show and adds a lighter smoke flavor that dissipates as you drink.
If you smoke the glass while it’s empty, you get a much stronger smoke flavor that adds smoke to your entire drink. Try it the next time you’re looking for that extra punch of smoky flavor! It is also best to smoke rinse with a cream-based cocktail due to the film the smoke will leave on top of the white cream. Here is a video explaining the differences!
We smoke rinsed with Cinnamon to highlight the Cinnamon flavor of the cocktail!
A Time for your Sweetheart!
Now, you shouldn’t wait until Valentine’s to show your significant other some love, but rather use Valentine’s Day as a day to shower them with tokens of your love and appreciation!
I remember how exciting it was to pick out my Valentine’s Day cards and write all of my friends’ names down on them and put them in their bags at school. This used to be SO fun to do! Bring that feeling into adulthood!
One of my love languages is acts of service. I don’t need gifts, I love it when someone just thinks of me! My husband loves to craft cocktails for me and this is the perfect way for you to sprinkle some love into the day! Think of what your love may enjoy through different spirits or flavors, grab the ingredients and a fun glass, and get to crafting the perfect Valentine’s Day cocktail!
Espresso your L-O-V-E
With espresso martinis being so popular (still!), we have the perfect Valentine’s espresso martini for your enjoyment!
An espresso martini is a cocktail made with vodka, coffee liqueur (such as Kahlúa), freshly brewed espresso coffee, and sometimes sugar syrup. It’s typically served chilled in a martini glass and often garnished with coffee beans or a twist of orange peel. The combination of vodka and coffee flavors gives it a rich, bold taste with a caffeine kick, making it a popular choice for those who enjoy both coffee and cocktails. The drink was invented by a bartender named Dick Bradsell in the late 1980s in London
An espresso martini is famously topped with 3 espresso beans, but why?
The tradition of garnishing an Espresso Martini with three coffee beans is said to have originated as a nod to good luck, prosperity, and health. The number three has various symbolic meanings in different cultures and contexts, but in this case, it’s often associated with positive outcomes or blessings.
One popular explanation is that the three beans represent the Holy Trinity in Christian theology: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In other interpretations, they might symbolize things like past, present, and future; or health, wealth, and happiness.
While the exact origin of this tradition is not entirely clear, the practice of garnishing the Espresso Martini with three coffee beans has become widely recognized and is often followed as a customary finishing touch to the drink. However, it’s important to note that the number of beans used can vary, and some bartenders may choose to use a different number based on personal preference or regional traditions.
The Valentine’s Espresso Martini
To make this famous cocktail fit for Love Day, we are using Red Velvet Bailey’s! It will turn the cocktail a pinky color, too!
You’ll need some cooled espresso, too, and vodka! Some people enjoy their espresso martini’s with tequila, but I have never tried that way!
Finally, we also smoked this cocktail with Cinnamon because the flavor goes so nicely with the flavors shining through in the martini.
King Cake Cocktail
- 1 Rocks glass
- 1 plate to rim the cocktail with sanding sugar
- 1 Smokeshow Cocktail Smoker
- 1 Butane Kitchen Torch
- 1 Cocktail Shaker & Strainer
- 1 tbsp yellow, purple, green sanding sugar spread on a plate
- 1/2 oz honey for rim
- 2 oz whipped cream vodka
- 1.5 oz Cinnamon Whiskey
- 2 oz half & half
Garnish & Smoke
- 1 pinch Cinnamon or Bourbon Barrel Smoke Dust
- Squirt honey in a bowl and swirl the glass around the honey. Add the sprinkles to a paper plate and roll the glass in the sanding sugar to create a pattern of yellow, purple, green.
- Add whipped cream vodka, cinnamon whiskey, and half & half into a cocktail shaker with ice. Set aside.
- Place smoker on top of rimmed glass and smoke with smoke dust of choice. Keep the smoker on top to allow the smoke to percolate inside of the glass.
- Strain cocktail into the glass. Add more sanding sugar on top in stripes!
Pink Velvet Espresso Martini
- 1 Cocktail Shaker
- 1 Smokeshow Cocktail Smoker
- 1 Kitchen Butane Torch
- 1 oz espresso homemade or store-bought
- 1 oz cooled espresso
- 1.5 oz Velvet Bailey's
- 1.5 oz Vodka
Garnish @ Smoke
- 1 pinch Cinnamon or Apple Smoke Dust
- 3 espresso beans
- Brew 1 oz of espresso and set aside to cool. You can also use store-bought!
- In a shaker, add ice, cooled espresso, vodka, and Bailey's. Shake and strain into a martini glass.
Garnish & Smoke
- Place smoker on top of glass, smoke, garnish with 3 espresso beans!