Mardis Gras Melonade cocktail sprinkled with confetti. Ingredients are Midori, vodka, frozen watermelon, sugar, and lemonade.

Mardi Gras Melonade Cocktail

Mardis Gras Melonade cocktail sprinkled with confetti. Ingredients are Midori, vodka, frozen watermelon, sugar, and lemonade.

Last Mardi Gras started innocently enough, with Sarah and I clinking shot glasses together at a dive bar in Northeast DC.

It ended with me passed out half-naked in a stranger’s fish tank. I found Sarah nearby, sandwiched on top of a trashcan and underneath what she thought was a charcoal grill, but was really just a lawn table that someone had set on fire earlier that evening.

For your Mardi Gras inspiration, I’ll recount the story to the best of my ability.

That Tuesday, at the reasonable hour of 2pm, I suggested we celebrate the holiday. Sarah was reluctant at first. She hadn’t planned on going out that day, and although she’d finished her work, the thought of wasting away an evening didn’t sit well with her.

“But it’s only 2pm on a Tuesday,” I argued. “It’s not exactly the set up for a debaucherous night on the town.”

“I guess… but can’t we do something else? I don’t really want to drink.”

“You don’t have to drink. You can watch me drink.”

She sighed. “I guess someone should.”

So, we went out.

Around 4pm, and at our second bar, I finally cajoled Sarah into taking a shot with me.

That was a bad idea.

She may seem a little high-strung sometimes, but there’s a reason Sarah doesn’t drink very often. Observe:

Sober Sarah: “Let’s do sit-ups!”

Drunk Sarah: “I just @#%$! that @#!^%, and did you know that @$#% upside down in your !@#$%^ without even !@#% an $#%!&, and that’s without butter!”

Mardis Gras Melonade cocktail sprinkled with confetti. Ingredients are Midori, vodka, frozen watermelon, sugar, and lemonade.

But drunk me didn’t seem to care about igniting that fuse, and for her part, Sarah probably thought that the early hour would prevent her from doing anything too ridiculous.

First we proclaimed a toast to the holiday. Then we toasted to our friendship. Then we toasted to DC, to good times, to the bar, to tequila, to vodka, to the color purple, to the satisfying clean feeling you get after you Q-tip your ears, and then, finally, to the other bar patrons.

“It’s *&^#$^ some shots #%$&@ Tuesday!” Sarah shouted exuberantly. I emptied the vast majority of my wallet on the counter, and we bought a round for the people next to us.

“You guys know how to party,” they agreed unanimously. Sarah and I high-fived, feeling (and acting) very much like validated college freshmen.

A couple members of this group made some gestures and came to a silent agreement, and then one of them spoke up.

“Hey,” he said, “there’s a party going on close to here. We’re all going, if you two want to join us.”

Sarah and I looked at each other, a dazed and unfocused look that didn’t communicate anything at all, so I pulled her aside.

“Do you want to go?”

“Yeah! It sounds like fun!”

“Eh, I don’t know. What if it sucks and we have to stay to spare these guys’ feelings?”

“It’s not going to suck,” she reassured me.

“But what if it does?”

“It won’t.”

“But I want another drink here.”

“*&@!^#* your &#*^!* all over the *&^#@$ you #%^$*.”

“Alright, alright. If you want to go that badly, why don’t you just leave with them? I’ll have my drink and meet up with you there.”

The compromise seemed satisfactory. She left with the group, and I had two more beers before exiting the bar. I wandered up and down DuPont Circle trying to hail a cab, which I realize now may have been more effective if I’d had the coordination to raise my hand higher than eye level. Eventually, though, someone did pull up.

“Hmm,” I said out loud, noting the unmarked black SUV. “This doesn’t look like a cab.”

The driver smiled at me.

“I don’t work for a taxi company.”

“Oh. Are you with Uber?”

“Nah. I’m just doing my own thing.”

I considered that for a moment. Some half-formulated thought about the state of the economy floated through my alcohol marinated brain. Wasn’t everyone just trying to get by, after all? How could I fault this man for taking the initiative and becoming his own boss? It must’ve been tragically difficult, I thought, to be a taxi service without any affiliation with an actual taxi service.

I ended up in the backseat congratulating him on his heroic entrepreneurship.

“So, where are you trying to go?” He asked. I told him. “Ohh, I passed by there earlier. Seems like fun.”

“You know where it is then?”

“Yeah, yeah,” he waved a dismissive hand, “I got it.”

Miraculously, he really did drop me off at the party.

The house vibrated with music. The hallways swarmed with bodies, though it may have been the same ten people who I kept bumping into and whose faces I couldn’t remember. There were at least six coolers full of beer and a table covered from end to end in liquor bottles. I had no idea this holiday would be so enthusiastically celebrated. Impressed, I turned to someone next to me. “Man,” I gestured at the crowded room, “you guys must really like Mardi Gras.”

He gave me a confused look. “This is Mike’s bachelor party.”

Well, that explained the boob-shaped cake.

Mardi Gras Melonade

After wading my way through the crowded hallways of this stranger’s house, I finally found Sarah. We reunited like we hadn’t seen each other in days, poured each other drinks, and neither of us remembers much else. Only a few things stick out:

  • There was a general lack of food, which Sarah remedied by drunkenly baking about two-hundred cookies that probably didn’t resemble cookies. I believe tequila was one of the ingredients.
  • We both wound up in a serious conversation with Mike about the responsibilities of marriage and how he met his wife-to-be, a story that wasn’t particularly touching, but which had both of us tearing up and hugging him anyway.
  • At one point someone shouted about a fire, which I realize now must’ve been referring to the table Sarah ended up sleeping under.

The last thing I recall is the fish tank. It could’ve probably held between six and eight gallons of liquid.

Someone filled it with beer and bet me $300 I couldn’t drink it.

He was right.

I woke up at an ungodly hour the next morning inside that same fish tank. Somewhere in the course of the evening I’d lost my shirt, so I took one of the aprons from the kitchen and tied it horizontally around my torso. (I may have still been drunk.)

Then I found Sarah in the backyard, and she somehow managed to extricate herself from her precarious sleeping position. We went home – in a real cab – and the driver thankfully didn’t say a word about Sarah’s ash-blackened backside or my kitchen chic clothing.

…Anyway, whether you decide to celebrate your Mardis Gras at home, crammed between household furniture, or contorted in an aquarium, we recommend you put this party-friendly drink in your mouth.

Mardi Gras Melonade

Mardis Gras Melonade cocktail sprinkled with confetti. Ingredients are Midori, vodka, frozen watermelon, sugar, and lemonade.

Mardi Gras Melonade:

  • 1 oz. Midori
  • 1 oz. Vodka
  • Lemonade
  • Frozen watermelon, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • Ice

To make it:

  1. Pour Midori into a short glass.
  2. Put ice in the bottom until it just sticks out of the Midori.
  3. Blend about ¾ cup of watermelon chunks with the vodka until it reaches a smooth, slushy consistency. If your watermelon or lemonade isn’t very sweet, feel free to add 1 tsp. of sugar / simple syrup / Splenda.
  4. Carefully spoon the watermelon slushy on the ice so that it sits on top and the glass is a little more than half full
  5. Add the lemonade. It should naturally sink underneath the watermelon, but stay above the Midori, creating a whitish layer in the middle

TIP: If partying hard, try and remember not to drink the confetti.

Photography by Sarah Alice Photography (

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