Celebrate Lundi Gras with Bourbon and Biscuits

Makes 12-15 biscuits

Rick’s Buttermilk Biscuits and Milk Punch

photo: Paul Costello

Lundi Gras is always a pivotal date on the Mardi Gras calendar. Celebrants need a remedy for the previous weekend’s revelry and fortitude for the final lap. The ingenious answer, conceived of five years ago by food historian and stylist Rick Ellis and his husband, interior designer Thomas Jayne, is “Bourbon and Biscuits.” In their stylish French Quarter apartment, the couple puts on a chic version of a Hardee’s breakfast bar—with the crucial addition of alcohol—that is now a neighborhood tradition.

Though New York-based, Ellis and Jayne bought the apartment in 2005, largely due to their deep love of carnival. “The party started as a result of us looking for a time during the Mardi Gras festivities when we knew folks would be available,” Ellis says. “We realized Lundi Gras morning was perfect. People would probably be hung over and partied-out from the weekend. And it would be a relaxed respite before the big day.”

Ellis keeps the menu simple. Yummy milk punch is served in a punch bowl with a ring of ice; homemade biscuits are accompanied by sliced ham, flavorful sausage patties (a non-New Orleans addition from Tidewater Virginia and North Carolina, where Ellis grew up), butter (of course), and preserves (including local kumquat). “Let’s face it,” he says. “Nothing is better than a breakfast biscuit and booze.” His guests, for whom the shindig has become a beloved annual institution, could not agree more.



  • Rick’s Buttermilk Biscuits

    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), very cold

    • 2 1/2 cups self-rising flour

    • 1/2 tsp. salt

    • 1 cup chilled buttermilk

    • 2 tbsp. butter, melted

  • Milk Punch

    • 1 cup bourbon

    • 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar (preferably superfine, which dissolves easier)

    • 2 cups cold whole milk

    • A nip of pure vanilla extract

    • Freshly grated nutmeg


  1. For the biscuits:

    Place butter in freezer for 15 minutes.

  2. Preheat oven to 450º

  3. Combine flour and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Grate very cold butter into flour using large holes of a box grater. Toss gently to combine and place bowl in freezer or refrigerator for 10 minutes.

  4. Make a well in center of flour-butter mixture.  Add buttermilk and stir just until dough comes together. (It will be sticky.)

  5. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and sprinkle top of dough with a little flour. With a lightly floured rolling pin, roll dough into a ¾-inch thick rectangle. Fold dough in half and repeat rolling and folding process three more times.

  6. Roll dough to ½-inch thickness. Using a floured round cutter (1½ to 2 inches), cut straight through dough, taking care not to twist cutter. Gently reshape scraps, re-roll and cut.

  7. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Place dough rounds on pan no more than ½ inch apart.

  8. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from oven and brush with melted butter.

  9. For the Milk Punch:

    Combine the bourbon and ¼ cup sugar in a pitcher and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Stir in the milk and vanilla. Taste and stir in more sugar if desired. Fill four glasses with ice and divide punch among them. Top with the nutmeg. (Makes 4 drinks)

Recipes from food historian and stylist Rick Ellis