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Jambalaya vs Gumbo Gumbo and jambalaya are the crown jewels of Cajun and Creole cuisine, but what is the difference between them? We explain everything you need to know about jambalaya and gumbo, so you can add these bayou delicacies to your menu this gumbo season.Read More
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If you’ve never been to the Deep South, you may not know the difference between gumbo and jambalaya. Gumbo is a stew invented by Louisiana’s French immigrants, and jambalaya is a one-pot rice dish inspired by paella and created during the New Spain years. Beloved by both Louisiana Cajuns and Creoles, gumbo and jambalaya exemplify each ethnic group’s cooking style and the differences between them.
Because immigrants adopted the proteins, produce, and spices available on the bayou, many south Louisiana dishes have overlapping ingredients. Adding gumbo and jambalaya to your lineup is a low-cost way to expand your menu.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about gumbo and jambalaya or click the links below to read the section that interests you.
The most obvious differences between gumbo and jambalaya are their consistencies and their rice. Gumbo is soupy and served with a scoop of absorbent, medium-grain white rice. Jambalaya is a moist rice-based dish made with Louisiana-grown, long-grain rice. Glutinous short grain rice varietals turn to mush in Jambalaya recipes, but you can swap any long grain rice for Louisiana-grown long-grain rice. A subtler difference between jambalaya and gumbo is that most gumbos are made from a roux, and jambalaya is not.
The addition of hot sauce differentiates gumbo and jambalaya. Long simmered, rich, and complex gumbo needs no additional flavorings. New Orleans chefs take offense when customers add hot sauce to their gumbo, so avoid committing this faux pas while dining in The Big Easy. However, servers provide bottles of the cook’s favorite hot sauce with jambalaya orders. Most New Orleans chefs swear by Crystal.
A staple of southern Louisiana cuisine, gumbo is a dense soup loaded with meat, okra, and seasonings served over rice. Three traditional thickening agents create gumbo’s trademark consistency: okra, roux, or file powder (dried, crushed sassafras leaves). You will not typically see okra and file powder in the same recipe, but chefs often pair roux with the other two thickeners. Since roux is the base of the five French mother sauces, roux-based gumbos honor Louisiana’s French heritage. File powder comes from Choctaw Native Americans, and okra reveals the influence of West African cuisine.
Gumbos require a thickening agent and the trinity of Cajun and Louisiana Creole cuisine: onion, bell peppers, and celery. Most gumbos use a stock built on smoked meats such as ham hocks, bacon, or turkey necks. From there, okra and a wide variety of the chefs’ preferred ingredients give gumbo its bulk. Discover the most popular types of gumbo and their predominant ingredients below:
Traditional Creole gumbo is tomato-based and has a soupy consistency, whereas Cajun gumbo is thick and stew-like. Cajuns and Creoles use different fat sources for their roux. Creole gumbo follows the French tradition of making roux from butter and flour, whereas Cajun roux incorporates either lard or oil into the flour. Historically, most Louisiana Creoles had greater wealth, providing them with dairy farming abilities and access to local markets that Cajun peoples lacked.Back to Top
Jambalaya is a one-pot Louisiana rice dish inspired by Spanish paella. Chefs add their vegetables, meats, stock, and rice to a pot and simmer the mixture until the rice absorbs the liquid. Common meats for jambalaya include sausage, ham, chicken, and shellfish.
Thanks to its ingredients, spices, and garnishes, jambalaya typically has a piquant flavor profile. Andouille sausage is the most common protein, and the second most popular addition is spicy, smoky Tasso. Most chefs cook with a generous pinch of cayenne pepper and encourage patrons to garnish their jambalaya with hot sauce.
Creole and Cajun jambalaya share commonalities but diverge in execution and flavor. Both Cajun and Creole chefs add the trinity to their jambalayas (a trio of onion, celery, and bell pepper that evolved from French mirepoix), but they incorporate the trinity at different points in the cooking process. We explain what differentiates Cajun and Creole jambalaya below:
Cajuns and Creoles are two distinct ethnic groups; together, they’ve shaped the culture and cuisine of Louisiana. Historians define Cajuns as the descendants of Acadian (French Canadian) immigrants. The term Creole describes a broad ethnic group encompassing peoples of European, African, Hispanic, and Caribbean descent. In Louisiana, the term Creole also applies to those born in New Orleans with French or Spanish ancestors.
Cuisine helps distinguish Louisiana Cajun and Creole culture. Creole food favors tomatoes, rich sauces, and seafood. Dine at New Orleans’ old-line restaurants for Louisiana Creole dishes such as shrimp creole, roux-based gumbo, and crawfish etouffee. Cajun food is the rustic fare served in the bayous of Louisiana northwest of New Orleans, particularly in Breaux Bridge and Lafayette. Smoked meats and one pot dishes like crawfish boils and smoky brown jambalaya epitomize Cajun cuisine.
Cajun and Creole seasoning are both spice blends from Louisiana, but they have different flavor profiles. Cajun seasoning contains paprika, cayenne pepper, white pepper, black pepper, bell pepper, and garlic powder. Creole seasoning blends oregano, bay leaf, basil, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and paprika. Since Cajun seasoning is full of peppers and Creole seasoning uses herbs, Cajun seasoning has a hot profile and Creole seasoning is reminiscent of herbes de Provence.Back to Top
Below, we answer frequent questions that arise as chefs make gumbo and jambalaya:
If you’re running low on time and are wondering what to serve with your jambalaya, you don’t have to serve it with anything other than hot sauce! Its balanced blend of vegetables, proteins, and carbohydrates makes jambalaya the perfect one pot meal. Putting a warm basket of French bread on the table is always a popular choice. If you want to create a full course meal, other classic Louisiana dishes that go with jambalaya include:
No bowl of gumbo is complete without a small scoop of white rice at the bottom, but what side dishes should you serve with this hearty Louisiana stew? Below we explain the traditional items that go with gumbo:
The trinity of Cajun and Creole cooking is a flavor base composed of equal parts onion, celery, and bell peppers chefs sweat in fat. It evolved from French mirepoix, a medley of carrots, celery, and onions. Since carrots don’t grow well in the bayou of Louisiana, French immigrants replaced carrots with bell peppers, and the trinity was born. The trinity is the foundational flavor of both gumbo and jambalaya.
A roux is a thickening agent made from equal parts flour and fat. To make roux, mix flour into a melted fat (butter, lard, oil, etc.) on the stovetop. Brown the mixture by stirring and cooking it between 350-375 degrees Fahrenheit until it reaches your preferred shade. New Orleans chefs use espresso-hued, dark brown roux to thicken gumbo.
To make a roux for gumbo, blend equal parts flour and fat in a pan on your stovetop. If you’re making a Creole gumbo, use melted butter for your roux. If you’re following a Cajun gumbo recipe, use either melted lard or oil. Cook the mixture until it turns dark brown at a temperature between 350-375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Jambalaya and paella are both one pot rice dishes loaded with medleys of meat, seafood, and vegetables. Spices differentiate jambalaya and paella. Saffron is the main spice flavoring paella, but it is not in jambalaya. Cayenne pepper gives jambalaya a bolder flavor profile than paella. Chefs typically prepare jambalaya in a pot, where paella is prepared in a specialized paella pan.
From 1762 to 1801, Spain owned a majority of Louisiana. Because saffron wasn’t readily available in the bayou, Spanish settlers adopted new spices. Regional ingredients replaced old world options. For example, jambalaya often includes okra and crawfish, which aren’t found in Spanish paella.
If you’re wondering how long to cook gumbo, the longer the better! Once your gumbo comes to a boil, reduce the heat and leave it to simmer for a minimum of three hours. Most authentic Cajun and Creole restaurants start their gumbo early in the morning. If you ask a Gulf Coast resident what’s in their gumbo, they’re likely to say, “12 hours of labor and lots of love.”
A specialty of south Louisiana, butchers cure and spice Tasso ham before smoking it. Tasso ham has a spicy, salty, and smoky flavor. Conventional ham comes from a hog’s hind leg, but they make Tasso from fatty and flavorful shoulder meat. Not just for jambalaya, chefs incorporate Tasso ham into gumbo, grits, and gravies. Some butchers sell Tasso hams whole, but most chop it into easy-to-use chunks, slices, and diced pieces.
Gumbo file, or file powder, is the dried and crushed leaves of the sassafras plant. Sassafras is native to the southeastern United States. Choctaw Indians cooked with sassafras long before the colonization of the Americas. You can buy gumbo file powder from a restaurant supply store.
Andouille is the most popular kind of sausage for jambalaya. Chorizo, alligator, or kielbasa also lends well to jambalaya.
You can thicken gumbo with fresh or dried okra, but pieces of okra are popular additions to chunky gumbos.
Composed of aged cayenne peppers, vinegar, and salt, Louisiana-style hot sauce first emerged in 1928. Louisiana-style hot sauces are milder than Mexican-style hot sauces, but their high vinegar and salt contents create a tangier initial flavor. Tabasco sauce, a variant of traditional Louisiana-style hot sauce, uses tabasco peppers instead of cayenne. Tabasco sauce is spicier than other regional varieties.
Gumbo is pronounced as “Guhm - bow”
Jambalaya is pronounced as “juhm - buh - lai - uh”.Back to Top
Just like jazz bands play the same songs to different rhythms, each south Louisiana chef puts a unique spin on their gumbo and jambalaya. The joy is in syncopation, the subverting of expectations. Now that you understand the difference between gumbo and jambalaya, you can take the framework of each tradition and create your own signature recipe.
The autumn season is upon us, and beer lovers everywhere are awaiting the return of their favorite fall seasonal beers. Pumpkin, maple, ginger, and other fall flavors find their way onto beer lists everywhere this time of year. Not a fan of pumpkin beers? That's okay because pumpkins aren't the only star of the fall harvest. The end of summer marks the beginning of hop picking season when freshly harvested hops are immediately brewed into fragrant, full-flavored beers. From Oktoberfest beers to seasonal stouts, we've made a list of the 8 best fall beers to try in 2021.
Oktoberfestbiers have experienced an evolution since the first Oktoberfest was held in 1810. At one time, all Oktoberfest beers were a type of amber lager called a marzen (pronounced mare-tsen). These beers were brewed in March and stored away until September or October, just in time for Oktoberfest. The marzen-style beer served back then had a higher alcohol content, which kept it from spoiling over the summer months. Over time, the six breweries that hold the honor of serving at the Oktoberfest event changed their beer from a traditional marzen to a lighter lager.
American-style Oktoberfest beers today are mostly marzen lagers, but the traditional Oktoberfestbier produced in Munich is a pale, crisp lager. Both styles are delicious in their own right, but if you're looking for the traditional Bavarian beer of Oktoberfest, choose an Oktoberfestbier from one of these six breweries - Paulaner, Hacker-Pschorr-Brau, Augustiner-Brau, Spatenbrau, Lowenbrau, or Hofbrau-Munchen.
Beer purists tend to have strong feelings about hard cider. No, it’s not beer, but it’s a smart choice to include in your seasonal offerings. Providing an alternative to the hoppy, malty flavors of beer ensures you have an option for everyone. Many hard ciders are also gluten free, just double check the label to be sure.
It's a misconception that all hard ciders are sweet. There are actually different styles of cider with varying degrees of sweetness. For example, dry cider has very little sugar and could be compared to a dry, acidic wine. There are also still versions of cider that contain no carbonation for smooth sipping.
The minute September 1st rolls around, pumpkin domination begins and doesn’t truly end until winter is over. Pumpkin beer is a popular part of this trend, and although not every beer lover is on board, you should offer at least one pumpkin spice beer style for those who can’t get enough.
Just like pumpkin spice, pumpkin beers don't necessarily contain any pumpkin. The pumpkin flavor that many start to crave around this time of year is less from the pumpkin itself, and more from spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Pumpkin beers feature a blend of the fall spices that fans of the season associate with pumpkin spice.
Amber ale is a type of beer with a reddish color that ranges from light copper to dark amber. This style originated in the Pacific Northwest and California during the 1980s, but it's become popular in Europe and Australia as well. Also called red ale, amber ales are a type of pale ale brewed with specialty malts.
American red ale contains American hops, but it's set apart from other pale ales by the sweet flavor of the malts used in the brewing process. Crystal malts, named for the crystalized sugars they contain, are responsible for the amber color and caramel notes this beer style is known for.
When autumn sets in, light summer beers are moved aside in favor of darker and more filling options. Porters are a top-fermented ale made with malted barley, which gives them a dark brown color and a smooth sweetness from the sugar in the malt. These beers are known for a chocolate or caramel-like flavor.
Porters were first brewed in England in the 1700s. The name "porter" is believed to have originated with the street porters, men who performed a variety of working class jobs. Porter beers were more filling than other ales and provided a source of much-needed calories for the hard working men.
Stouts are another popular dark beer with rich flavor and an ABV that will warm up your customers on brisk autumn days in the beer garden. These beers evolved from the porter style and tend to have more of a coffee-flavor and fuller body.
Stouts and porters are very similar, and many brewers today blur the lines between the two. The one characteristic that is commonly used to differentiate stouts is the use of roasted, unmalted barley which gives stouts a darker, smokey flavor profile with less sweetness than porters.
Most beer is made with hops that have been harvested and dried. Wet hop beer is made with hops that are freshly harvested and still full of moisture. This beer is truly seasonal because the harvest only comes once a year, around the end of August, and the wet hops must be used within 24 hours of being picked.
Fresh hops produce a beer with earthy notes, a pronounced citrus flavor, and a floral aroma. The contrast between wet hops and dried hops can be compared to the difference between fresh herbs and dried herbs. Many wet hop beers are only offered on draft because they are best enjoyed fresh.
The crisp ales of summer are now being replaced by stronger IPAs with bold, hoppy flavors. These big, intense beers usually have an alcohol percentage around 8% to 10%, which is sometimes twice as much as a summer session ale. Fall beers with high ABVs are perfect for hunkering down at your favorite bar while you watch a game or enjoy a meal. They're meant to be savored, and they pair much better with the heavy comfort foods we crave when the weather gets cooler.
When you update your tap list with fall beers, consider trying some of our seasonal recommendations. Our comprehensive list has something for everyone, from the die-hard pumpkin fans to the cider lovers.
Before you throw an Oktoberfest party, you’ll want to make sure you have the bratwurst shipment in, your sauerkraut is properly fermenting, and that your nice German beer boots are on display. Nothing quite sets the theme of an Oktoberfest party like a beer boot, but why are they so iconic, and why is it sometimes called a das boot?Shop All Beer Boot Glasses
A beer boot glass, commonly known as “das boot” in America, is a beer glass shaped like a boot. Das boot (pronounced “dahs bohht”) translates to “the boat” in German, while “beer boot” translates to “bierstiefel”. Germans do not refer to a beer boot as “das boot”, but rather “bierstiefel” or simply just “stiefel”. The nickname “das boot” comes from the 2006 film "Beerfest" in which five friends travel to Germany and compete in an underground beer-drinking competition during Oktoberfest. While "Beerfest" may be fiction, you can always host your own beer festival.
The history behind the German beer boot has a few different tales:
English horse riding and hunting clubs in the 1800s created glass drinking boots to mimic their riding boots, complete with spur straps, and would drink from these beer boot mugs at their hunting lodges. The English beer boot mugs are not a highly sought-after collector’s item. While they ran out of style in the mid-late 1800s, they became popular in Germany in the mid-1800s, lost the spurs and straps, and were manufactured to hold a higher volume of beer.
A Prussian general promised his troops that, if they were successful in their next battle, he would take off his own boot, fill it with beer, and drink out of it. Once their battle was won and sanitary issues became a concern for the Prussian General, he had a glass boot made to drink the beer out of instead.
Because of the beer boot and successful battle correlation, German soldiers in WWI thought of drinking beer from boots to be good luck and turned it into a tradition before every battle. Since the soldiers did not have access to beer boot glasses, they would fill up one leather boot and pass it around to each other, flicking the boot before drinking from it for good luck, and flicking the boot again before giving it to their comrade to wish them good luck in battle, too. The love of the beer boot spread throughout the entire German military, being used to celebrate victories or used as a rite of passage.
During WWII, American soldiers brought back some of these famous beer boots, which grew the beer boot’s popularity throughout America. They were displayed in bars and used as ways to market German beers, but it wasn’t until the 2006 American movie “Beerfest” that made Das Boot as popular in America as it is today.
The term “das boot” not only refers to the beer boot drinking glass, but it’s also the title of a novel written by Lother-Günther Buchheim, as well as the popular 1982 movie and 2018 television series adaptation of Buchheim’s novel.
A beer boot (or das boot) glass is usually made from glass or plastic and can be as small as a shot glass or as big as 5 pints (or bigger!). Glasses can be found with or without handles, in which case the drinker should hold the beer glass at the smallest part of the glass, just above the ankle of the boot.
Glasses can also be completely plain and simple, have intricate designs for a traditional German flair, or can be customized with your logo to sell merchandise in your business.
The amount of beer in a boot differs based on the size of the boot. The typical size of a German beer boot is 2 liters, which is approximately 5 pints. That means there are usually about 67 ounces in a das boot.
Spilling is more common when drinking from a beer boot because of the unique shape, and no one wants their favorite fall beer all down their shirt. The spilling and splashing most notably come from the toe of the glass. The shape of the glass causes an air bubble to form at the toe of the glass while drinking. Once the beer recedes to a certain point in the boot, the bubble erupts and a tidal wave of beer pours out onto the drinker.
However, there is a strategic way to avoid this tidal wave of beer to the face. This is how to drink beer from a boot:
If you’ve now decided that you want to serve your ales in beer boots this year, then we recommend serving a lighter type of beer since beer boots can hold so much and darker lagers can be too heavy for that amount. Even though there are so many different beer glasses, there’s only one that is so iconically German.
Preparing your bar or restaurant for Halloween means making sure you have the best fall beers on tap and outfitting your dining room in festive decor. Take the Halloween spirit even further by having your bartenders dress up in costumes! As a twist on typical bartending costumes, we’ve assembled a list of 10 film and television characters closely associated with drinking culture. Explore our male and female bartender Halloween costume ideas below, and click on any character's name to jump ahead and learn how to steal their look!
Pro Tip #1: Create a special cocktail menu featuring drinks associated with each character!
Pro Tip #2: Serve beer or cider in a pumpkin keg.
Below we go through five male Halloween costumes that are ideal for bartending in:
Perhaps no other fictional character is more closely tied to a drink than 007 himself. His famous quote – “A martini. Shaken, not stirred.” – is considered one of the most memorable movie lines of all time. The consummate fashion expert, Bond has historically been a trendsetter with his suave style, a penchant for expensive tastes, and clever gadgets created by Q. When all of these elements are combined, James Bond is the perfect adult male Halloween costume idea.
James Bond Costume Pieces:
Drink of Choice:
Jeffrey Lebowski is not a bum. He likes to “just take it easy, man.” One of the most laid-back characters of all time, The Dude (played by Jeff Bridges) has many hobbies, including bowling, driving around, and the occasional acid flashback. He’s rarely seen without his favorite drink in hand – a White Russian. The Dude abides. Jeffrey Lebowski is a great option for a last-minute Halloween costume idea.
Jeffrey Lebowski Costume Pieces:
Drink of Choice:
John Belushi was a notorious party animal in real life, so he didn’t have to go too far out of his comfort zone to create the character of John “Bluto” Blutarsky in National Lampoon’s Animal House. The drunken degenerate at Faber College is in his seventh year of school and holds a 0.0 GPA. He likes to start food fights, smash acoustic guitars, and do the “alligator dance.” “Toga! Toga!” If you identify with this, then Bluto Blutarsky should be an easy male costume idea for you to recreate.
Bluto Blutarsky Costume Pieces:
Drink of Choice:
When it comes to excess, few people pushed the limits like Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson. His semi-autobiographical character Raoul Duke (played by Johnny Depp) in the movie Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is the epitome of excess, downing just about every drug known to man in the span of a few days. Duke is quick-witted (when he’s not wasted) and ready to find the heart of the American Dream.
Raoul Duke Costume Pieces:
Drink of Choice:
Donald Francis Draper is a hard-drinking, chain-smoking advertising agent at Sterling Cooper advertising firm in New York City, circa 1960. He expects a moral code of honesty and chivalry for his assistants, but his own moral code is far from perfect, including adultery, alcoholism, and lying. Draper (played by Jon Hamm) does have an inordinate amount of style and panache for a character who epitomizes the stereotype of ’60s ad men. He also makes a mean cocktail, moving him forward as the perfect choice for a bartender Halloween costume.
Don Draper Costume Pieces:
Drink of Choice:
Below we explore five female Halloween costumes excellent for those behind the bar!
The queen everyone loves to hate, Cersei Lannister (played by Lena Headey) has been the master manipulator of the Seven Kingdoms and the de facto leader of King’s Landing for much of the series of Game of Thrones. Although initially fairly sound of judgment (if you ignore the incestuous relationship with her twin brother, Jaime), Cersei has taken to the bottle in later seasons, downing more than a few glasses of wine to ease her misery. With all her troubles, it’s probably going to take more than a barrel of wine to get her through the series. If you're ready to go all-out this year, then Cersei Lannister is your best choice for a cool Halloween costume idea.
Lean into this bartender Halloween costume idea and use our Game of Thrones sample menu to throw a Game of Thrones-themed Halloween party.
Cersei Lannister Costume Pieces:
Drink of Choice:
Meredith Palmer is a slightly mysterious, sexually inappropriate, alcoholic, divorced, single mother who worked as the supplier relations representative at Dunder Mifflin Paper Company in Scranton, PA. She’s prone to on-the-job injuries, including lighting her hair on fire or being run over by vehicles. More than anything, Meredith (played by Kate Flannery) loves her booze and routinely shows up hungover to work on The Office. Meredith Palmer is an ideal option if you're looking for a funny Halloween costume idea.
Meredith Palmer Costume Pieces:
Drink of Choice:
An avid lover of waffles, gender equality, and Nancy Pelosi, Leslie Knope (played by Amy Poehler) is the cheerful and ambitious Deputy Director of the Pawnee City Department of Parks & Recreation. Leslie rises through the ranks throughout the show's seven seasons, and the series finale implies that she eventually becomes President of the United States. Despite her professionalism and dedication to public service, Leslie still knows how to have a good time at local bars like the Snakehole Lounge and the Bulge, making her character a great women's Halloween costume idea.
Leslie Knope Costume Pieces:
Drink of Choice:
The matriarch of the dysfunctional Bluth family, Lucille Bluth is the conniving character from Arrested Development whose goal in life is to make sure her opulent lifestyle of plastic surgery and spa treatments never ends. Manipulative and amoral, Bluth (played by Jessica Walter) is constantly putting her children against each other for her own benefit. She also never turns down a drink if it’s presented to her. If you're a more mature bartender, then Lucille Bluth makes a great adult Halloween costume idea.
Lucille Bluth Costume Pieces:
Drink of Choice:
Marion Ravenwood knows how to hold her liquor. The proprietor of The Raven tavern in Nepal routinely challenges unsuspecting customers to drinking contests for money without them knowing her legendary tolerance for alcohol. Marion (played by Karen Allen) is also one of the few people who can capture Indiana Jones’s heart. She comes along with him on his archaeological adventures in Raiders of the Lost Ark, ending up in a snake pit in Cairo, a Nazi U-boat in the Aegean Sea, and tied to a pole as the Ark of the Covenant is opened, melting everyone who directly stared at it. If you need a simple Halloween costume idea, then Marion Ravenwood is the ticket.
Marion Ravenwood Costume Pieces:
Drink of Choice:Back to Top
While you'd normally find them drinking their fill at the closest tavern, saloon, or nightclub, all of these characters from the silver screen would probably also be excellent bartenders. No matter who you choose as a Halloween costume, getting into the holiday spirit is sure to keep guests entertained and also earn you better tips.