In the 1920s, when most of America went dry from Prohibition, New Orleans just continued on like nothing ever happened. Some restaurants gave keys to their regulars, while others just served the booze in coffee cups. Cocktails are king in New Orleans. Every event is celebrated by drinking. Weddings, birthdays, festivals, and even funerals involve some type of cocktail. We have cocktails with brunch, drink cocktails at work, and take cocktails in flasks to the beach. The type of drink you order says a lot about you. A wine, beer, or low ABV cocktail might suggest that you want to take it easy. With a spiritous cocktail people might assume that you really want to get the party started. These are the cocktails that rose up above the rest to stand the test of time, and in a city this famous for drinking you can be sure that every single one of these drinks is just marvelous.
Invented in the 1850’s by pharmacist Antoine Peychaud, this New Orleans classic remains virtually unchanged by time. It started as a Cognac drink mixed with Peychaud’s bitters and over time became the brilliant cocktail it is today. Now it is prepared with rye whiskey, Herbsaint, Peychaud’s Bitters and a dash of simple syrup.
The Pimm’s Cup is a refreshing combination of Pimm’s No. 1 (a low-alcohol citrus infused gin) lemonade, soda, and a cucumber. Brought from London by a bartender at the famous Napoleon House, this summertime imbibe quickly became one of New Orleans’ most beloved warm weather drinks.
Ramos Gin Fizz
The Ramos Gin Fizz was invented by Henry Ramos in 1888 at the Imperial Cabinet Saloon in New Orleans. It’s made with cream, gin, egg whites, citrus juice, orange flower water, simple syrup, and soda. Famously a brunch cocktail, the Ramos Gin Fizz was once the favorite of Governor Huey P. Long.
Regarded as the father of the Sidecar by many, the Brandy Crusta has been a New Orleans staple for about as long as the Sazerac. It is a refreshing and deceptively strong cocktail made with Cognac, lemon juice, maraschino liqueur, Cointreau, and Angostura bitters. Bellocq on Lee Circle makes a fine example.
Meaning Old Square in French, the Vieux Carre is a potent mix of rye, sweet vermouth, cognac, Benedictine, and bitters. It was invented by Walter Bergeron at the Monteleone Hotel in 1938, and for history’s sake, that is exactly where you should try one.