Six must try cocktails to try in New Orleans (and two we think you should avoid) - advice from a local
New Orleans’ unofficial motto is Les temps rouler “let the good times roll” so it shouldn’t be surprising to anyone that New Orleans has been the birthplace to many famous cocktails that have become synonymous with the city. Here are six classic New Orleans cocktails you should try and two we think you should avoid.
Considered by some the official cocktail of New Orleans, the Sazerac dates back to the 19th century. It’s made with rye whiskey, absinthe, Peychaud’s bitters, and a sugar cube, garnished with a lemon peel. It was envisioned as a digestive or an after dinner drink to aide your digestion after a complex heavy 5 course New Orleans style meal.
2. Ramos Gin Fizz:
Created by Henry C. Ramos in the late 19th century, this frothy cocktail is a delightful mix of gin, lemon juice, lime juice, simple syrup, cream, orange flower water, and egg white. It requires vigorous shaking of up to 12 minutes to achieve its unique texture. Don’t let the egg and heavy cream dissuade you from trying, I liken it to sipping on a cloud, a boozy cloud. Louisiana Governor Huey P. Long would travel with his own bartender so he wouldn’t be without his favorite cocktail. In its heyday of the early 20th century some bars would employ a line of bartenders whose sole job would be shaking this cocktail. Due to its complex nature most bartenders will roll their eyes at you if you try to order it. Check out the Roosevelt bar where it’s still offered and be sure to tip your bartender!
3. Pimm's Cup
Although not exclusive to New Orleans, the Pimm’s Cup has become a popular choice mostly because Napoleon House started offering one when it opened way back in 1914. It consists of Pimm’s No. 1 (a gin-based liqueur), lemonade, and soda water. For an extra dollar you can get it as a “fruit cup” with fresh cut fruit. It’s a refreshing option for a warm day. You can get it to go or enjoy it in the beautiful courtyard of Napoleon house.
4. Vieux Carré:
This cocktail is named after the French Quarter and is a sophisticated blend of rye whiskey, cognac, sweet vermouth, Bénédictine liqueur, and both Angostura and Peychaud’s bitters. It’s a complex and flavorful drink that captures the spirit of New Orleans.
5. Brandy Milk
A classic morning or brunch cocktail, Brandy Milk Punch combines brandy, milk or cream, simple syrup, and a sprinkle of nutmeg on top. It’s a creamy and comforting choice, often enjoyed during the holiday season.
Learn more about why visiting New Orleans in the winter is the best.
Is a cocktail that typically consist of rum, lime juice, and sugar. They are named after a beach and an iron mine near Santiago de Cuba, where the drink is said to have originated. Daiquiris are known for their refreshing and fruity flavors, and they can be served frozen, on the rocks, or straight up. American novelist Ernest Heminway was a big fan of the drink. Most daiquiris in New Orleans are served frozen, like an alcoholic slushie and can feature a wide variety of liquor and mixers. Lafittes Blacksmith shop on Bourbon street offers a variety called the “Voodoo” daiquiri. Which we suppose is grape flavored but it might be better described as “purple flavored”
French 75 The French 75 cocktail is a classic and elegant drink that dates back to World War I. It is a refreshing and effervescent cocktail that combines gin, lemon juice, sugar, and champagne. The name “French 75” is said to be derived from the powerful French 75mm field gun used during the war. The French 75 is known for its sparkling and citrusy taste, with the gin providing a botanical undertone. It is a popular choice for celebrations and special occasions due to its sophisticated presentation and delightful flavors. While the French 75 cocktail has gained popularity worldwide, it is not specifically associated with New Orleans. The cocktail has a broader origin that can be traced back to France during World War I. However, it is worth noting that New Orleans, known for its vibrant cocktail culture, has embraced and incorporated the French 75 into its repertoire of drinks. So, while the French 75 is not originally a New Orleans cocktail, it has become a popular choice among cocktail enthusiasts in the city and is often featured on menus alongside other iconic New Orleans drinks.
two cocktails you should avoid
1. hand grenade. is a popular alcoholic beverage that originated in at the bar called “The Original Tropical Isle.” It is named after the shape of the glass it is served in, which resembles a hand grenade. The cocktail is known for its potent and fruity flavor. The exact recipe is a secret but It is believed that it contains a mixture of light and dark rum, vodka, melon liqueur, and grain alcohol and is combined with fruit juices such as pineapple juice and lime juice. It is deeply associated with Bourbon street as all five of the bars that serve it are located on Bourbon street. We think it’s disgustingly sweet and It is known for its high alcohol content, so it’s important to drink responsibly. That said, bourbon street is totally worth checking out, learn more in our Guide to the French Quarter. or on one of our free walking tours.
2. Hurricane: This fruity and potent cocktail gained popularity at Pat O’Brien’s bar in the French Quarter. Pat O’s opened after the repeal of prohibition in 1933. Pat O’s has a world famous courtyard and a patio with dueling pianos. We think it’s totally worth checking out Pat O
S for the courtyard alone but we think the Hurricane is too sweet and lacking any depth, I liken it to boozy kool-aid. It typically contains rum, passion fruit syrup, lemon juice, and grenadine and was concocted due to a lack of whiskey during WWII. The Hurricane is usually served in a large glass (shaped like a hurricane lantern) and is perfect for getting sloshed on a hot day. Just remember alcohol is converted to sugar in your body so slurping on sweet drinks can give you a worse hangover.