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Jul 17, 2007 07:57 AM

Best Drinks In New Orleans

I'm looking for recommendations on the best mixed drinks in New Orleans and where to get them. In and near the French Quarter, restaurants or nightclubs.

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  1. Napolean House for a Pimms Cup and the Swizzle Stick Bar.

    1. satsuma mojito or mayhaw lemonade @ cochon

      rum punch @ swizzle stick

      blueberry mojito @ St. Joe's (uptown)

      margarita @ superior grill (say what you want about the food...but you know this is a great margarita)

      excuse me while I go get a drink~

      1. One of the most celebrated bartenders in the city is Chris McMillian, who holds forth at the Library Lounge at the Ritz Carlton Hotel. He's THE man to go to for a definitive Mint Julep, as well as superbly executed versions of the great New Orleans classics, the Ramos Gin Fizz and the Sazerac. (Mr. McMillian is also a treasure-trove of bar and drink lore, and a wonderful raconteur.)

        Ritz Carton Hotel
        921 Canal St. (Btw. Dauphine & Burgundy)
        504-524-1331 (Phone ahead to confirm that Mr. McMillian is on duty.)
        Library Lounge open 5-10p Mon-Sat.

        5 Replies
        1. re: SBrooksB

          how much does a mint julep here run, made by Mr. McMillian?

          or how much is a ramos ginn fizz?

          heara a lot about the joint.

          1. re: SBrooksB

            I'm not sure what the hours actually are, but the Library Lounge is definitely not open 5-10p Mon-Sat. I am starting to suspect that their opening hours at completely at the whim of someone, perhaps Mr. McMillian himself. The website says 5-10 T-S, but I've been there on Tuesdays when it was not open. No matter, you can always get a fantastic rum punch or julep (not in silver, more's the pity) at the other bar "On Trois" right near the restaurant "Melange" which I always want to call "Melange on Trois".

            1. re: uptownlibrarian

              The Ritz-Carlton wants you to call it Melange on Trois as well. It's a joke they slipped past corporate.

              1. re: uptownlibrarian

                I had the same question and found out that McMillian is working every Wednesday through Saturday (6 p.m. - 12:00 a.m.) during the summer, then he'll go back to Tuesday through Saturday when September rolls around. I "borrowed" a copy of the menu, since it is filled with information that only McMillian could impart. Here are some prices: Mojito- $8; Sidecar- $6; Tom Collins- $6; Brandy Milk Punch- $6; French 75- $6; Mint Julep- $10; Sazerac- $8; Pimm's Cup- $6 and Ramos Gin Fizz- $8. Why do people think the Ritz is so expensive?? Parking is free if you buy a drink or meal. Rooms are 1/2 off now since it is summer. I love that place!

              2. re: SBrooksB

                Fascinating . . . we used to live next door to the McMillans (we now live in Phoenix). Chris introduced us to the mojito and taught us how to make it. I had no idea he is so celebrated!

              3. A sazerac at the bar at Tujagues
                The sangria at Taqueros
                Dare I offer up the original Hurricane at Pat Os?

                2 Replies
                1. re: Hungry Celeste

                  Brandy milk punch at Mr. B's, martinis at Rib Room and Commander's, champagne cocktail Windsor Court ....

                  1. re: bronwen

                    About 5 years ago, I spent a few hours waiting out a July deluge at the bar in the Monteleone drinking brandy milk punches. To the best of my recollection, they were wonderful!

                2. If it is one thing New Orleans is famous for, it is cocktails. In fact, New Orleans is likely the originator of the cocktail as it is known today, with the concoction of the Sazerac. Though most tourists know of the icky green hand grenade from Tropical Isle and Hurricane from Pat O's, you'd do yourself a favor by trying a Sazerac. Beware, it's got a distinct flavor derived from a mixture of Herbsaint (licorice flavor) and rye whisky. If Chris McMillian is at the Library Lounge at the Ritz, have him make you one. The other place you can get a good one is at Napoleon House.

                  While at Napoleon House, as mentioned, try a Pimm's Cup.

                  If you are a bloody mary fan, there will be no shortage. I like the ones at The Columns Hotel, Avenue Pub (on St. Charles Ave), Pat O's and Molly's at the Market, though you could just do your own tastings around the French Quarter.

                  The Brandy Milk punch is the Sunday morning alternative to the bloody mary. If you haven't had one, try it.

                  A couple bars that you should miss are:

                  The Columns Hotel on St. Charles Ave. Popular locals bar, housed in a small boutique hotel, built in the 1800's. The woodwork and ambiance are one in a million. They're not serious about good cocktails, but any drink you have while sitting in the bar or on the front porch will be acceptable.

                  Napoleon House. One of the coolest bars in the city. Very historic and old school.

                  Carousel Bar at the Monteleone. Ever had a drink at a rotating bar? The drinks are expensive, but put this on your list to sit at the bar for at least one drink.

                  Pat O'Brien's. When you walk in the front door, try the piano bar on the right, or the local's bar on the left. You can get all of the same drinks, but they are cheaper on the locals side. Enjoy a cold Abita Amber, bloody mary or any one of their specialty fruity drinks.

                  Columns Hotel
                  3811 Saint Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA 70115

                  Napoleon House Bar & Cafe
                  500 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130

                  Avenue Pub
                  1732 St Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130

                  Monteleone Hotel
                  214 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70130

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: UptownKevin

                    I am sure you meant to say bars you shouldn't miss. I second the Columns Hotel and for anyone who is a fan of Louis Malle films, this is where Pretty Baby was filmed, with Brooke Shields, a mere babe.

                    1. re: UptownKevin

                      You are correct Tonto. That is a list of bars you SHOULD NOT miss!


                      1. re: UptownKevin

                        anyone knows how much the drinks at at the ritz cartlon, with mr. mcmillian holding court.

                        1. re: kevin

                          You're probably looking at about $7 or $8 for a Sazerac. Maybe up to $10-$12 for another specialty drink, like a mint julep. I would aim for the higher end, since it is the Ritz. Just figure ten bucks a cocktail and you'll be golden. The Ritz is not the place to be getting your drink on. Have your crafted cocktails there, then venture to Bourbon for 3-for-1 to continue...


                          1. re: UptownKevin

                            good so at least it's not around 15 or 16 for a mint julep.

                            pimm's cup at napoleon house for all of five bucks is a steal in comparison.

                      2. re: UptownKevin

                        So Kevin, as a former bar manager at Columns, why aren't they more serious about the drinks? Too much volume?

                        Even if the craft isn't high, it's still my favorite place to sip a drink.

                        1. re: UptownKevin

                          I agree that a Sazerac is THE drink, but I dunno . . . the Sazerac at Arnaud's French 75 Bar is so far the best I've had -- MUCH better than the Ritz, the Fairmont's Sazerac Bar or the Napoleon House.

                          (IMHO, of course.)