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Jul 19, 2009 09:27 AM

The 5 Most Classic New Orleans Cocktails and the Best Places to Drink Them...

The recent Sazerac discussion prompted this post.

What are the top 5 New Orleans cocktails?

Where do y'all go to drink them?

Prefer small,neighborhood joints[my favorite bar in town is Evelyn's place]but can go fancy too.

A few words about Evelyn's

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  1. Pimms cup at the Napoleon house, sazerac and ramos gin fizz at the roosevelt, Hurricane at Pat O'Briens and the home of the grasshopper at Tujagues.

    6 Replies
    1. re: joedontexan

      Vieux Carre at The Carousel Bar (and anything else if Eddie is mixing)
      Commander's Palace: I have to say, the Papa Doble is a wonderful cocktail, as is the Whiskey Smash.

      Pat O'Brien's hurricane is something everyone should have once but it's basically shit. Kool-aid plus cheap booze. Might as well get a handgrenade at Tropical Isle or whatever while you're at it, but I assume we're all grown ups here at this point. I haven't bothered with Hurricanes anywhere else but someone told me the one at the bar at Brennan's is great.

      I thought the Absinthe Frappe was really nice at the Old Absinthe House, but that place can be a real pain in the ass when it's crowded (and also a great place to have your things stolen once you've had a few, but that's another thread all together....)

      1. re: kukubura

        1. The Sazerac is obviously "the" quintisential New Orleans cocktail. I hope my favorite place for a Sazerac will be at the Sazerac Bar, but as I have not been yet, I am not certain..
        2. Pimm's Cup-Napoleon House or for upscale Bayona.
        3. Ramos Gin Fizz-The Library Lounge at the Ritz Carlton
        4. Abita Amber (Hey, I am not a huge beer fan, but this is the only one I can drink...EVER!-Any corner bar, dive or restaurant in NOLA.
        5. French 75 or Vieux Carre at the Carousel Bar.
        6. The Roffignac: (I believe the Carousel Bar does these and they are fabulous! Dates back to the 1820's and named after Mayor Roffignac who escaped the guillotine to settle into the Quarter. ) 2 ounces rye whiskey, 1 ounce raspberry syrup,
        club soda, and garnishe with fresh strawberries. Mix said ingredients and top with club soda.(Serve in a high ball glass with ice, of course) Refreshing!

        1. re: ScarlettNola

          The Library Lounge at the Ritz Carlton is a private club, so visitors will need to go elsewhere for a good Ramos Gin Fizz. I recommend:

          1. Bar UnCommon at the Renaissance Père Marquette Hotel. (Phone ahead to find out when master mixologist Chris McMillian is tending bar.)
          2. Carousel Lounge at the Monteleone Hotel.

          Can't believe no one's mentioned Arnaud's French 75 Bar (next door to Arnaud's restaurant)! It's a classy little space, and if you go when Chris Hannah is bartending, you're likely to get a beautifully-made version of just about anything. His Sazeracs are excellent.

          1. re: BrooksNYC

            True...but even when we go to have a few drinks at the bar, we move to the courtyard. The bartender at the Lounge generally mixes the drinks for the courtyard. I noticed cocktail waitresses coming into the bar to get drinks for those in the courtyard (although it was a very slow weeknight and may be different on weekends) Chris McMillan was the mixologist at the Ritz and I believe that he switched to Bar Uncommon after the LL became a private club. I also believe that guests at the Ritz can access the club for a nominal fee, but am not certain. ( The Ritz in STL has a cigar bar as well and has this option), so if you are staying there, it is always good to check as the cocktails are great, and the Lounge has a wonderful selection of cigars.

            1. re: ScarlettNola

              I was unaware that the Lounge has cigars...before Katrina I went only a friends who stayed there often and smoking was then allowed. So this is welcome news.

              The Chablis Cassis (we nver called it a "kir") used to be a staple as was the old Champagne cocktail but I wager I've not seen either one (apart from mine) ordered in years. And I have not had a champagne cocktail in at least fifteen years but the chablis cassis is a favorite. I think the New Orleans version--or so I think of it--of the French 75--was a great drink. the original is champagne and cognac..somewhere it morphed into champagne--OK, sparkling wine---and gin. Antoine's made a fabulous one.

              You just don't see anyone willing to do a fizz anmore. It has become fashionable retro to offer it but the old method of shaking the hell out of it has given was to The Blender---which works fine but do it out of earshot, please!

              It is nice to see that drinks and food involving raw eggs are not extinct...they came damn close, though.

              1. re: hazelhurst

                This is why the Lounge became a private club....The Ritz outlawed smoking in all of their hotels and they wished to continue cigar smoking. I guess the rules don't apply in private clubs...but they have wonderful old school NOLA cocktails. I believe there are two such places, one in STL and one in NOLA.

    2. the Hurricane from Lafitte's Blacksmith Shoppe is the most drinkable one ive had yet, and the atmosphere is one of a kind.

      while its frowned upon, i actually really enjoy a *small* hand grenade (available if you ask) while strolling & people watching on bourbon.

      1 Reply
      1. re: kibbles

        We did a cocktail tour while in NO and had some fun drinks. I'll second the Hurricane from Lafitte's. I thought I hated the drink after trying the Pat O's version, but the one at Lafitte's is refreshing, fruity and delicious! It's a must-have when I'm in NO. Also, while maybe not a "signature" I'll also throw out that one must try one of the many absinthe beverages at the Pirates Alley Cafe while in town.

      2. Sazerac, Ramos Gin Fizz, Grasshopper, French 75, Vieux Carre, Pimm's Cup
        Uncommon Bar w/ Chris Mcmillan,
        Arnaud's French 75 w/ Chris Hannah,
        Cure w/ all staff,
        Brennan's w/ Blake Kaiser,
        Cafe Adelaide,
        Commander's Palace w/ Ferrel Dugas.
        Carousel Bar w/ Marvin Allen.
        Clever w/ Kimberly Patton-Bragg
        .and no unfortunately not at the Sazerac bar yet.

        The Roffignac, Hurricane
        Arnaud's French 75 w/ Chris Hannah,
        Cure w/ all staff,
        The reason I've chosen these two bars only is because of the availability of ingredients used for traditional recipes. (ie: raspberry syrup, passion fruit puree)

        There are many great bars and bartenders around town who offer great drinks and memorable experiences, but as far as the classics go the aforementioned have all gone through rigorous training to bring back the integrity of the classics. Having something as simple and as beautiful as a Mint Julep can be hard to come by at the hands of a novice. So if cocktails are where your heart is, then take the time to seek out the above for a beautifully crafted cocktail. Try to find the individuals mentioned by name to ensure best possible experience. Cheers!


          I posted a similar thread to trip advisor and received many responses

          2 Replies
          1. re: fixer

            Reviving the thread with a nod to the Dark and Stormy at Tonique

            1. re: scrumptiouschef

              Best Dark and Stormy I have ever had. It should actually have a different name, it's so much better.

          2. Well I guess the Sazerac has to be #1, seeing as how it's been legislated as our official cocktail.


            Places where I've enjoyed them: Sazerac at the Roosevelt, of course, Napoleon House, Carosel Bar, Old Absinthe House. I actually like this place's version the best, but it's sometimes hard for me to get people out to Bourbon St.

            Pimms Cup - Napoleon House
            Ramos Gin Fizz - I don't drink these but I've heard they're good at Sazerac and Absinthe House
            Hurricane at Pat O's - Again I don't drink them and maybe it's considered a little touristy but I don't know if you should really leave it off the list.

            2 Replies
            1. re: nola79

              It's amazing how many cocktails you can drink when you really put your mind to it. So it goes on the current journey through New Orleans cocktail world. While I find the bartender at Coquette to be right at the top of his game,his lack of ability to procure ginger beer leaves him flailing in the wake of Tonique.

              It's the only bar in New Orleans I've found where it really doesn't matter who's behind the drink. All the bartenders are uniformly skilled with Lisa's conjurings being particularly delicious.

              Like Mid City above mentions, their Dark and Stormy is so good and so much better than every other version in town it really deserves a different name.

              Who's been to Tonique?

              What was your cocktail of choice?

              820 N Rampart St, New Orleans, LA 70116

              1. re: scrumptiouschef

                Tonique doesn't use ginger beer, as far as I understand. They make their own fresh ginger juice and use that instead.

                820 N Rampart St, New Orleans, LA 70116