HOME > Chowhound > New Orleans >


oh and let us not forget the cocktails

here's my list so far... please feel free to add any. a special thanks to "yammers" from whom i pirated most of this list. :) btw this has some of my notes... please ignore or correct me at will...

old absinthe house http://www.oldabsinthehouse.com/ not sure if anyone it up for trying this stuff, but apparently they have a tour, perhaps a "when in rome"? thing???

French 75/Arnaud's http://www.arnauds.com/bar.html (french 75 is a cocktail, gin, simple syrup, champagne & lemon juice... supposed to be quite refreshing
lafitte's blacksmith shop http://www.atneworleans.com/body/blac... (also known for their hurricane's
pat o'brien's http://www.patobriens.com/patobriens/ hurricane's and piano bar - is this just terrible tourist trap? or kind of a touristy but worth a stop anyway? I have never really had a good hurricane... if not here, where is the best place? and a hand grenade just sounds kind of nasty (but I don't like melon liquer). worth trying? I'll try anything once. :
Tujagues http://www.tujaguesrestaurant.com/ (known for ramos gin fizzes, pimm's cup and sazerac... sazerac is apparently cognac & bitters), they also apparently brine their own olives... make good bloody mary's... and la louisane, which is some kind of absitch and rye whiskey? not for the timid... ? but i am game... heard food is not so good, but bar is great.

napoleon house http://www.napoleonhouse.com - heard has good food *and* drinks

bourbon milk punch... where is a good place? when is this typically consumed? brunch?

anything else? we aren't planning on tying one on every day, but a few drinks before dinner, etc. is always nice.

also, any great places for music and drinks?

thanks in advance!

823 Decatur Street, New Orleans, LA 70116

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. oh and forgot to include the carousel bar... at monthelena right?

    1 Reply
    1. You will want the Pimm's Cup at Napoleon House. Green Goddess has a great drink menu. My favorite is the blood orange mimosa. I don't do hurricanes.

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

      Green Goddess
      307 Exchange Place, New Orleans, LA 70130

      6 Replies
      1. re: mrsfury

        I'm with Mrs. Fury — I don't do Hurricanes. If you want to try a Hurricane, they're better at Lafitte's. Visit Pat O's courtyard for the ambiance, but stick to simple, foolproof drinks.

        It's true that the original nineteenth-century Sazerac was made with Cognac. Sazzes are almost always made with rye nowadays (except at Galatoire's, which uses bourbon). I've had all three versions, and agree with the bartender at Tujaque's who insisted that the best balanced Sazerac is made with rye.

        Chris McMillian at Bar Uncommon is a great bartender. Have him make you any New Orleans classic (a Sazerac, a Vieux Carre, a Ramos Gin Fizz), or his incomparable Mint Julep. Mr. McMillian's hours are odd, so don't stop in without phoning ahead.

        My favorite bartender at Arnaud's French 75 is Chris Hannah, who made the best Sazerac I've ever had. Again, you may want to phone ahead to find out when he's on duty.

        Although Brennan's is known for its milk punch, it's such a simple drink that any good bar should be able to make it.

        Sadly, the Old Absinthe House has turned into an overpriced, fratty mob scene. I'd skip it. If you want to try absinthe, the Quarter's best selection of absinthes is probably at Pravda!, at 1113 Decatur (btw. Ursulines and Gov. Nicholls). Ask for Marteau, Pacifique, any of the Jade absinthes (I like Edouard), or Kubler. None of these absinthes need sweetening, but if you want to try a classic sugar drip, tell the bartender NOT to light the sugar cube on fire. (It changes the flavor of the absinthe, and not in a good way.)

        I had a fine Ramos Gin Fizz at the Carousel Bar last time I was down.

        Napoleon House's Pimm's Cup is light and refreshing on a hot afternoon, and the atmosphere is unbeatable. Go between 3:00 and 5:00 to avoid crowds.

        Have a great time!

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

        Galatoire's Restaurant
        209 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70130

        Old Absinthe House
        240 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA 70130

        Carousel Bar
        214 Royal St, New Orleans, LA

        823 Decatur Street, New Orleans, LA 70116

        Pat O'brien's Bar
        718 Saint Peter St, New Orleans, LA 70116

        Vieux Carre Restaurant
        201 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA 70130

        1113 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116

        1. re: BrooksNYC

          You know, there was a not, not that long ago, that you had to look far & wide for rye in a Sazerac...simply couldn't find it. You got either Old Overholt or , if at the Sazerac bar, Wild Turkey (which does make a 101 proof, before anyone protests that it is a bourbon). Virtually all the Sazeracs were bourbon based..although it is true that, MANY years ago, the drink came to its fame in the rye version. it is just that Rye fell out of vogue and no one stocked it. The cognac version had vanished from sight, so far as I can tell, by WWII buit I knew a man wh, in his 80's in the 1970's, would only have it that way. Fun stuff to play with

          1. re: hazelhurst

            Asking me to remember my first "bar" Sazerac in N.O. is asking a lot of my ancient, creaking brain cells, Hazelhurst, but you're right! Sazzes were made with bourbon for a long time.

            I prefer rye Sazeracs, but don't dislike the bourbon version by any means. The Cognac version, interestingly, is my least favorite of the three.

            1. re: BrooksNYC

              I agree about rye versus anything else...cognac was used in the original French 75, too. But times change and I suspect Prohibition had a lot to do with changing tastes. BUt those old Sazeracs with Wild Turkey were demanding of caution...yow!

            2. re: hazelhurst

              The Napoleon House has always used Old Overholt in their sazeracs, unless otherwise instructed, and that brand and Wild Turkey's Rye were the only 2 ryes consistently sold in New Orleans since the 60's. Owen Brennan gets credit for switching to bourbon at his Old Absinthe House and at his eponymous restaurant.

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

              Old Absinthe House
              240 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA 70130

            3. re: BrooksNYC

              >>> My favorite bartender at Arnaud's French 75 is Chris Hannah, who made the best Sazerac I've ever had. Again, you may want to phone ahead to find out when he's on duty. <<<

              +1 (ever since Bobby left)

          2. Go to Port o Call and get a Humma Humma (not sure on the spelling) or Monsoon or any of the drinks there in a big cup.

            I prefer a brandy milk punch over a bourbon milk punch and yes, that is typically a brunch drink for me.
            A Sazerac at the Sazerac Bar in the Roosevelt is very nice

            Two Humma Hummas and a hand grenade later and it was lights out for me a while back.

            1 Reply
            1. re: roro1831

              speaking of Huma Humas and Hand Grenades.. some years back i devised a French Quarter Trifecta which is bound to induce much pain, suffering, and head trauma (you wont feel so great, either):

              - Monsoon (or HH) - Port of Call
              - Hurricane - Pat O'briens *
              - Hand Grenade

              ...alternatively i call this "Diabetes in a Cup". i completed it only one time...but i dont really remember much.

              * not because it is the best, far from it. rather, because it is a giant sugary mess.

            2. We're going in about a year, and I've already started my "to visit" list. In addition to the already mentioned Napoleon House, I also have at the top of my list:


              Followed by:

              Bar UnCommon (manned by bartending legend, Chris McMillan

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

              1. I 2nd and 3rd Bar Uncommon, The Carousel Bar in the Monteleone

                Hermes Bar in Antoine's

                The Rib Room Bar in the Royal Orleans

                Loa in the International House Hotel

                1 Reply
                1. re: Suzy Wong

                  I do love Loa, and Rambla is right next door which is a plus in my opinion.

                  217 Camp Street, New Orleans, LA 70130

                2. Taking your list in order:

                  I'm not a big fan of the Old Absinthe House, but that's more because it's terribly overpriced. There's nothing actually wrong with the bar, at least not the times I've been there, which has only ever been in the early afternoon on a weekday before having lunch at Galatoire's, and even then only a small handful of times. If it's absinthe you're after, I'm sure there are better places. Pravda on Decatur specializes, and any craft cocktail place probably has absinthe: Bar Tonique, the fantastic bar at Iris restaurant, Cure, etc. Maybe ask a separate question just about absinthe for more guidance, if you're into it.

                  French 75 is a great drink and Arnaud's has a nice classic bar in a separate room from the rest of the place. You should enjoy time spent there.

                  Lafitte's is touristy and a little expensive, but nothing really wrong with that. The cool old building is the main draw.

                  Nothing wrong with Pat O's either, as far as I'm concerned. It is touristy of course, and I don't go there very often, but the bar to the left as you walk through the carriage way is usually staffed with nice people who make a good Bloody Mary. The piano bar really only fun when it's hopping busy, otherwise it's dead and boring. The problem with hurricanes at Pat O's is that they're made from a very sugary mix and piped into the bar from big tanks. The real thing is a delightful fruity rum punch, but that's not what you'll get at Pat O'Brien's anymore. Maybe you could get one there and then also a "real" one at a cocktail bar to compare.

                  Frankly I don't mind the taste of hand grenades. To me they taste very pineapple-y rather than melon-y. However, I've only ever had them a few times, on Mardi Gras Day, when I've already been drinking for awhile, so my knowledge on this drink is probably not completely accurate.

                  Tujague's is another very cool big carved wooden bar, like the ones you'll see at Arnaud's and Napoleon House. Fun place to stand and have a few cocktails. The grasshopper allegedly originated there. They certainly pour a passable cocktail, but a lot depends on the bartender of course. They serve two good dishes in the bar: their well-known brisket, and a chicken dish with lots of garlic and parsley over potatoes called chicken bonne femme. There's no menu and you can just place your order with the bartender.

                  Napoleon House is a nice place to hang on the patio or in one of the tables in the windows on the street. The food is not great, but it will do if you just want something to munch on when you're drinking.

                  As others have said, milk punch is definitely a morning/brunch drink.

                  For music and drinks, head down to Frenchmen Street. Check out one of the local publications or http://www.offbeat.com/ for listings.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: uptownlibrarian

                    Those are, in my judgement, thoughtful somments and spot-on i my experience. I only to to the Absinthe House when sropping by someone else's function (you are far braver than I am if you go for a pump prime before Galatoire's...I don't like to have so much as a trace of Dr Tichenor's mouthwash in my system when sitting down to those cocktails).

                    For French 75's, my allegiance belogs to Antoine's, where I first had them in their incarnation with gin, but Arnaud's has it down well. Hermes bar shoudlddo OK in this particular.

                    Pt O's is fine for an afternoon drink when nothing is expected on one..especially in summer when you can enjoy some AC in the side bar. I agree with you c ompletely.

                    cannot comment on hand grenades or other fruit-y drinks. Hate 'em. Absinthe is a fad that people in town are learning from the old books..fine, but it will cool off in a year or two.

                    I do like the fact that the Roosevelt has kept the Sazerac as it should be and I find it a pleasant place for a drink of an afternoon on a weekend. the evenings I have been in there it was like a frat bar but perhaps that was accidental.

                    For teh most part, I stick to my usual restaurants for libations...

                    1. re: hazelhurst

                      I have lived in New Orleans my entire life and have never had a hand grenade. While I know I am not missing out, I still feel as if I am...HA

                      And as a ps to my earlier post, The Carousel does have a piano player in the evening (John Autin Wed-Sat 9pm-2am). And The Polo Club Lounge in the Windsor Court is also a great plush place for a cocktail and (live) music.....


                      1. re: hazelhurst

                        the absinthe interest is not local to new orleans -- its all over, largely due to the newly granted access. friends in chicago and minneapolis have had the gear for years and often have absinthe gatherings. and as for being a fad, heres an article written by national tech mag Wired, from 5 years ago:


                        ...5 years is pretty good for a fad. they followed it up with reviews of american products a little later:


                        no, i think there is sincerely new interest due to access.

                        1. re: kibbles

                          I acknowledge the more wide interest in absinthe but I still think it is a fad. I used to make homemade stuff back in the 1970's ith wormwood and grain alcohol, just to get "authentic" flavor for certain drinks and for Oysters Rock (from my father's carefully pirated recipe). TO me it is akin to the Campari fad and the grappa fad...runs awhile until the booze distributors come up with another scam..cold-filtered this, half-cask that...on and on.

                          1. re: hazelhurst

                            if it is a 5+ year fad, then it isn't a new orleans tourist one as suggested.

                            but then I think we could label every a fad. pinot fad, oak chard fad, non-oak fad, mojito fad, sazerac fad, flavored vodkas fad, craft cocktails fad, etc.. basically anything other than the norm (which is what again? bud light?) is simply a fad.

                            to me I don't see these things as fads, but simply diverse preferences in a growing spirits landscape, gaining exposure and enjoyment by millions as we learn it's a wild world out there -- no reason to stick to the same old one or two familiars.

                            1. re: kibbles

                              As H.L. Mencken used to respond to contuming(not that you are) letters..."You're probably right."

                              I suppose that my view is simply---and I do mean simple---of an old sort who knew these things (or read about them prior to experiencing them) for years. There is nothing new under the sun---the very term is fossilized---

                              Still, I will always defend the classics....and I see no reason to "improve upon:" a martini or Caesar salad. ... The mind that tries to do so is deranged....

                      2. re: uptownlibrarian

                        UptownLibrarian, the original Pat O's Hurricanes were made with Jero's Red Passion Fruit Mix. Nowadays something else is used. Tastes like cranberry juice to me. If you're looking for a Hurricane that tastes more like the original, you'll find it at Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop.

                      3. try the frozen bourbon milk punch at the bar at bourbon house its simple devine.

                        1. Absinthe House is visually great inside; definitely peek in there, but it is overpriced. Even if you are already drunk, I dare you to choke down a Hurricane! We got one for kicks and tossed it in the garbage. But go see the courtyard, it is amazing.
                          As mentioned, Napoleon House is unbeatable for Pimms; their food is not good though.
                          You must track down Chris McMillan at Bar Uncommon for a great experience.
                          The Gin Gin Mule at the Swizzle Stick bar at the Loew's Hotel is a great refreshing summer treat.
                          Have a wonderful time!

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

                          1. So far you've listed mostly traditional cocktails but I wanted to throw in a recommendation for a place with really creative cocktails: Coquette. It's on the corner of Washington and Magazine uptown.
                            Another joint that you might enjoy for creative cocktails is Cure up on Freret

                            I'd second Pravda for absinthe; during the afternoons it's relatively quite so you can sample and talk with the bartender about different kinds.

                            I haven't been very often but Mr. B's makes a nice Brandy Milk Punch, which can just the right cocktail to cool you down since the weather is getting so darn warm.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Annasta

                              We had the best Sazerac EVER at Cochon last time we were in NO-supposedly Donald's(chef) fav. drink so he has really worked on it! Can't wait to have another in a couple of weeks!

                              930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

                              1. re: Annasta

                                I'm surprised that Cure has only been mentioned twice in this thread; for my money they make the best cocktails in the city (and have a great space and decent food too). Plus they do cheap traditional cocktails during happy hour, if you need to fill a Saz or Fizz fix.

                              2. Creatively delicious food and drinks, Coquette. Thurs. speciality cocktails are 1/2 price. Patois is terrific for both as well. Try their PImms Cup.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: JazzyB

                                  i believe they are a flat $5 on thursdays. great way to try out the cocktail menu. the Buddy Holly bartender makes my favorite sazerac.

                                  another great fancy-cocktails bar is Bar Tonique, on N. Rampart in the quarter across from the park and block from Meaux Bar Bistro. great cocktails, great space.

                                  942 N Rampart St, New Orleans, LA 70116

                                  820 N Rampart St, New Orleans, LA 70116

                                2. I had the Miss Piggy Goes Green at Cochon and it was outstanding! The three dollar Mojito at Mr. B's was off the charts - it was the best cocktail I have ever had. The Hurricanes at Pat O's taste like cough medicine - not for me. Have a blast!

                                  930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

                                  1. For very good non-NOLA-themed drinks, make a stop by El Gato Negro and get a fresh margarita. On a recent trip I got a carrot and lime margarita that was quite tasty! It's near the French Market, so if you go there it's a nice stop after.

                                    If you do want absinthe in the FQ, I actually like Pirate's Alley. It has more of a unique feel to it.