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11 Classic Cocktails You Must Try in New Orleans and 1 You Shouldn’t

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In New Orleans, we love a robust red with dinner. And an ice-cold beer pairs perfectly with a crawfish boil or tailgate.

But what we prize above all other forms of booze is the cocktail.

In fact, we’re often credited with inventing the very first one, though newspaper records from the late 1800s show that New York may have beaten us by a few years. (We’re not getting in the middle of that one!)

Here, highballs are an artform, barrooms double as living rooms, and our bar tabs? They’re long.

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Cocktails You Must Try in New Orleans

Whether you’re here for Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest or just a Wednesday night, you’ll find options that range from the classic standbys to imaginative new concoctions.

But don’t be overwhelmed! With this list of where to drink essential New Orleans cocktails, you’ll be sure to sip the best that the city has to offer.

Traveler Broads in New Orleans

We’re the Traveler Broads, local bloggers and guide authors. Our goal is to collect all the best intel on New Orleans and beyond.

Together, we’ve spent a lot of time researching these drinks. Most are either born in New Orleans or have become synonymous with cocktail culture in the city.

And this list keeps to the French Quarter (with the exception of the Sazerac Bar), so you can squeeze in as many essential New Orleans cocktails as possible on your visit.

Cheers to you!

1. Sazerac at the Sazerac Bar in the Roosevelt Hotel

130 Roosevelt Way

Number one on the list for a reason! The Sazerac is a New Orleans native and sometimes called the first cocktail in America. (Again, this is disputed.)

If you’re wondering just how seriously we take the sazerac around here, consider this: State lawmakers declared it the official cocktail of Louisiana in 2008.

There’s no better spot to enjoy this rye whiskey-based drink than the landmark, art deco Sazerac Bar inside the swank Roosevelt Hotel.

How To Make a Sazarac

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 oz. rye whiskey
  • 1 Sugar cube
  • 2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • Absinthe or Herbsaint
  • Garnish: lemon peel

Directions

  1. In an Old-Fashioned glass, muddle a sugar cube with a few drops of water.
  2. Add several small ice cubes, then rye whiskey, Peychaud’s bitters, and Angostura bitters.
  3. Stir well.
  4. Roll a few drops of absinthe or Herbsaint around a second, chilled Old-Fashioned glass until it’s inside is coated.
  5. Pour out the excess.
  6. Strain the contents of the first glass into the second. Garnish with a twist of lemon peel.

Or see it in action:

214 Royal Street

It’s honestly hard to tell which is more iconic, this cognac-whiskey concoction or the gorgeous, spinning Carousel Bar where it was invented in 1938 around the time the literary likes of Truman Capote and Eudora Welty became regulars.

Today, live jazz and a livelier crowd pair well with a Vieux Carre, which translates to “Old Quarter” and is one of the many names given to the French Quarter over the years.

How To Make a Vieux Carre

Ingredients

  • 4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
  • 2 tsp Bénédictine
  • 3/4 oz Sweet vermouth
  • 3/4 oz Cognac
  • 3/4 oz Rye whiskey
  • Garnish: Maraschino cherry or lemon peel

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients into a mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled.
  2. Strain into an Old Fashioned glass.
  3. Garnish with a Maraschino cherry or lemon peel.

Or see it in action:

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3. Hurricane at Jean Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar

941 Bourbon Street

Pat O’Briens may take credit for inventing this fruity and sweet New Orleans classic, but Jean Lafitte’s version using real juice is better in my book.

Located at the quieter end of Bourbon Street, Jean Lafitte’s began life as the lair of the region’s most famous pirate and still retains some of that dimly lit ambiance.

Today, it’s the oldest structure housing a bar in the country. Grab a seat at the piano for a singalong on busy nights.

How to make a Hurricane

Ingredients

  • 2 oz Light rum
  • 2 oz Dark rum
  • 1 oz Fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz Orange juice
  • 1/2 oz Passion fruit purée
  • 1/2 oz Simple syrup
  • 1 barspoon Grenadine
  • Garnish: Orange wheel and maraschino cherry

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake.
  2. Strain into a large Hurricane glass over fresh ice.
  3. Garnish with an orange half-wheel and a maraschino cherry.

Or see it in action:

4. Frozen Daiquiri at Manolito

508 Dumaine Street

Frozen Daiquiri at Manolito

Skip the Day-Glo Slurpee varieties you’ll see all over Bourbon Street, and hit up this cozy Cuban eatery for a more authentic experience. (The daiquiri was invented in Cuba.)

Two of the city’s most celebrated cocktail experts – Chris Hannah and Nick Detrich – developed Manolito’s extensive daiquiri list.

Try the mint! (And the fried chickpeas.)

Or sip on the version favored by Ernst Hemmingway, the unofficial patron saint of daiquiris.

How To Make a Legit Frozen Daiquiri

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces white rum
  • 1 1/2 ounces freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • 1 1/2 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice (key limes, if available)
  • 1/2 ounce maraschino liqueur
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • 2 cups ice, preferably crushed
  • Garnish: lime wheels

Directions

  1. In a blender, combine the rum, grapefruit juice, lime juice, maraschino liqueur, and simple syrup.
  2. Add ice and blend, starting on the lowest setting and increasing to the highest setting, blending until incorporated and frothy.
  3. Pour the frozen Hemingway Daiquiri into chilled coupes and garnish with lime wheels.

X. Hand Grenade – Ew. Don’t

I’m not telling you.

This advice goes double for fishbowls or any of the other gimmicky, get-you-plastered drinks they hawk on Bourbon Street.

We have too many amazing cocktails to waste your time on these hangover triggers!

Want To Be Prepared For Your Vacation to New Orleans? Ask a local!

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Need help planning your trip? Contact Sunset Chasers Travel Agency, and we will plan everything for you!

5. French 75 at Arnaud’s French 75 Bar

813 Bienville Street

French 75 at Arnaud’s French 75 Bar

This gin-and-champagne cocktail may have been born in Paris, but it was perfected in New Orleans.

The luxurious French 75 Bar offers up the city’s best example along with bar bites from it’s sister fine dining restaurant next door.

(Brabant potatoes. Trust me.) Bonus: Upstairs, there’s a secret Mardi Gras museum!

How to make a French 75

Ingredients

  • 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 ounces gin
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 2 ounces dry sparkling wine, brut Champagne, chilled
  • Garnish: Lemon peel

Directions

  1. Using zester or paring knife, slice peel from lemon in long, thin spiral.
  2. In cocktail shaker, combine gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Add ice and shake vigorously for 20 seconds.
  3. Strain into chilled Champagne flute and top with sparkling wine.
  4. Curl lemon peel around finger to create twist at least 6 inches long.
  5. Garnish drink with twist and serve immediately.

Or see it in action:

6. Ramos Gin Fizz at Bombay Club

830 Conti Street

Invented in a now defunct New Orleans bar in 1888, this frothy fizz was legendary Louisiana Gov. Huey P. Long’s favorite.

It was originally shaken for 12 minutes straight by an assembly line of barbacks, turning the egg whites into an epic foam.

Today, the swank gin joint Bombay Club serves them up considerably faster along with live jazz trios and tasty bar bites.

Fun fact: When Prohibition hit 100 years ago, the temperance-preaching inventor of this cocktail – Henry C. Ramos – shut his doors and never mixed another drink (while the rest of New Orleans remained infamously boozy.)

How to Make a Ramos Gin Fizz

Ingredients

  • 2 oz Gin
  • 1/2 oz Heavy cream
  • 1/2 oz Fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz Fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 oz Simple syrup
  • 3 dashes Orange flower water
  • 1 Fresh egg white
  • Club soda, to top

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients except the club soda into a shaker and shake vigorously (without ice).
  2. Fill with ice and shake again.
  3. Strain into a Collins glass.
  4. Pour a little bit of club soda back and forth between the empty halves of the shaker to pick up any residual egg white.
  5. Pour into the glass.

Or see it in action:

7. Brandy Crusta at Jewel of the South

1026 Saint Louis Street

Brandy Crusta at Jewel of the South

Once long-forgotten, this New Orleans native has made a comeback in a big way over the last two years, thanks to the same superstar duo behind Manolito.

Cognac, bright citrus and an over-the-top sugared rim are the hallmarks of this drink that dates back to the 1800s. By some accounts, it set the stage for a style of cocktails called sours, including it’s more famous cousin, the Sidecar.

A cute courtyard and an inventive food menu round out the rest of the experience at Jewel of the South, which is housed in an authentic Creole cottage.

How to Make a Brandy Crusta

Ingredients

  • 2 oz Brandy
  • 1/4 oz Curaçao
  • 1/2 oz Fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz Simple syrup
  • 1 tsp Maraschino liqueur
  • 1 dash Peychaud’s bitters
  • Lemon twist
  • Garnish: Sugar rim

Directions

  1. Rim a coupe with sugar and set aside.
  2. Add all ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake.
  3. Strain into the prepared glass.
  4. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Or see it in action:

8.Absinthe at Belle Epoque inside the Old Absinthe House

240 Bourbon Street

This new, chic lounge is the perfect spot for an extravagant happy hour. It’s two gorgeous antique fountains add an extra drop of glam to your absinthe.

Meanwhile, on its bar list, this classic New Orleans ingredient makes its way into several creative cocktails, like the Ear and Loathing made with passionfruit.

How to drink Abstinte

Ingredients

  • Sugar Cube
  • Absinthe spoon
  • Water
  • Absinthe

Directions

  1. Place the spoon over a filled glass of absinthe with the sugar cube on it
  2. Slowly drip water over the sugar until it has dissolved.
  3. You should look to have about four to six parts water per one part absinthe.

Or see it in action:

9. Brandy Milk Punch at Brennan’s

417 Royal Street

This unique brunch cocktail migrated from the UK and found it’s true home here in New Orleans.

And Brennan’s – fine dining creole from the family who invented jazz brunch – mixes up a killer version.

It’s the perfect way to start a Sunday at Brennan’s iconic breakfast. (Or, pop over to sister restaurant Commander’s Palace for the quintessential jazz brunch experience.)

How to make a Brandy Milk Punch

Ingredients

  • 2 oz. Napoleon brandy
  • 4 oz. half & half
  • 1 oz. simple syrup
  • ¼ oz. vanilla extract
  • Garnish: Freshly grated nutmeg

Directions

  1. Combine brandy, half & half, simple syrup, and vanilla extract in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
  2. Shake vigorously and pour into a chilled Old Fashioned glass.
  3. Garnish with nutmeg.

Or see it in action:

10. Grasshopper at Tujague’s

429 Decatur St

Grasshopper at Tujague’s

While we’re talking sweet, head to another of New Orleans’ long-standing family restaurants for a post-dinner dessert drink.

Invented at Tujague’s nearly a century ago, the Grasshopper combines creme de menthe and chocolate for a bright green, milkshake-like treat.

The lightweights will love it’s low ABV. Tujague’s, the second oldest restaurant in the city, is located at 429 Decatur Street.

Stay tuned for when their new digs open.

How to make a Grasshopper

Ingredients

  • 3/4 ounce green creme de menthe
  • 3/4 ounce white creme de cacao
  • 3/4 ounce half and half
  • Garnish: Mint

Directions

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Pour in all ingredients.
  3. Shake until chilled.
  4. Strain the mixture into a cocktail glass.
  5. Garnish with mint.

Or see it in action:


How to make a Brandy Milk Punch

Ingredients

  • 2 oz. Napoleon brandy
  • 4 oz. half & half
  • 1 oz. simple syrup
  • ¼ oz. vanilla extract
  • Garnish: Freshly grated nutmeg

Directions

  1. Combine brandy, half & half, simple syrup, and vanilla extract in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
  2. Shake vigorously and pour into a chilled Old Fashioned glass.
  3. Garnish with nutmeg.

Or see it in action:

11. Pimm’s Cup at Napoleon House

500 Chartres Street

Made with a British gin liqueur, think of this refreshing fruit cup as a punched up sangria.

It was born abroad, but has since become the signature cocktail of one of New Orleans’ more colorful bars. The 200-year-old Napoleon House was originally occupied by the city’s mayor in 1812, who then offered his home to the exiled French military leader Napoléon Bonaparte.

Napoléon never showed, but this quirky spot has been attracting artists, writers and lovers of good times ever since.

How to make Pimm’s Cup

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups Pimm’s No. 1
  • 1 navel orange, cut crosswise into thin slices
  • 1 lemon, cut crosswise into thin slices
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed mint leaves and tender stems
  • 1 1/2 cups cold ginger ale or lemon lime soda
  • 1 cucumber, cut lengthwise into 8 wedges
  • 3 cups ice
  • 1 apple, quartered, cored, and cut into thin slices

Directions

  1. In a large pitcher, combine the Pimm’s, the orange and lemon slices, and the mint.
  2. Chill for 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in the ginger ale.
  4. Put two cucumber wedges, standing on end, into each of four 1-pint glasses.
  5. Fill halfway with ice.
  6. Pour in the Pimm’s mixture.
  7. Push the mint down into the drinks and divide the orange, lemon, and apple slices among the drinks.

Or see it in action:

A Little Lagniappe – The Disco Ball from Jack Rose

2031 St Charles Ave

Every now and then I like to throw in a little something extra – also known as Lagniappe! The Disco ball from Jack Rose is the perfect drink to compliment any ladies night or Bachelorette Party.

One day I’m going to get both of the Traveler Broads to make their way to Central City and grab a whole disco ball bunch of us to split.

What’s in it? I have no idea, but it sure is delicious.

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