Classic New Orleans Cocktails (Slideshow)
February 27, 2014
Forget the over-sweetened touristy slurry and try these classic, real New Orleans cocktails instead
According to legend, the Sazerac was invented in New Orleans by Antoine Amèdèe Peychaud in the 1880’s when he was playing around with his eponymous bitters. Today, this simple, classic drink is the official cocktail of New Orleans.
Forget the icky-Icee version of this cocktail you see the tourists slurping in the French Quarter. If you get it right, this celebratory punch can be light, fresh, not too sweet, and, dare I say, elegant.
The French Quarter’s namesake cocktail hasn’t changed much since its inception in the 1930s, but it does offer a great opportunity for experimentation. Try replacing the cognac with an infused brandy, something with apricot or pear, for a contemporary twist on this classic. Also, a spiced vermouth such as Vya offers a little more kick to an already zesty cocktail.
The Arnaud’s Special was the signature cocktail at Arnaud’s Restaurant in New Orleans during the ‘40s and ‘50s, and has become synonymous with the city of its origin. Deceptively simple, this cocktail takes some individual experimentation to find exactly the right scotch to suit your palette. No two blended scotches are alike, but I find less aggressive options like Balvenie or Famous Grouse work nicely.
The classic Pimm’s Cup has been a high society staple for more than 200 years. This contemporary twist adds ginger liqueur to make this the perfect daytime sipper.
The bane of all bartenders, this egg white-based cocktail will wear your arm out with all the shaking, but is worth the trouble for its light-as-air texture and gentle sweetness. Created in 1888 by New Orleans saloon-keeper Henry C. Ramos, this cocktail is a close relative to Silver Fizz, but adds to it some creamy decadence and citrusy floral notes.
Like the Hurricane mentioned here, an authentic daiquiri has very little to do with the artificially flavored, frozen splooge version made ubiquitous by chain bars over the last 30 or 40 years. This was among Hemingway’s drinks of choice, and can easily be updated by using a flavored rum such as Whistling Andy Hibiscus-Coconut Rum or Bacardi Limon.
Take some time and forethought when making a proper Grasshopper.I It’s totally worth it to avoid the neon green mouthwash that is found with most commercial crème de menthe. You’ll need to follow this recipe for the homemade version, which takes a full day to make, before mixing this refreshing and decadent New Orleans original.
Meyer Lemon-Cucumber French 75
Named after a piece of French heavy artillery used in WWI, this updated version of the classic French 75 uses the sweeter juice of the Meyer lemon next to the gentle greenness of fresh cucumber. I like to use Hendrick’s gin for this one to compliment the cucumber.