Classic Cocktails in an Old 'Gentlemen Only' Club at French 75
813 Bienville Street, French Quarter
I begin my exploration of New Orleans craft cocktail culture by stepping back in time at the historic French 75. Originally opened in 1918 as a gentleman’s-only club, today French 75 is open to both men and women, with a focus on quality drinks and cigars. That being said, the décor of the sophisticated French Quarter establishment will still make you feel like you’ve stepped back into the old-school bars of the early 18th century, with monkey lamps, dark varnished woods, a vintage bar, low tables and settees, and tiled floors. The establishment is named after the classic French 75 cocktail, which they make with Courvoisier VS, sugar, lemon juice, Moet, and Chandon for a drink combing the light, uplifting bubbles of champagne and the rich flavors and warmth of brandy. If that’s not your thing, you can tell the bartender what types of spirits and flavors you enjoy to have something prepared specifically for you. Additionally, French 75 features an impressive drink menu, with some options including the "Lillet Cobbler" with Lillet, Creme de Mure and lime juice; "The Baroness" featuring Boobles gin, Aperol, Ruby Red grapefruit juice, Rhubarb Cordial and Orange Bitters; and "La Louisiane" with rye whiskey, vermouth, Benedictine, Herbsaint, Angostura and Peychaud Bitters.