Mardi Gras is tomorrow! To get you in the spirit, let’s explore a few classic New Orleans cocktails!
The Sazerac was America’s first cocktail, created in New Orleans by Antoine Peychaud a few hundred years ago. The name of the cocktail comes from the brandy used in the original recipe. In 1870, however, Leon Lamothe replaced that brandy with rye whiskey and added a few dashes of absinthe to create the cocktail still served today. Absinthe, rye whiskey, Peychaud’s bitters, lemon twist, sugar, water (and club soda if you want.)
Rum-based cocktails were created at Pat O’Brien’s Bar in the mid 1940’s when other liquors were in short supply. Through trial and error, a fruity drink called The Hurricane was created by mixing rum with passion fruit syrup and fresh lime juice. The Hurricane is served with an orange slice and cherry garnishes in a glass shaped like a hurricane lamp, the origin of its name.
Ramos Gin Fizz
In 1888, Henry Ramos created The New Orleans Fizz which was later named in his honor. The drink was so popular that the Roosevelt Hotel bought the rights to the drink. Ramos Gin Fizz (also simply known as the Ramos Fizz) incorporates gin (some recipes call for Old Tom or Tanqueray gins specifically), heavy cream, an egg white, lemon and lime juice, sugar and orange flower water. The drink is often served with breakfast or brunch and offers a nice refreshment to complement the hot New Orleans weather.
Brandy Milk Punch
Brennan’s Restaurant in New Orleans’ French Quarter is often credited with creating Brandy Milk Punch, a rich drink often served the morning after a night of over-indulgence. In addition to Brandy, whole milk, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and grated nutmeg are combined to create this adult milk drink known throughout the city. Brandy Milk Punch has many variations, including those which substitute bourbon or spiced rum for the brandy.
Southern Comfort Champagne Cocktail
Southern Comfort is the famous spiced whiskey created in New Orleans in 1874. It has been used extensively and creatively in dozens of cocktails. One such recipe is the Southern Comfort Champagne Cocktail, where Southern Comfort and champagne are mixed with Angostura bitters and the drink is garnished with a lemon peel twist.
There are many other original New Orleans cocktails, like Antoine’s Café Brûlot Diabolique and The Absinthe House Frappe. In addition, some drinks were invented elsewhere but given a New Orleans’ twist, like Pimm’s Cup, made popular at Napoleon House. Be sure to comment on your favorite New Orleans cocktails and even share an interesting recipe or two.