Best of New Orleans Cocktails
New Orleans is famous as the birthplace of cocktails like the Sazerac, the Ramos Gin Fizz and the Hurricane, and perhaps notorious for giving the world the Hand Grenade, the Fish Bowl and the Yard Dog (the Big Ass Beer is a story for another day). While drinks with souvenir glasses have their place in New Orleans’ cocktail culture (we’ve included a few here), we hope you’ll get a chance to try all of the drinks on this list (not all in one visit, of course). Some are classics and some soon will be.
Cornet Restaurant is owned by the family who gave Louis Armstrong his first horn, but that doesn’t stop them from honoring another New Orleans legend – Fats Domino. The Blueberry Hill is made with berry-infused vodka, fresh lemon, and blueberry preserves. It’s light and refreshing. Come sip one on their balcony overlooking Bourbon and St Peters streets.
If you love Bananas Foster, the dessert, you’ll love Oceana Grill’s signature drink at Oceana Grill. The ingredients include a a piece of Bananas Foster Ice Cream Cake, rum, vanilla vodka and banana liqueur. Don’t bother to save room for dessert. You already had it.
Blue Crabs. Redfish. The Purple Drank. New Orleans is nothing if not colorful. This adult slushy can be experienced at Jean Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop, Maison Bourbon Jazz Club and My Bar @ 635. The recipe is secret which makes it even more intriguing.
Originally created by Bar Chef Lu Brow, formerly of Café Adelaide and the Swizzle Stick Bar, this drink is a French Quarter favorite. All you need is Jimador reposado tequila, Solerno Blood Orange liqueur, lime, house made pomegranate syrup, and a pair of sunglasses (this drink is so bright, you’re going to need shades.)
This elegant yet sexy cocktail, garnished with a “look at me” grapefruit flower, is enjoyed every day at the Royal Bar. Its lovely gin base when accompanied by a couple of unexpected cordials results in a sophisticated, slightly floral taste. Creativity like this explains how this little bar came in as the #3 Hotel Bar in New Orleans in the Big Easy Awards. Congratulations to Bar Manager Joshua Daly and the team at the Royal Bar!
Since the 1940s, Napoleon House has been thee place to grab a Pimm’s Cup in America. This light, cool drink has low alcohol content, which makes it the ideal cooler-downer on a hot New Orleans day. Napoleon House sells more Pimm’s Cups than anyone in the country - around 58,000 a year. Save that little piece of trivia for the guy sitting next to you at the bar.
For 11+ years, Mixologist Mandy Underwood has been serving up creativity in the Brewhouse bar. Her Pilscup is a beer-filled salute to the famous Pimm's Cup (see below), made with cucumbers and woodruff mixed with lemonade pilsner and Dripping Springs Artisan Gin. Best when enjoyed on the Brewhouse balcony.
Jules Alciatore, the son of Antoine’s founder, created Café Brulot Diabolique (Devilishly Burned Coffee) in the late 1880s. They flame this hot spiced coffee with brandy right at your table. Unless you have experience as a Mardi Gras flambeaux, do not try this at home!
This tall, cool one from one of the top restaurants in the world is comprised of house-infused lavender and lemongrass vodka with house-made agave sour and soda. It’s refreshing and light with just enough kick. Best of all, this drink is approved by Eat Fit Nola and that makes it even cooler.
What could be more wonderful, we ask you, than waking up to a Caribbean Milk Punch, Brennan’s tip of the panama hat to the region that has inspired so much of New Orleans’ cuisine? This 70-year-old concoction features Mt. Gay "Black Barrel" Rum, Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Heavy Cream, Vanilla Bean and Nutmeg. It’s guaranteed to get those eyes open so you’ll truly enjoy your Breakfast at Brennan’s.
Tujague’s co-owner Philibert Guichet had the world seeing green when he entered his recipe for a drink that would soon be known as the Grasshopper in a 1918 cocktail competition in New York. While the Grasshopper only came in second place, it’s first in the heart of many New Orleanians who enjoy sipping the frothy minty drink in Tujague’s famous bar. You can’t say you know New Orleans cocktails if you’ve never had a grasshopper at Tujague’s.
Felix’s is famous for more than oysters – their Deluxe Bloody Mary is worth texting home about. Bar Manager Chelsea Chaisson and staff start with Absolut Peppar and their house-made Bloody Mary Mix in a spiced rim glass. And here’s the part we like: they serve it with spiced beans, olives, celery, a boiled shrimp, one raw oyster on the half shell and a slice of lemon. Felix’s sold close to 15,000 of these babies last year. Who wants one?
This just in: Not all daiquiris come in Styrofoam with a piece of tape over the straw hole. Red Fish Grill, located on the first block of Bourbon Street, features three seasonal hand-shaken daiquiris made with natural fruit juices and house-made syrups. These fresh versions of the Bourbon Street staple are only $5 during happy hour. We’re going!
While Gordon Biersch is famous for beer, they don’t stop there. Their Signature Cucumber & Basil Collins, their take on the Pimm’s Cup, is made with Effen Cucumber, Fresh Cucumber, Basil, Fresh Lime Juice. At only 170 calories, we say go for it!
DYK that the Ralph’s on the Park building was once the concession stand for City Park? Inspired by their neighbors across the street, the Oak Fashioned is an ode to the classic Old Fashioned cocktail with a twist. Each glass is smoked with oak branches from the park which gives it a rich taste that pairs well with bourbon, sweet Luxardo cherry and orange. It’s nummy.