A Carousel of New Orleans Cocktails

Straight Up Cocktails and Spirits

The Sazerac. The Ramos Gin Fizz. The Hurricane. The Vieux Carré. I'm reporting on the road this week from the birthplace of the American cocktail, New Orleans. I'm here for a 5-day international spirits festival, Tales of the Cocktail, and have been enjoying sampling some of the city's old-time classics, as well as some more modern creations.

While I'm still just getting my bearings at the conference - and in the city - I'd like to share a few of my experiences so far:

  • A visit to Napoleon House, a 200-year old cafe in the French Quarter. Named for the French emperor and owned by an Italian family since 1914, the house's specialty cocktail is a British classic: the Pimm's Cup. (The bartender told me the drink's so popular there that he routinely goes through 14 bottles serving Sunday brunch!)
  • A visit to the Absinthe Museum of America. A tiny gem of a museum with antique absinthe spoons, bottles, posters, postcards and other emphemera on well-curated display.
  • A drink at the storied Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone. The bar rotates slowly (15 minutes for a full turn) offering an ever-changing view of the room. Specialty of the house? The Vieux Carré (Benedictine, cognac, rye, sweet vermouth, and bitters).
  • And to provide a little necessary ballast for all this imbibing? Beignets, po boys, gumbo, and grilled redfish.

Nora Maynard is a longtime home mixologist and an occasional instructor at NYC’s Astor Center. She is a contributor to The Business of Food: Encyclopedia of the Food and Drink Industries and is the recipient of the American Egg Board Fellowship in culinary writing at the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow. She previously covered food and drink in film at The Kitchn in her weekly column, The Celluloid Pantry.

Related: Traveling Inspiration: Yuzu Mojito from Tokyo

(Images: Nora Maynard)

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Drinks, Straight Up Cocktails & Spirits

Nora Maynard is a freelance writer based in New York City. Her recent work has appeared in Salon, Drunken Boat, and The Millions. She recently completed her ninth marathon and her first novel, Burnt Hill Road. Nora wrote for The Kitchn from 2006 to 2011.

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