New Orleans Cocktails
Words by Simon Difford
New Orleans is the spiritual home of the cocktail, and its history is intertwined with grand saloons, fine drinks and jazz. The Ramos Gin Fizz and the Sazerac were born here, as was Ernest Beaumont-Gantt, who would become Donn Beach and originate Tiki culture. People have devoted whole books to the subject of New Orleans drinks but follows the best-known cocktails to have originated in the city.
Origin:Created by Cayetano Ferrer at Aleix's Coffee House, which he renamed The Absinthe Room in 1874. Today the establishment is fittingly known as the Old Absinthe House.
With: Absinthe, anisette liqueur, chilled water and sugar syrup.
We say: Aniseed and the fire of absinthe moderated by sugar and ice but still a dangerous combination.
Origin:A vintage New Orleans favourite. Also spelt 'Suissesse' and sometimes made with absinthe, vermouth, sugar, crème de menthe and egg white shaken and topped with sparkling water.
With: Absinthe, almond syrup, egg white, milk and single cream.
We say: Absinthe smoothed with cream and sweet almond.
Origin:Created in the 1840s-50s by Joseph Santina at the Jewel of the South, Gravier Street.
With: Cognac, triple sec, maraschino liqueur, lemon juice, sugar syrup, Angostura Aromatic Bitters and chilled water.
We say: This old classic zings with fresh lemon and is beautifully balanced by the cognac base.
Brandy Milk Punch
Origin: A classic which was popular during America's Prohibition era and dates back to colonial times.
With: Cognac, milk, sugar syrup and vanilla extract
We say: This traditional New Orleans hangover cure beats your bog-standard vanilla milkshake.
De La Louisiane #1
Origin:The signature cocktail of Crescent City's Restaurant de la Louisiane, which opened in 1881. See also
With: Bourbon, Benedictine, Angostura Aromatic Bitters and chilled water.
We say: This De La Louisiane is delicious whiskey with hints of honey and spice.
Origin:Created at Tujague's Bar, the second oldest restaurant in New Orleans, which Guillaume Tujague opened in 1856. Some time before he died in 1912, he sold the restaurant to Philibert Guichet, who won second prize in a prestigious New York cocktail competition with this drink.
With: Menthe liqueur, cacao liqueur, single cream and milk.
We say: It's hard not to like this creamy, slightly sweet minty after dinner treat.
Origin:Named after the shape of a hurricane lamp and served in the tall, shapely glass of the same name. This is actually thought to have originated in 1939 at The Hurricane Bar, New York City, but owes its fame to Pat O'Brien's in New Orleans.
With: White rum, Navy proof rum, orange juice, pineapple juice, lime juice, sugar syrup and lime cordial.
We say: A strong, tangy, refreshing drink packed with fruit and laced with rum.
Jean Lafitte Cocktail
Origin:A New Orleans classic named after the infamous privateer and hero of the battle of New Orleans.
With: Rum, absinthe, triple sec, sugar syrup, egg yolk and Peychaud's Aromatic Bitters.
We say: Not dissimilar to spicy, fortified advocaat.
Ramos Gin Fizz
Origin:Created in 1888 by Henry C. Ramos when he opened his Imperial Cabinet Bar. The recipe was kept secret until the onset of Prohibition when his brother, Charles Henry Ramos, published it in a full-page advertisement. Since 1935, the Roosevelt Hotel (now named The Fairmont), New Orleans, has held the trademark on the name Ramos Gin Fizz.
With: Gin, lemon juice, lime juice, sugar syrup, orange flower water, vanilla extract, egg white, single cream and soda.
We say: One of the great classic cocktails. The perfect balance of sweet and sour is enhanced by the incredibly smooth, almost fluffy mouthfeel.
Origin:This classic New Orleans cocktail takes its name from Count Louis Philippe Joseph de Roffignac, mayor between 1820 and 1828. Roffignac is noted for introducing street lights to the city and laying cobblestones on the roads in the French Quarter.
With: Cognac, raspberry liqueur and soda.
We say: This bright red, fruity drink is simplest moreish.
Origin:Believed to be the first vodka-based cocktail t appear in print, the Russian Cocktail is thought to originally come from the St. Charles Hotel in New Orleans.
With: Vodka, cherry liqueur and eaux-de-vie.
We say: Sweet brandy meets dry cherry eau-de-vie in this serious vodka laced cocktail.
Origin: Created in 1858 by Leon Lamothe at the Sazerac Coffee House at 13 Exchange Alley. The bar was owned by John B. Schiller, who was also the local agent for a French cognac company called Sazerac-du-Forge et Fils of Limoges (of which the drink was originally made). Today the name Sazerac is owned by the Sazerac Company, who license it to the Sazerac Bar at the Fairmont Hotel, New Orleans.
With: Absinthe, chilled water, cognac, rye whisky, bourbon, sugar syrup, Peychaud's Aromatic Bitters and Angostura Aromatic Bitters.
We say: If you are concerned about chucking expensive absinthe down the drain then consider straining into a shot glass and serve on the side. The five to one proportion used to rinse the glass produces a tasty chaser.
Origin:Created in 1938 by Walter Bergeron, the head bartender at what is now the Carousel bar at the Monteleone Hotel, New Orleans. Pronounced 'Voo-Ka-Ray', it is named after the French term for the city's French Quarter and literally translates as 'old square'.
With: Bourbon, cognac, Benedictine, sweet vermouth, Angostura Aromatic Bitters and Peychaud's Aromatic Bitters.
We say: Like an ultra-smooth and complex Sweet Manhattan served on the rocks.