Craft Cocktails Near Me: Most Creative Drink Menus In New Orleans
By Jeffery Smith, Jr.
One thing New Orleans does right is its drinks. Whether you are going for a weekend of partying on Bourbon Street or having more of a fine dining experience you are sure to see some must-have craft cocktails during your stay. Check out these NOLA classics and favorites that come highly recommended.
Let’s talk about a sneak attack. These seemingly harmless drinks pack a big punch (when made properly). Tropical Isle is the stop for this drink, made with a melon liqueur to give it a sweet taste I’m not sure what else is packed into this delicious treat as it is only licensed to five nightclubs bars in the New Orleans French Quarter.
Of course, if you are in New Orleans you are bound to end up on the infamous Bourbon Street. While the number of bars and drinks are plentiful, one stop you should add to your list is Pat O’Brien’s for a Hurricane. O’Brien’s originated the hurricane after having an overstock of rum post-prohibition with the simple ingredients passionfruit syrup, lemon, and dark Jamaican Rum. Today the hurricane is made with a few extra ingredients but still a classic when in New Orleans.
Known as the official cocktail of New Orleans if you are a whiskey drinker you are in luck. Sazerac contains Herbsaint (or Absinthe), simple syrup, Peychaud’s bitters, and rye whiskey. What better place to try Sazerac than the Sazerac Bar at the Roosevelt Hotel in the Central Business District.
Brandy Milk Punch
Here’s an interesting cocktail to have with your Sunday brunch. This indulgent frothy libation is made with Cognac, milk, simple syrup and nutmeg or vanilla extract. Both sweet and strong a brandy milk punch will hold its own against any breakfast mimosa or bloody mary. Head over to Brennan’s where they claim to have perfected the recipe for this.
Sometimes your curiosity can lead you to something amazing. That’s exactly what happened to me while browsing the cocktail menu at Luke in New Orleans. Their menu infuses French and German flare into traditional Creole style dishes, but the eye-catching moment for me was when looking at the cocktail menu and I spotted the French 75. Made with cognac, lemon and champagne this is a refreshing drink to have with breakfast/brunch or even with dinner.
The best way to describe this drink unanimously has been as a heavily spiked fruit punch. You can get one of these at the famous Port of Call where they are known for their burgers but the drinks will also have you coming back for more.
Thai Iced Tea Daiquiri
The daiquiri served in New Orleans could be on a list all of their own. From a traditional strawberry to pina colada to the call a cab, these drinks are staples in bars and restaurants all up and through the bayou. Now, if you want to step up your daiquiri game you should swing by Gene’s on Elysian Fields and try a Thai Iced Tea daiquiri. These are served with a swirl of sweetened condensed milk to give it that extra special taste. Sounds a little weird but its a favorite among locals.
Ramos Gin Fizz
Here is a NOLA classic perfect for summer. The Ramos Gin Fizz is made with gin, heavy cream, lemon, lime, simple syrup, egg white and orange flower water. It takes a true mixologist to make this perfect concoction and for that, you should try one at Tujague’s in the Quarter. Ramos Gin Fizz is a perfect drink when sitting out on a rooftop patio or poolside.
Pimm’s is a British gin-based liqueur used to concoct this cocktail. Grab one at Napoleon House or get one made by one of NOLA’s famous bartenders, Chris McMillan, at Kingfish for the perfect mix.
A perfect blend of gin, orange, and candied ginger is in the makings of this craft cocktail also found at Kingfish by the one and only Chris McMillan. This is a drink created by Chris himself so not a typical New Orleans classic but a great cocktail crafted by one of New Orleans own.
Revel Cafe and Bar is said to have the perfect Mint Julep on the menu. The most important thing to make this drink is the fresh mint. It also uses sugar or syrup and bourbon making it the perfect drink with the right about of southern charm.
What’s one of your favorite New Orleans craft cocktails?