NOLA Cocktails Guide

March 2, 2018 by Ashlee

It’s sweet, boozy, vermilion and comes in a souvenir glass – The original Pat O’Brien’s Hurricane. This is certainly the most famous NOLA cocktail. You don’t have to speak French to pronounce it, and someone is bound to know of someone who has had one too many and lived to tell the tale. So, with all of this hype, we just had to try it – because that’s what we do.

Two Hurricanes at Pat O'Brien's

Pat O’Brien’s exceeded expectations. With a 21 and up area placed in an enchanting courtyard, you no longer feel that you are where most storied hangovers are born. Fun and lively, to be sure (you are still in NOLA) but with a place to sit, a fountain, and the world’s largest pigeons. We were pleasantly surprised at the ambiance and service. Served in a large souvenir glass ($3 can be refunded if you don’t want to take it home), the sweet and potent cocktails do pack a sneaky punch (pun intended). We recommend sticking to one while taking a rest before continuing your discoveries. It’s easy to order one more…but I would resist unless you want the spins.

Traditional Hurricane Recipe:

  • 2 oz light rum
  • 2 oz dark rum
  • 2 oz passion fruit juice
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • ½ oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon simple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon grenadine


Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and strain into a Hurricane glass filled with ice. Garnish with a cherry and an orange slice.

With the hurricane under our belts, we move on to more Gatsby-like fare that is surprisingly the true cocktail trend of New Orleans. If we could travel back in time, I’m sure we would. In fact, that’s one of the great feelings this city surrounds you with. Yes, obviously you are in another place, but many parts appear untouched by time. Just crossing the street can move you from 1800s to prohibition days of the early 20th Century. And it’s this time period where New Orleans cocktail culture comes alive.

The Sazerac and Vieux Carré

These drinks are to be sipped and savored – not thrown back or sucked through a twisty glow-in-the-dark straw. Both are in the rye whisky category; we would say these are strong and “grown up”. Classy, sophisticated, and a little mysterious, wait – is this a singles ad? If you would like to flirt with one of these or even spend the evening, we won’t judge.

Our favorite place to meet a Sazerac:

Tujague’s – Historic charm – check.  Huge ornate mirror shipped from Paris in 1856 – check.  Café tables perfect for losing track of time – check. Order, sip, and marvel.


  • Absinthe
  • 1 sugar cube
  • 3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • 2oz Rye Whisky


Rinse an old fashioned glass with absinthe, discarding excess.

Using a mixing glass, muddle sugar and bitters, add rye, fill with ice and stir.

Strain into prepared old fashioned glass. Garnish with lemon twist.

Vieux Carré

Last but not least, and definitely on a pedestal, the Vieux Carré. French meaning “Old Square”, this is THE cocktail that defines French Quarter cocktails (or does the quarter define it…?) Anyway, this is hands down our favorite, and Goldie Locks’ favorite too. Not too sweet, not too showy. Not too bitter, not too bold. Just right. This is the one to take home to meet mom.

Best place to meet a Vieux Carré:

Carousel Bar – Grab a spot on this carousel of cocktail delights and hold on! Okay, it doesn’t move that fast. But it does move, adding a certain je ne sais quoi vibe to this bar. We were lucky enough to grab seats with relative ease. Be prepared to wait a bit if you show up at prime time. This bar is worth the extra effort required to hunt a seat. You won’t want to give up your newly acquired territory after one. Have a seat, stay a while.


  • 3/4oz Rye Whisky
  • 3/4oz Cognac
  • 3/4oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 1 teaspoon Benedictine Liqueur
  • 1 dash Peychaud’s Bitters
  • 1 dash Angostura Bitters
  • Maraschino cherry for garnish


Mix all ingredients into a mixing glass with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass,  or over ice if you prefer. Garnish with cherry.