New Orleans has a reputation for being a town where drinking is not only accepted but encouraged, to put it mildly. But aside from the thousands of gallons of cheap beer and tacky, fluorescent drinks sold on Bourbon Street, New Orleans has a cocktail culture that's well over a century old.
If you've come to New Orleans to explore, your crawl should include a few classic cocktails: the Sazerac, the Vieux Carré, Milk Punch, and yes, the Hurricane. Some of these drinks are original to New Orleans and have spread outward from here; some—like the Pimm's Cup—are transplants that have been welcomed and found a new home. Some of these cocktails have a long history and tradition at one venue, and often the "original" bar is indeed the best place to belly up, but occasionally it's worth drinking outside the box. The Big Easy is currently experiencing a boom in craft cocktail culture, and some of these new establishments have embraced the old guard of drinks, serving the classics with care and respect—plus the occasional nip-and-tuck.
About the Author: Kevin O'Mara is a photographer and cocktail enthusiast who has lived in New Orleans since 2001.
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