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. Here are 6 essential stops on your Big Easy classic cocktail tour.
'Louisiana' on Serious Eats
It says something about the talents and reputation of Neal Bodenheimer, Kirk Estopinal, and Matthew Kohnke— best known for Cure in New Orleans—that they can open a bar entirely dedicated to 19th-century cocktails and have it be a runaway success. Cobblers and sherry cocktails and milk punches—"These ancient forms of drinks seem sort of bizarre to us," Kirk Estopinal told me, "but that's why we find them fascinating." We asked Estopinal to show us three of his favorite drinks right now; here's what he poured us.
Now in its seventh year, Tales of the Cocktail attracts thousands of spirits-and-cocktails devotees to New Orleans each summer, where they spend the better part of a week sipping their way through liquid history.
Many people may consider Bloody Marys and mimosas de rigeur for weekend brunches, but the world of breakfast cocktails is much bigger than most may think. As David Wondrich points out, many nineteenth-century cocktails were designed to be consumed well before the sun was over the yardarm, and were utilized to help the drinker brace up during the morning after a long night.
Tales of the Cocktail is poised to have its biggest showing ever: the five days of sessions, dinners, and parties are expected to draw thousands of people to the city, and its opening session this afternoon will celebrate the recent selection of the Sazerac as the official cocktail of New Orleans.