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.
'sazerac' on Serious Eats
A few weeks back I was sitting at the Anvil Bar in Houston, picking at a few well-seasoned, tender lamb meatballs and sipping on a Sazerac—my drink of choice whenever I check out a new craft cocktail bar. It's my yardstick. One I'm intimately familiar with. A classic drink simple enough that any bartender should have its recipe down to muscle memory, but complex enough that the difference between a perfect one and a just ok one comes down to the fine points of finesse.
The purpose of the rinse is to impart the taste of a strongly flavored ingredient to a cocktail, without that ingredient overpowering the rest of the drink. The Sazerac is probably the best-known cocktail to feature a rinse, with its traditional wash of absinthe (or pastis, in the decades before absinthe's return to the United States).
If you can't make it to Bourbon Street this year, you can still celebrate Mardi Gras at home. Here are nine New Orleans cocktails to mix up for Fat Tuesday (and any day you want to drink something delicious.)