Food & Drink

The eight essential New Orleans cocktails, and the best places to find them

Published On 08/23/2013 Published On 08/23/2013
Scott Gold
Flickr
Scott Gold
Flickr
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Scott Gold
Flickr
Flickr
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1. Sazerac Bar 130 Roosevelt Way, New Orleans, LA 70112 (Central Business District)

Inside the swanky, lost-in-time Sazerac Bar, you could find yourself looking at all kinds of historical wonders: WPA-era murals by Paul Ninas, the 1878 Ascot Cup, and a bullet hole that erroneous lore credits to an assassination attempt on then-Senator Huey P. Long, who liked to sip Ramos Gin Fizzes at the bar. While you’re sipping your expertly made cocktail in the dark, well-appointed room, consider what you are not seeing: tourists in cargo shorts sipping watery beer. Even if some of your comrades in drink are tossing back domestic swill instead of, say, the bar’s namesake, the historic decor buffers it. It’s hard to imagine a prettier bar in New Orleans.

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2. Felipe's Taqueria 301 N Peters St (at Bienville), New Orleans, LA 70130 (French Quarter)

Serving authentic Mexican fare and Latin American craft cocktails, Felipe's Taqueria is a favorite spot amongst tourists and locals alike. This unassuming eatery serves amazing fresh burritos and tacos made from scratch, plus vegetarian options. The cocktail list is always expanding; from the Mezcal Flight to the El Presidente, all the drinks are hand-crafted with house-made liquors, bitters, and fresh fruit.

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3. Arnaud's French 75 Bar 813 Bienville St, New Orleans, LA 70112 (French Quarter)

Originally designated as a "gentlemen only area" in NOLA's early days, this cocktail bar located within Arnaud's Restaurant features drinks like the Pisco Derby (that's pisco, lavender honey syrup, lime, and grapefruit) and bar snacks like Oysters en Brochette (translation: oysters wrapped with bacon and deep fried). You'll feel extra fancy having those cocktails and snacks served to you by bartenders clad in white tuxedos. In addition to more inventive drinks, you can't go wrong with the killer Old Fashioned or Sidecar either.

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4. Tujague's 823 Decatur St, New Orleans, 70116 (French Quarter)

Located in the heart of the French Quarter, Tujague's is the second oldest restaurant in NOLA, a fact evidenced by a timeless, extensive old-school menu that focuses around traditional Creole fare. The place also houses one of the most iconic bars in the country, and invented the minty post-dinner Grasshopper cocktail, which is delicious, and contains no actual grasshoppers.

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5. Broussard's Restaurant & Courtyard 819 Conti St, New Orleans, LA 70112 (French Quarter)

Broussard’s offers a slightly different interpretation of French-Creole cuisine than other illustrious New Orleans fine dining establishments: contemporary interpretations give traditional dishes a new lease on life. Sweet potatoes are whipped with ginger, fried chicken is glazed with red chili and perched on a sweet potato biscuit, and the chicken fricassee is flavored with truffle and artichokes. Broussard’s is also home to the Empire Bar, where mixologist Paul Gustings pours up his signature Ramos Gin Fizz.

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6. Napoleon House Bar & Cafe 500 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (French Quarter)

As if the beautifully aged, faded walls of this space weren't a giveaway, this family-owned creole spot is a classic New Orleans standby, offering the best muffaletta and Pimm's Cup in the city. Other remarkable dishes include gumbo and jambalaya, which you can enjoy in either the interior courtyard, or the historical bar room, whose Neapolitan portraits and gilded frames add to the classic dining experience.

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7. Kingfish 337 Chartres, New Orleans, LA 70130 (French Quarter)

Thibodaux native, Chef Nathan Richard, created a menu at the casual Kingfish restaurant that combines the Cajun reverence for honoring ingredients and culinary history with a sophisticated, often playful take on modern trends that excite visitors and natives alike. The plateau de fruits des mer is this spots take on a traditional meat charcuterie board, using local seafood to create all manner of fresh and cured sausages, terrines, and smoked items.

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8. St. Lawrence 219 N Peters St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (French Quarter)

Saint Lawrence is a late night restaurant, gastropub, and beer garden. This is the perfect spot to get some truly excellent locally and regionally sourced bar food, rotating local craft beers on tap, and frozen cocktails like Pimm's Cup daiquiris and Louisiana Muscadine White Sangria. Also noteworthy, there are some delicious desserts on the menu, with vegan and vegetarian options as well.

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9. Booty's Street Food 800 Louisa St, New Orleans, LA 70117 (Bywater)

Booty's serves up affordable street food from around the globe, concocts a variety of specialty cocktails, and brews Stumptown Coffee in a pleasant ambiance.

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10. Bourbon House 144 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (French Quarter)

Bourbon House is a prime exemplar of what NOLA's all about, cuisine wise-- it serves up fresh seasonal, seafood dishes, has a great oyster bar on hand, and is home to more kinds of bourbon than you ever knew existed. This place is legit. The New Orleans Bourbon Society was created there, and continues to meet to discuss bourbon, drink bourbon, and even eat bourbon-themed meals.

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11. Hotel Monteleone 214 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (French Quarter)

The 50-suite Hotel Monteleone's a 19th-century Royal St landmark. The suites are capped with a 24-hour fitness center, spa, and heated rooftop pool, and night-capped by the haunted lobby's historic revolving Carousel Bar.

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12. SoBou 310 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (French Quarter)

Located inside the W Hotel, SoBou is a spirited restaurant south of Bourbon St (hence the name) feels like a modern-day Creole saloon. The restaurant and lounge is known for its hand-crafted cocktails, and serves creative spins on traditional bar snacks like crispy pork skin and spicy beer nuts, as well as some heartier dishes. SoBou also has a beer garden with beer taps in the tables and self-serve wine machines.

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