The Official Tasting Guide of New Orleans Original's Frozen Daiquiris
While it might technically be considered a cocktail, there's a particular icy treat this city is known for that has no “craft” involved with it whatsoever: the frozen daiquiri. Among the dozens of vendors offering NOLA’s favorite hooch squishy, there is one that many -- locals and visitors alike -- consider the best: New Orleans Original Daiquiris/Fat Tuesday. It houses such a library of ice-pimped flavors that if you can’t find it here, it’s probably not worth having. So we tried them all. Here are the results...
This very scientific and journalistically rigid taste-test was conducted at New Orleans Original Daiquiris. It has an excellent view of the streetcars, and plays '90s alt-rock the entire day. In fact, it would be very difficult to distinguish the shop as it is today from the way it was in, say, 1997, which is a joyful time warp. Others participated in the challenge with us, so their equally important reactions are thrown in, too.
Color: Exuberantly bright yellow
Tasting notes: Reactions from the bar included “Awesome-sauce!”, “I would absolutely drink an entire one of these,” and “It almost tastes like fresh fruit!” Simple and wonderful, a total home run.
"I think drinking actual swamp water would be preferable."
Color: Radioactive green
Tasting notes: Horrible, sickly sweet with lime notes. “It tastes like frozen, melted lime candy. I think drinking actual swamp water would be preferable.” Also, “THIS is why alligators are so ornery!”
Tasting notes: Made with Aqui Vamos tequila, this frozen marg is on the sweeter side of the margarita spectrum, but not enough to make it distasteful. There is a distinctly artificial quality about it. Said one, “It definitely tastes like a margarita, just not a great margarita.”
Flavor: Piña Colada
Tasting notes: It tastes like a piña colada, only stronger (151-proof rum will do that). “Tastes fine for now, but also like something bad will happen to you later.” Said another, “I love this.” This flavor was strongly divisive.
Tasting notes: A favorite for those with a sweet tooth, this version contains both Cafe Aztec and Everclear. Overheard at the bar, “All I’m saying is, I don’t want to get diabetes EVERY TIME I get a daiquiri.” Enough said.
Flavor: Amaretto Pineapple
Color: Dark yellow
Tasting notes: Funky and sweet, but weirdly musty, as well. A combination that would work best with fresh fruit, but not terrible in daiquiri form.
“It would make The Dude cry into his bathrobe."
Flavor: White Russian
Color: Dirty white
Tasting notes: The beloved combination of vodka, coffee liqueur, and milk did not fare well with the tasting panel here. “Just... no,” one said. “It would make The Dude cry into his bathrobe. It makes me sad.”
Flavor: Virgin Strawberry
Color: Vibrant red
Tasting notes: This one is absolutely refreshing, probably because it contains exactly zero booze to lend to the frozen daiq’s distinctive “gasoline” aftertaste. Totally delicious, and totally no fun at all.
Flavor: Peachtree Bellini
Tasting notes: “Crazy peachy!” said one of our group, “but surprisingly not overly sweet. You know... for a daiquiri.” If you like peach schnapps (like Elaine from Seinfeld), this is the daiquiri for you.
Flavor: Spiked lemonade
Tasting notes: Ever spike up your cold lemonade with high-proof booze (specifically Ron Pontalba 151-proof rum) on a hot day? This is exactly what that tastes like. “It’s not my favorite lemonade,” said one, “but you know, it’s fine.”
Flavor: Strawberry (non-virgin)
Color: Bright red
Tasting notes: This is one of the quintessential daiquiri flavors, if not the quintessential daiquiri flavor. As for this one, some considered the virgin option to actually be tastier. “Is it too sweet, or too boozy? I can’t tell, but something is definitely throwing off the refreshing quality of the strawberry here.”
“This is what an unguarded 16-year-old would do with their parents’ liquor cabinet, trying to make a lot of hard liquor taste like not a lot of hard liquor.”
Flavor: House Special
Tasting notes: The House Special (at least in this location) is a combination of the store's three most potent recipes: Jungle Juice, 190 Octane, and Crawgator, and contains dark rum, Everclear, 151, and brandy. “It’s kind of like that thing when you’re a kid at Taco Bell and you put all the fountain sodas in one cup,” said one taster. “This is what an unguarded 16-year-old would do with their parents’ liquor cabinet, trying to make a lot of hard liquor taste like not a lot of hard liquor.”
Flavor: Mardi Gras mash
Tasting notes: This one tastes exactly like spiked Kool-Aid. “It’s like the Kool-Aid Man broke through the wall looking for his daiquiri,” noted one. “It tastes like summer day camp... with booze.”
Flavor: 190 Octane
Tasting notes: “Unidentifiable. Maybe juice? Maybe gasoline? Difficult to tell.” One thing is for certain, though, if you’re looking to get a wicked buzz and a brain freeze at the same time, this is one of the best bang-for-your-buck options.
Flavor: Jungle Juice
Tasting notes: Yet another of the classic daiquiri flavor options, and perfectly executed, it strikes a perfect balance of alcohol and fruit juice. “This tastes exactly like jungle juice,” said one. “It is exactly what it is supposed to be.”
"It’s like a blue freeze-pop mixed with wiper fluid."
Flavor: Hypnotic Chill
Tasting notes: “You remember those Rocket Pops you used to get from the ice cream man? Hypnotic Chill tastes exactly like the blue part of a Rocket Pop.” Another taster found the sweet/overproof combo disconcerting. “It’s like a blue freeze-pop mixed with wiper fluid,” he said.
Color: Blue? It looks blue.
Tasting notes: Distinctly tropical, though perhaps too sweet for some. It has absolutely nothing to do with either crawfish or alligators, or the unholy spawn of either, which makes the name a little confounding.
BONUS ROUND!Like many restaurants, there is a secret menu of flavor combos here that you can only order if you know the name (or if you tip the daiquiri-tenders well). So, naturally, we had to try a few of the more popular off-menu items. For science!
Flavor: Green-Eyed Monster/Incredible Hulk
Color: Dirty green
Tasting notes: The Incredible Hulk is a combination of 190 Octane and Hypnotic Chill. Add margarita to the mix, and you have a Green-Eyed Monster. “I find this oddly appealing,” said one. “I wanted to hate it, but I’m secretly in love with it. Like Miley Cyrus. Only green. And filled with alcohol.”
Flavor: Pink Panties
Color: Light pink
Tasting notes: This combo (which, by the way, is exceptionally fun to order by name -- “Can I taste the pink panties?”) includes Peachtree Bellini, Strawberry, and Piña Colada. It’s surprisingly light, with tropical fruit notes. “Nicely balanced, like a light fruit cup.”
“This tastes like being murdered by a Jolly Rancher."
Color: ? (Note: at this point, judgment and discretion had become cloudy.)
Tasting notes: If you thought the House Special had a lot of hooch in it, you haven’t met the aptly named Motherf**ker. Order it aloud, by its name, and you’ll get a House Special with the added bonus of Hypnotic Chill. It is exceptionally sweet. “This tastes like being murdered by a Jolly Rancher,” said one. “I think I might go blind. It’s like what my great grandpappy would make in his still if he had access to the same ingredients.”
Flavor: Wedding Cake
Color: Dirty white
Tasting notes: A combination of Amaretto Pineapple and Piña Colada. “Shotgun wedding cake, is more like it,” one noted.
Flavor: Strawberry Shortcake
Tasting notes: “The booze makes it taste artificial. Like plastic strawberries. Like a strawberry cartoon.” Which is perfectly fair, seeing as Strawberry Shortcake was, in fact, a cartoon. So the daiquiri team definitely gets points for accuracy here.
Flavor: Soulja Slim
Color: Maybe orange-ish?
Tasting notes: Combining 190 Octane, Hypnotic Chill, and Jungle Juice gives you the Soulja Slim, named after the late New Orleans-born rapper. “It tastes like bubblegum soaked in rum. So... not bad!”
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