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12 Must-Try New Orleans Cocktails

New Orleans cocktails are like a spirited symphony of flavors, blending the city’s rich cultural heritage with a splash of boozy creativity. Whether you’re sipping a cocktail on a sultry evening in the French Quarter or enjoying a leisurely brunch in the Garden District, these drinks embody the soul of the Big Easy. From the iconic Sazerac to the vibrant Hurricane, New Orleans cocktails are a celebration in a glass, perfect for anyone who loves a little zest in their libations.

If you’re a fan of bold, complex flavors and a touch of Southern charm, these cocktails are sure to tantalize your taste buds and transport you to the lively streets of NOLA. So, gather your friends, put on some jazz, and get ready to imbibe in the spirited essence of New Orleans through its delightful cocktail creations.

The Hurricane

hurricane cocktail with ingredients in the background

The Hurricane is a classic, refreshing cocktail with Prohibition-era origins. You’ll need Jamaican rum, passion fruit juice, and lemon juice for this sweet red drink. There are a lot of myths surrounding this cocktail, but one thing I know for sure is that this tropical beverage always starts a party on the right foot.


Sazerac

a glass of Sazerac cocktail with ingredients as background

The most iconic of New Orleans cocktails, the Sazerac is rye whiskey stirred with a muddled bitters-soaked sugar cube and poured into a glass rinsed with absinthe or anise liqueur. While the recipe sounds like a magic spell, it isn’t hard, doesn’t require many ingredients, and will make you feel like a rock star.


Vieux Carre

Vieux Carre Cocktail

The Vieux Carre, or “Old Neighborhood,” refers to the French Quarter of New Orleans, and the recipe for this one reflects the city’s cultural diversity. The blend of flavors pulls from Italian, French, Caribbean, and American influences. This complex, delicious cocktail requires rye whiskey, cognac, sweet vermouth, Benedictine, Angostura bitters, and Peychaud’s bitters. 


Ramos Gin Fizz

Frothy Ramos Gin Fizz

Henry Charles “Carl” Ramos invented the tart, sweet Ramos Gin Fizz in 1888. The cocktails are sweet, tart, creamy, and citrusy. You’ll need gin, typically London Dry, heavy cream, orange flower water, and an egg white for this one. To get the perfect foam texture, you’ll first need to shake it for several seconds before adding the ice and shaking some more!


Bourbon Milk Punch

Homemade Frozen Bourbon Milk Punch with Cinnamon and Nutmeg

This single-serving Bourbon Milk Punch recipe is also excellent for a party as an alternative to egg nog. You just need bourbon, whole milk, or any milk or milk substitute, vanilla extract, sugar, and fresh nutmeg. Shake, stir, or even blend the Bourbon Milk Punch. Use hot milk if you want something warm for a bitterly cold night. 


Mint Julep

Mint Julep Cocktail Recipe

What’s more southern than a Mint Julep in a Julep cup? This refreshing and refined cocktail is a Kentucky Derby favorite and an excellent sipper on a hot, humid day. All you need for this one is mint leaves muddled in simple syrup, bourbon, and crushed ice. The cooling Mint Julep is also the perfect indulgence for a cookout or a dinner party.


Brandy Crusta

Boozy Brandy Crusta Cocktail with Sugar and Lemon

While the name might not sound appealing, the sugar-crusted coupe glass the Brandy Crusta is served in sure is. This sweet tropical cocktail includes brandy, Curacao, maraschino liqueur, and Angostura Bitters. I love serving this one for a fun special event like a birthday party or bridal shower. 


Absinthe Frappe

Absinthe Frappe
source: neworleans.com

Absinthe was illegal because the wormwood was thought to cause hallucinations or death. This green liquor is safe, and this simple and easy Absinthe Frappe is a great place to start. Because absinthe is made from fennel and anise, it has an herbal, black licorice flavor, which some love and some do not. If you’re serious about the New Orleans experience, though, it’s something you have to try. 


Cafe Brulot

Cafe Brulot
source: punchdrink.com

The flaming coffee cocktail, Cafe Brulot is a New Orleans dessert favorite that includes Courvoisier, cherry brandy, Bacardi 151, cloves, orange zest, and strong hickory flavored coffee, like that found at the famous Cafe Du Monde. The Cafe Brulot is a warming, delicious, spicy experience, but making it at home is for the brave as it is a long and involved process that includes heating the beverage over an open flame. 


Pimm’s Cup

pimms cup

Pimm’s Cup is an easy-to-prepare cocktail made from mid-proof gin, ginger beer, lemon juice, and your fruit of choice. It’s refreshing and bubbly, full of warming spice and refreshing fruit flavors. Because it’s made with a mid-proof gin, it’s great to serve for an all-day gathering or event. 


French 75

french 75 cocktail

The French 75, on the other hand, is a champagne cocktail with high alcohol content. The cocktail features gin or cognac, champagne, lemon juice, and simple syrup. The French 75 is sophisticated, zesty, citrusy, and mouth-watering. It’s a perfect accompaniment to a celebration. It also lends itself to many variations and many flavor profile possibilities.


Hand Grenade

Hand Grenade
source: drinklab.org

The Hand Grenade is a fruity flavor explosion for your mouth. The name of this cocktail puts it in the novelty category, but the vodka, white rum, gin, melon liqueur, grain alcohol, and pineapple juice pack some serious flavor and strength. Even if you’re stuck at home, you can still party Maris Gras style with the Hand Grenade. Pick up some plastic beads, call over some friends, and you’re good to go!


A Vieux Carre cocktail in a classic rocks glass, elegantly placed on a polished wooden bar counter. The cocktail has a deep amber color, indicative of its mix of whiskey, cognac, and sweet vermouth, with a slight reddish hue. A twist of lemon peel and a classic cherry garnish the drink, adding to its sophisticated presentation. The glass is heavy and traditional, fitting the cocktail's classic profile. The background showcases a refined bar setting, with shelves of premium spirits and a soft, warm glow from overhead lighting, creating an atmosphere of luxury and historical charm, typical of where the Vieux Carre cocktail originated.

12 New Orleans Cocktail Recipes

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Celebrate the flavors of New Orleans with these delicious and iconic cocktails.

Instructions

  1. Pick your favorite recipe
  2. Gather all the needed ingredients
  3. Prep a new orleans cocktail in less than 5 minutes

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12 Must-Try New Orleans Cocktails
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Paul Kushner

Written by Paul Kushner

Founder and CEO of MyBartender. Graduated from Penn State University. He always had a deep interest in the restaurant and bar industry. His restaurant experience began in 1997 at the age of 14 as a bus boy. By the time he turned 17 he was serving tables, and by 19 he was bartending/bar managing 6-7 nights a week.

In 2012, after a decade and a half of learning all facets of the industry, Paul opened his first restaurant/bar. In 2015, a second location followed, the latter being featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

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counter bar with brands of vodka and liquors on the top and back shelf

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A Negroni cocktail in an elegant old-fashioned glass, neatly placed on a sophisticated bar counter. The cocktail displays a rich, vibrant red-orange color, characteristic of the classic mix of gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth. A thin slice of orange or a twist of orange peel garnishes the drink, adding a citrusy accent. The glass is simple yet stylish, perfectly complementing the drink's bold and bitter profile. The background features an upscale bar environment with plush seating, mood lighting, and an array of high-end spirits on display, creating an ambiance of refined leisure and timeless elegance.

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