Hyper-savory cocktails are one of the drinks world’s hottest trends right now, and we’re not talking your typical dirty martini. These drinks taste like dinner, with flavors like bell pepper, mushroom, beets, and even mozzarella — and in New Orleans, they may even manifest as a cocktail that shares the same flavor profile as gumbo. Here, Eater New Orleans has rounded up four spots to try savory sips right here in town: salty, sometimes meaty, and all-around distinct drinks for the piquant-inclined.
3200 Burgundy Street, Bywater
Bar Brine has been putting out some of the most creative cocktails in New Orleans since it opened on a Bywater corner in late 2021. On the menu right now is the For Whom the Bell Peppers, a savory delight made with red bell pepper-infused vodka, brine built with red pepper, green onion, and celery top, Piment d’Espelette, and citric acid. It’s a freezer martini served straight up in a coup created by Adam Orzechowski; the bar program at Sneaky Pickle + Bar Brine is led by Luke Tabor.
544 Carondelet Street, CBD
Of course this over-the-top cool watering hole in the Maison de la Luz lobby is up on the savory cocktail trend, and there’s even a non-alcoholic option. Try the Somewhere That’s Green, combining bell pepper-infused sotol (a spirit made from a type of shrub found in the Chihuahuan desert), elote liqueur, and cilantro tincture served in a lowball glass. For a non-alcoholic taste of savory goodness, get the Heroine, made with Seedlip Garden, the brand’s herbiest nonalcoholic spirit; gumbo bitters; brine; and topped with a cocktail onion served straight up. They were created by Bar Marilou bartenders Carly Lacoste and Lindsey Hawes, respectively.
529 St Ann Street, French Quarter
This cocktail bar in the heart of the French Quarter from the folks that now run Columns is arguably New Orleans’s hottest new drinks destination. Fives has a number of savory options, including the Mama Don’t Smoke with aged rum, Amaro Ramazzotti, smoky Lapsang Souchong tea, and tobacco; the Gin Joint, with Chartreuse, celery, sage, and lemon; and the Columns Martini made with vodka, gin, dry vermouth, brine, and pickled vegetables.
4206 Magazine Street, Uptown
At the new restaurant from the team behind Turkey in the Wolf, drinks play a starring role, from ’80s martinis to inventive cocktails to fresh wines. The Robert is a mix of sherry, cognac, and mushroom; Eater’s Jaya Saxena describes the hay-colored, foam-topped drink as providing “an immediate earthy, meaty tang that was balanced with the sweetness of the sherry before it could feel like I was drinking stroganoff.” It was created by Carlos Quinonez, who leads the bar at Hungry Eyes.