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A Sazerac from the Sazerac Bar
Isabelle OHara/Shutterstock

20 Iconic New Orleans Cocktails and Where to Find Them

Where to get the best versions of iconic drinks (or drinks well on their way to becoming iconic) in New Orleans

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A Sazerac from the Sazerac Bar
| Isabelle OHara/Shutterstock

There’s no place more famous for its cocktails than New Orleans and no wonder. The story goes that it was invented here, along with a slew of iconic drinks that are synonymous with the New Orleans experience. It’s quite a list, from the Sazerac, to brandy milk punch, Pimms cup, the grasshopper, hurricane, and of course, the hand grenade.

Storied bars and restaurants are well known for their versions of these many classic drinks. And as cocktail history is embraced and informed by a new generation of mixologists, more bars are seeking to recreate classics as well as put their own stamp on the genre by creating proprietary cocktails of their own. Here now are 21 iconic New Orleans cocktails and where to find them.

*The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is here; dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers. Please be aware of changing local rules, and check individual restaurant websites for any additional restrictions such as mask requirements. Find a local vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Old Fashioned at Cure

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Cure isn’t just a bar, it’s a force, leading the way to transform Freret into a dining and entertainment destination and raising the craft cocktail bar for all. Farm to bar seasonal ingredients drive the bus here, with an ever-changing and evolving menu of new drinks to sample. The team also does a great job on the classics, and their Old Fashioned (and variations) showcases and simplifies the iconic cocktail. Try the extra baller O.F. with Wild Turkey Master’s Keep, demerara sugar, and two kinds of bitters.

The Twelve Mile Limit at Twelve Mile Limit

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In his new book Cocktail Dive Bar, T. Cole Newton explains that this vintage cocktail inspired the name of his bar. Twelve miles is the distance from the coast till reaching international waters, which figured prominently in the Prohibition era rum running racket. Twelve Mile Limit makes a dangerously drinkable cocktail with rum, whiskey, brandy, grenadine, and lemon juice.

A Sazerac at The Sazerac

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There are 100 places in Orleans parish where you can get a Sazerac (and probably a dozen where you can get a really good one). But this low-lit, throwback swanky bar in the Roosevelt Hotel is so devoted to the iconic New Orleans cocktail that it's named for it. The Sazerac Bar tops the list.

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The Bywater at Jewel of the South

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Chris Hannah’s drink list at Jewel is a wonder of global flavors and creative combinations in an inviting indoor outdoor garden setting. The Bywater is a gem for sure; Hannah conjured the powerful drink of rum, Averna, and green chartreuse in honor of New Orleans’s Caribbean-flavored Bywater neighborhood.

Bourbon Punch at Bourbon House

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Bourbon punch is a popular brunch drink alternative to the ubiquitous Bloody Mary, and the Dickie Brennan’s Bourbon House version is served with ice cream as an ingredient. There’s a coconut milk-forward vegan version too.

Nora McGunnigle/ENOLA

French 75 at The French 75 Bar

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The original version of this cocktail, for which the bar of Arnaud's is named, contains gin as its main ingredient. French 75 counters that the New Orleans version should have Cognac, since that's a French spirit and gin is not. You'll get it with Cognac here.

The Martinez at the Bombay Club

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This classic cocktail is believed to be the precursor to the modern martini. The version served at the Bombay Club, made with sweet vermouth, gin, and maraschino liqueur, is spot on. It's great to see an almost forgotten cocktail find a new home.

The Absinthe Frappe at The Old Absinthe House

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Created at the Old Absinthe House in the 1860s, this simple absinthe cocktail is as refreshing and flavorful as it ever was. In fact, the bar was known as the Absinthe Room after the cocktail was created, which eventually became the Old Absinthe House.

The Vieux Carre at the Carousel Bar

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The Monteleone Hotel’s revolving Carousel Bar offers a cocktail menu that might as well be a master class of iconic drinks. Most notably, the Vieux Carre was invented here back in the 1930s, combining whiskey, cognac, vermouth, Benedictine, and bitters and paying homage to the neighborhood from which it sprung.

Corpse Reviver No. 2 at Compère Lapin

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New Orleans debauchery can take its toll. If your hung-over corpse needs reviving, head to the bar at Compere Lapin, an oasis of sanity in a city where excess is the baseline. Chef Nina Compton’s terrific barkeeps shake up an exquisite balance of gin, Cointreau, Lillet blanc, citrus, and dash of absinthe. Popularized in the 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book by Harry Craddock, think of this classic cocktail as a lemon drop with a Ph.D. 

Ramos Gin Fizz at Bar Tonique

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This frothy and refreshing cocktail is all about the long game — it takes a significant shake to activate the frothy factor for the combo of egg whites, gin, orange flower water, sugar, and cream. They do a super job at the craft cocktail mecca Bar Tonique on the edge of the Quarter by Armstrong Park. Don’t order one if you’re in a hurry, the New Orleans-created cocktail needs time to percolate perfectly.

Cajun Bloody Mary at Brennan's

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Bloody Mary cocktails are starting to crash and burn under all the garnishes that restaurant places on them to make their stand out from the thousands of others available in the city. At the quintessential New Orleans fine-dining breakfast restaurant, the garnishes are kept to the classic New Orleans pickled okra and pickled green bean. Brennan’s mix is spicy and complex, and this deceptively simple version of the breakfast classic cocktail is a pleasure to drink any time of the day.

Cafe Brulot at Antoine's

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Antoine’s has been doing all kinds of things right for 180 years — and this flaming spiced coffee drink may just top the list. The fifth generation family owned grand dame off Bourbon offers diners a show with dinner, as waiters make cafe brulot in special copper cooking bowl and ladle, the smell of coffee, brandy and sparking citrus creating an irresistible after dinner treat.

Hand Grenade at Tropical Isle

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Although throwing back one (or more) hand grenades will surely lead to questionable decision making, the distinctively shaped plastic cups are ubiquitous on Bourbon Street. Tropical Isle put the drink on the map during the ill fated 1984 World’s Fair — the hand grenade was the fair’s biggest success.

Hurricane at Pat O'Brien's

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You can't argue with history. Even though you can get a hand-crafted, hand-muddled, boutique hurricane at classic bars including Lafitte’s, Pat O’s is where the magic was first made, and this is where the classic lives on in raging technicolor.

Shutterstock

Pimm's Cup at Napoleon House

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This cool, refreshing drink was made for the warm days and day drinking tendencies of New Orleans residents and visitors. The Napoleon House has served them for so long, that the drink is synonymous with the bar.

Nora McGunnigle/ENOLA

The Zombie at Beachbum Berry's Latitude 29

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It’s always a good time at Latitude 29, Jeff “Beachbum” Berry’s bar and eatery in the French Quarter. Berry has dedicated his life to recreating classic tiki recipes and concocting his own drinks that pay homage to the genre. The Zombie is the gold standard of tiki cocktails — go here to get a spot on version.

Grasshopper at Tujague’s

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Part dessert, part libation, the grasshopper was concocted for a 1918 drinks competition in New York by the second owner of Tujague’s when it was in its original location. In the past year the historic restaurant moved four blocks towards Canal, but the green drink remains the same — equal parts crème de menthe, crème de cacao, and heavy cream.

Floridita Daiquiri at Manolito

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The New Orleans-Cuba connection is in sharp relief at Manolito, another French Quarter cocktail haven from the James Beard Award winning Chris Hannah. All of the blended drinks are superb, as is the fum-fueled Flordita daiquiri invented at El Floridita bar in Havana by Constante Ribalaigua.

Frozen Irish Coffee at Molly's at the Market

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The frozen Irish coffee is a go-to hangover cure and cooling treat for wandering the Quarter on a steamy day. While the Erin Rose also serves a great version, the Monahans have put the drink on the map, serving it not only at Molly's at the Market but also Junction in the Bywater.

Old Fashioned at Cure

Cure isn’t just a bar, it’s a force, leading the way to transform Freret into a dining and entertainment destination and raising the craft cocktail bar for all. Farm to bar seasonal ingredients drive the bus here, with an ever-changing and evolving menu of new drinks to sample. The team also does a great job on the classics, and their Old Fashioned (and variations) showcases and simplifies the iconic cocktail. Try the extra baller O.F. with Wild Turkey Master’s Keep, demerara sugar, and two kinds of bitters.

The Twelve Mile Limit at Twelve Mile Limit

In his new book Cocktail Dive Bar, T. Cole Newton explains that this vintage cocktail inspired the name of his bar. Twelve miles is the distance from the coast till reaching international waters, which figured prominently in the Prohibition era rum running racket. Twelve Mile Limit makes a dangerously drinkable cocktail with rum, whiskey, brandy, grenadine, and lemon juice.

A Sazerac at The Sazerac

Shutterstock

There are 100 places in Orleans parish where you can get a Sazerac (and probably a dozen where you can get a really good one). But this low-lit, throwback swanky bar in the Roosevelt Hotel is so devoted to the iconic New Orleans cocktail that it's named for it. The Sazerac Bar tops the list.

Shutterstock

The Bywater at Jewel of the South

Chris Hannah’s drink list at Jewel is a wonder of global flavors and creative combinations in an inviting indoor outdoor garden setting. The Bywater is a gem for sure; Hannah conjured the powerful drink of rum, Averna, and green chartreuse in honor of New Orleans’s Caribbean-flavored Bywater neighborhood.

Bourbon Punch at Bourbon House

Nora McGunnigle/ENOLA

Bourbon punch is a popular brunch drink alternative to the ubiquitous Bloody Mary, and the Dickie Brennan’s Bourbon House version is served with ice cream as an ingredient. There’s a coconut milk-forward vegan version too.

Nora McGunnigle/ENOLA

French 75 at The French 75 Bar

The original version of this cocktail, for which the bar of Arnaud's is named, contains gin as its main ingredient. French 75 counters that the New Orleans version should have Cognac, since that's a French spirit and gin is not. You'll get it with Cognac here.

The Martinez at the Bombay Club

This classic cocktail is believed to be the precursor to the modern martini. The version served at the Bombay Club, made with sweet vermouth, gin, and maraschino liqueur, is spot on. It's great to see an almost forgotten cocktail find a new home.

The Absinthe Frappe at The Old Absinthe House

Created at the Old Absinthe House in the 1860s, this simple absinthe cocktail is as refreshing and flavorful as it ever was. In fact, the bar was known as the Absinthe Room after the cocktail was created, which eventually became the Old Absinthe House.

The Vieux Carre at the Carousel Bar

The Monteleone Hotel’s revolving Carousel Bar offers a cocktail menu that might as well be a master class of iconic drinks. Most notably, the Vieux Carre was invented here back in the 1930s, combining whiskey, cognac, vermouth, Benedictine, and bitters and paying homage to the neighborhood from which it sprung.

Corpse Reviver No. 2 at Compère Lapin

New Orleans debauchery can take its toll. If your hung-over corpse needs reviving, head to the bar at Compere Lapin, an oasis of sanity in a city where excess is the baseline. Chef Nina Compton’s terrific barkeeps shake up an exquisite balance of gin, Cointreau, Lillet blanc, citrus, and dash of absinthe. Popularized in the 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book by Harry Craddock, think of this classic cocktail as a lemon drop with a Ph.D. 

Ramos Gin Fizz at Bar Tonique

This frothy and refreshing cocktail is all about the long game — it takes a significant shake to activate the frothy factor for the combo of egg whites, gin, orange flower water, sugar, and cream. They do a super job at the craft cocktail mecca Bar Tonique on the edge of the Quarter by Armstrong Park. Don’t order one if you’re in a hurry, the New Orleans-created cocktail needs time to percolate perfectly.

Cajun Bloody Mary at Brennan's

Bloody Mary cocktails are starting to crash and burn under all the garnishes that restaurant places on them to make their stand out from the thousands of others available in the city. At the quintessential New Orleans fine-dining breakfast restaurant, the garnishes are kept to the classic New Orleans pickled okra and pickled green bean. Brennan’s mix is spicy and complex, and this deceptively simple version of the breakfast classic cocktail is a pleasure to drink any time of the day.

Cafe Brulot at Antoine's

Antoine’s has been doing all kinds of things right for 180 years — and this flaming spiced coffee drink may just top the list. The fifth generation family owned grand dame off Bourbon offers diners a show with dinner, as waiters make cafe brulot in special copper cooking bowl and ladle, the smell of coffee, brandy and sparking citrus creating an irresistible after dinner treat.

Hand Grenade at Tropical Isle

Although throwing back one (or more) hand grenades will surely lead to questionable decision making, the distinctively shaped plastic cups are ubiquitous on Bourbon Street. Tropical Isle put the drink on the map during the ill fated 1984 World’s Fair — the hand grenade was the fair’s biggest success.

Hurricane at Pat O'Brien's

Shutterstock

You can't argue with history. Even though you can get a hand-crafted, hand-muddled, boutique hurricane at classic bars including Lafitte’s, Pat O’s is where the magic was first made, and this is where the classic lives on in raging technicolor.

Shutterstock

Related Maps

Pimm's Cup at Napoleon House

Nora McGunnigle/ENOLA

This cool, refreshing drink was made for the warm days and day drinking tendencies of New Orleans residents and visitors. The Napoleon House has served them for so long, that the drink is synonymous with the bar.

Nora McGunnigle/ENOLA

The Zombie at Beachbum Berry's Latitude 29

It’s always a good time at Latitude 29, Jeff “Beachbum” Berry’s bar and eatery in the French Quarter. Berry has dedicated his life to recreating classic tiki recipes and concocting his own drinks that pay homage to the genre. The Zombie is the gold standard of tiki cocktails — go here to get a spot on version.

Grasshopper at Tujague’s

Part dessert, part libation, the grasshopper was concocted for a 1918 drinks competition in New York by the second owner of Tujague’s when it was in its original location. In the past year the historic restaurant moved four blocks towards Canal, but the green drink remains the same — equal parts crème de menthe, crème de cacao, and heavy cream.

Floridita Daiquiri at Manolito

The New Orleans-Cuba connection is in sharp relief at Manolito, another French Quarter cocktail haven from the James Beard Award winning Chris Hannah. All of the blended drinks are superb, as is the fum-fueled Flordita daiquiri invented at El Floridita bar in Havana by Constante Ribalaigua.

Frozen Irish Coffee at Molly's at the Market

The frozen Irish coffee is a go-to hangover cure and cooling treat for wandering the Quarter on a steamy day. While the Erin Rose also serves a great version, the Monahans have put the drink on the map, serving it not only at Molly's at the Market but also Junction in the Bywater.

Related Maps