The Best Of The Big Easy: The Ultimate Guide To Dining & Drinking In New Orleans

Four Seasons New OrleansPhoto Credit: Four Seasons New Orleans

There’s a saying in New Orleans “Laissez les bons temps rouler” which, when translated, means “Let the good times roll. This is a hedonistic culture, a fit for the mercurial weather, where one could easily imagine a vampire coming out the dark at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop to suck your blood. But it’s also the home of some exceptional food and drink (as highlighted each year at Tales of the Cocktail, which returned after a Covid-induced hiatus this year to celebrate its 20th anniversary) and many classic cocktails like the Sazerac and The Grasshopper — not just a place where drunken tourists meander down Bourbon Street with Hurricanes and Hand Grenades in their hands. Here is where you should be sleeping, eating, and drinking in the Big Easy right now.


Four Seasons New OrleansPhoto Credit: Four Seasons New Orleans

The newest — as of August 2021 — and absolutely the most glamorous place to stay is the Four Seasons New Orleans, located on the Mississippi waterfront at the foot of Canal Street, just 20 minutes from both of the city’s airports, steps away from the French Quarter and the Warehouse Arts District — making it a prime spot for just about everything (including proximity to the Central Business District for business travelers and sports fans given it’s a hop, skip and a jump from the Superdome and Smoothie King Center). 341 light-filled, spacious and beautifully-appointed rooms and suites designed by Bill Rooney Studio with a palette of clean whites and pale greys, accentuated with white-washed oak furnishings, textured fabrics and wall treatments and, above every bed, a striking tri-panel plaster relief depicting South’s signature scent, the magnolia, offer a soothing place to sleep. Altogether, there are 280 guest rooms, 61 one and-two-bedroom suites ranging in size from 683-2,056 suite and two Presidential Suites, sized at 2,439 square feet apiece. All rooms feature a 65-inch flat screen TV, iPad for in-room controls, Nespresso coffee machines and tea kettles; and L’Occitane bath amenities, though the Presidential Suites are truly the places to be thanks to private offices; exercise rooms; dining tables for 10; butler’s pantries; a private office/den; and fitness rooms with exercises bikes.

Four Seasons New Orleans
Four Seasons New Orleans lobby

Photo Credit: Four Seasons New Orleans

Complementing modernist architect Edward Durell Stone‘s world-class design is a carefully-curated art collection, featuring local artists and those inspired by the city. Set within indoor and outdoor observation decks on the Hotel’s 33rd and 34th floors is a state-of-the-art cultural exhibit designed to honor, celebrate and share stories of the diverse cultures that create the magic of New Orleans. This fall, the hotel will open its crescent-shaped rooftop swimming pool, featuring four private cabanas and Mississippi River views; a 24/7 fitness centre conceived by trainer to the stars Harley Pasternak; and The Spa, where Spa Director Toni Sullivan’s team of highly trained therapists will customize treatments to get guests looking good and feeling good… especially those whose who have been doing a little too much “laissez les bon temps roller.” At 5,525 square feet , this fifth floor behemoth will feature eight treatment rooms, including a couple’s room, two relaxation rooms, a sauna, steam and Jacuzzi facilities, with design elements that incorporate raw white oak, shutters, gray travertine, rattan, and abstraction of wrought iron silhouette-projecting lamps. A quarterly program of visiting experts will welcome some of the most sought-after aestheticians and wellness therapists from across the United States, though treatments like the Southern Gentleman — a therapeutic massage using a warm infusion of rye whiskey oil plus a post-massage cocktail and snack — are always on the menu.

Four Seasons New Orleans
Chandelier Bar

Photo Credit: Four Seasons New Orleans

But in the grand old tradition of New Orleans (and to speak to the true essence of this article — with a focus on where to gorge oneself) the Four Seasons does not disappoint. In fact, two local celebrity chefs have joined forces with the property to create some over-the-top dining options. The first, Miss River, is already booked out for weeks, so if you’re going, plan in advance. This eatery is a “love letter to Louisiana” from New Orleans Chef Alon Shaya that offers an ingredient-driven menu with fresh takes on area-specific favorites, with bold and familiar flavors. Some of the best options include a rich duck and andouille gumbo; salt-crusted Gulf red snapper; a clay pot presentation of “dirty” rice; and a whole carved buttermilk fried chicken designed for sharing in the dramatic settings indoors and outdoors designed by Alexander Waterworth Interiors.The wine program here is a destination in itself, elegantly balancing New and Old World varietals to perfectly complement the cuisine, including a collection of fine Champagnes and sparkling wines from around the world. An intimate alcove houses The Sommelier Table, where up to five standing guests can enjoy curated tastings guided by the sommelier. Imbibe Carts seductively circle the room, providing tableside pourings of a well-curated selection of Champagnes, aperitifs and digestifs. But this eatery isn’t just here for fine dining and libations: it’s also an absolutely gorgeous place to spend time, an Art Deco wonderland thanks to a pink quartzite polished marble bartop; Fior di Bosco marble; brass detailing on the bar, backbar and decorative screens; bronze detailing on the decorative arched screens; colored stained glass by artist Lesley Green; bespoke scalloped flooring tile; textured scalloped wallpaper in soft pink tones; walnut timber; silver antiqued mirror; bespoke lighting; leathers by Moore & Giles & Whistler; and cotton velvets by Altfield, Dedar and Zimmer+Rhode. Ralston Crawford’s 1950s photographs of New Orleans musicians and Second Lines as well as art from Horton Humble, Lara Morgan and Caprice Pierucci further enhance the stunning space.

Four Seasons New Orleans
Suite bathroom

Photo Credit: Four Seasons New Orleans

Chef Shaya has also conceived the shareable bites menu as well as a luxe caviar service at Chandelier Bar — the spectacular central meeting area in the lobby lounge that extends out to a garden patio. Beverage Manager Hadi Ktiri — formerly of Arnaud’s French 75, when said venue won the James Beard Award for Outstanding Bar program in 2017 — has created an inventive drinks menu is stirred, shaken, muddled and poured beneath the jaw-dropping 15,000-piece light and glass installation by Preciosa that gives the bar its name. Locally-created, international favorites like the Ramos Gin Fizz, French 75, Sazerac and Hurricane are served up alongside high-end bubbly by the glass, such as Ruinart and Dom Pérignon. Live music will be offered year-round, showcasing some of the city’s most talented artists.

Four Seasons New Orleans
Miss River

Photo Credit: Four Seasons New Orleans

But that’s not all. Award-winning chef Donald Link — one of the most recognizable culinary names in the city and one who has been nominated umpteenth times for the James Beard Foundation’s Outstanding Chef award — famous for eateries including Herbsaint (which earned him a James Beard award in 2007 for Best Chef South), Cochon (a 2007 Best New Restaurant nominee), Cochon Butcher, Pêche Seafood Grill (a 2014 Best New Restaurant James Beard winner), La Boulangerie, Gianna (a James Beard Award nominee for Best New Restaurant 2019), and his private event facility, Calcasieu — has opened his latest effort at the Four Seasons. Chemin a la Mer (meaning “pathway to the sea”) honors his Louisiana heritage with a menu of steaks and seafood, prepared with French flair. The eatery also houses a grand oyster bar.

Four Seasons New Orleans
Chemin à la Mer

Photo Credit: Four Seasons New Orleans

And finally, there’s the spa. This haute hotel officially opened its new spa in April, and it’s been a local and visitors staple ever since. It also happens to be the first establishment in Louisiana to offer products and treatments from acclaimed French skincare brand Biologique Recherche. Inspired by the allure of the bon vivant lifestyle and a hint of excess, The 5,525 square foot space includes eight treatment rooms, including a couple’s room with a soaking tub; a relaxation lounge; steam room; and cool mist experience. Design elements include the use of raw white oak, shutters, grey travertine, rattan, and abstraction of wrought iron silhouette-projecting lamps, with additional elevated touches of beautiful artwork by Nicole Charbonnet and Allison Janae Hamilton. The stunning space is a perfect foil to a series of French beauty techniques and treatments, which, when paired with state-of-the-art technology, offer immediate results. It offers both an organic and results-driven menu of treatments for the discerning aesthete including (our favorites): the Triple Lift Facial, an intensive treatment that helps fight against signs of premature skin aging via active serums, a remodeling machine, and the micropuncture lab, which stimulates collagen production for immediate results; The Body Method, which reduces water retention while refining and shaping; and the Southern Gentleman, a treatment inspired by New Orleans’ most famous cocktail, the Sazerac — a therapeutic massage that ends with a classic Sazerac (and snacks).

Four Seasons New Orleans
Four Seasons New Orleans Spa

Photo Credit: Four Seasons New Orleans

The Four Seasons New Orleans is located at 2 Canal St, New Orleans, LA 70130

Virgin Hotel New Orleans

Virgin Hotel New Orleans
Pool Club

Photo Credit: Virgin Hotel New Orleans

On the opposite end of the spectrum is the young, hip Virgin Hotels New Orleans, the fifth of Sir Richard Branson‘s American hotels. Located in the city’s artsy Warehouse District, the property, as designed by NOLA-based firm Logan Killen Interiors, reflects comfortable environments with local touches, historical details, and a nod to New Orleans Art Deco history interspersed throughout. These influences include playful wall art in from New Orleans artist Jen Talton, local art students in The Shag Room, works from photographer Augusta Sagnelli and an abstract painting from  Ansley Givhan. The artwork helps to create the “at home in New Orleans” feel that permeates the hotel.

Virgin Hotel New Orleans
Richard’s Apartment

Photo Credit: Virgin Hotel New Orleans

Here, there are 238 “chambers,” inclusive of two penthouse suites — one of which is Sir Richard’s own — a 1,097 square foot stunner with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the eclectic downtown New Orleans. Local art, historical detailing, and Art Deco-inspired elements woven throughout evoke a sense of old-world meets modern luxury. All rooms feature ergonomically designed lounge beds, a red SMEG mini-fridge generously stocked with curated selection of local products, a high-definition TV, yoga mat, and a cafe worktable with rattan base and tempered glass placed in front of a cozy built-in window seating offering city views.

Virgin Hotel New Orleans
The Funny Library Coffee Shop

Photo Credit: Virgin Hotel New Orleans

Because the brand was created by the perpetually youthful Branson, guests should expect fun touches through the dining and drinking spaces as well. Executive Chef Alex Harrell, who has become a star fixture on New Orleans’ culinary scene since first arriving more than twenty years ago, brings his modernist approach to classic Southern cuisine to Virgin Hotels New Orleans’ food and beverage venues. Commons Club, the social epicenter of the hotel, is designed to feel like a members-only social club, but one that’s available to all. Commons Club consists of three areas – The Bar ,The Kitchen, featuring an indoor porch for dining, and The Shag Room, an intimate private space with a playful vibe suitable for small groups. Food and drink throughout all spaces showcase contemporary Southern cuisine with Mediterranean influences. In addition, a full slate of curated music and entertainment experiences will launch an ongoing and robust entertainment schedule consisting of local to national musical acts and performances, game day programming, themed brunches, and more.

Virgin Hotel New Orleans
Shag Room

Photo Credit: Virgin Hotel New Orleans

Also located on the hotel’s first level, Funny Library Coffee Shop is a communal workspace with an assortment of games and whimsical and  books curated from local shops. The comfortable space features dark wood and feels like a classic library, while mixing eclectic furnishings and playful elements like mixed patterns and bright colors. On the thirteenth floor, guests can find The Pool Club, a rooftop pool, bar and restaurant with a spectacular backdrop featuring scenic skyline views of downtown New Orleans; and Dreamboat, a more intimate indoor space nestled within The Pool Club, offering a casually sophisticated vibe with elegant seating and the feeling of a private club.

Virgin Hotel New Orleans
Commons Club

Photo Credit: Virgin Hotel New Orleans




Emeril'sPhoto Credit: Emeril’s Restaurants

Emeril’s Restaurant is the gold standard when it comes to NOLA fine dining. Chef/restaurateur Emeril Lagasse’s famed flagship restaurant — housed in a renovated pharmacy warehouse in New Orleans’ Warehouse District — has been a driving force in shaping the Big Easy’s cuisine as we know it today since opening in 1990. Emeril’s also has the distinction of being Lagasse’s first eatery as well as his most tenured, earning him the James Beard Foundation Award for outstanding service as well as Best Chef: Southeast. The iconic NOLA eatery has been closed for the past year due to the pandemic, but officially reopened its doors on August 31st.


Photo Credit: Emeril’s Restaurants

When guests return this year, they’ll find the same superior level of service, fare and cocktails, with the added bonus that they might glimpse Chef Lagasse himself in the kitchen. There are some other changes as well: minor interior enhancements include all new tables and plate ware, while the vegetarian and a chefs tasting menu with wine pairings are now offered nightly. The chefs tasting is curated to be a journey building upon flavors and complexities of seasonal ingredients infused with unique modernization. There are also a la carte offerings rooted in the style of New Orleans cooking Lagasse coined 30 years ago, but with a refined and elevated approach, with standouts including the prime steak carpaccio with Champagne sabayon and caviar; his own special gumbo recipe; and Emeril’s signature BBQ shrimp. The restaurant also offers a caviar service with hybrid sturgeon or Imperial Osetra varieties. 

Emeril'sPhoto Credit: Romney Caruso

The cocktail menu here is superb. New Orleans-specific tipples work well alongside signature cocktails like the Moon Rabbit — gin, Yuzu, ginger, shiso and sparkling sake — and the Williamsburg: rye, Cocchi Dopo Teatro, cold brew, sarsparilla and black pepper. There’s a fabulous rotating seasonal punch and Emeril’s take on the old-fashioned (the Millionaire’s Old-Fashioned, as it were): bourbon, cognac, rum, PX gum syrup and bitters, as well as our personal favorite: the after-dinner “Haute Chocolate” — añejo tequila, cacao-infused sweet vermouth, fig and Guajillo.

Emeril’s is located at 800 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans, LA 70130

Peacock Room

Peacock Room Photo Credit: Cris Molina for Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants

Nestled inside Kimpton Hotel Fontenot, Peacock Room is an elevated, energetic and cultured hangout that draws its inspiration from classic hotel bar rooms and eccentric Southern private clubs. It’s a jewel box of a restaurant, all blues, golds, feathers and fun, influenced by traditional Mardi Gras attire, but in an entirely elevated way. Peacock Room (named as such for the plethora of peacocks on every available surface) also has a distinct atrium vibe, surrounded by glass and lush with botanical accents. A specially designed sawtooth roof allows light to cascade down through several skylights, illuminating the bar, a strong focal point of the space with its gold panel detailing, blue leather bar stools, wall of mirrors and tasseled light fixtures. Black and white traditional Spanish tiles complement white marble French bistro table tops and black metal-framed chairs, a turquoise lacquered wall, leather banquettes, vintage carpets and ornate, plush chairs.  The bohemian mix of art, brass hardware, crystal fixtures, velvet upholstery and, naturally, life-sized peacocks and a bird cage, add depth and color in a variety of seating types and groupings, a refreshing take on a classic cocktail bar.

Peacock Room
Peacock Tower

Photo Credit: Randy Schmidt for Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants

This supremely beautiful spot just launched its Sunday brunch, lovingly and aptly referred to as “Birds of a Feather, Brunch Together.” The menu includes highlights like the already-favorite Peacock Tower, filled with deviled eggs, lobster toast, s&p shrimp, pimento cheese and crostini, and the Huevos Rancheros, featuring chorizo cured pork belly and mole verde. This isn’t fare for the faint of heart, but hey, you’re in New Orleans. It shouldn’t be! Brunch cocktails pack a punch. Which makes sense that there’s a seasonal boozy brunch punch on the menu, served up as afternoon tea. That this libation, the High Tea Punch for 2, is accompanied by a quote from Alice in Wonderland  “Yes, that’s it! Said the Hatter with a sigh, it’s always tea time” speaks volumes. Our pick for a standout drink, however, is Siren of the Tropics. It’s a blend of banana-infused Bacardi 4-year rum, pecan orgeat, coconut milk and cinnamon.Think: Bananas Foster with the ferocity of Joséphine Baker. You’re welcome.

How to make Siren of the Tropics

Peacock Room
Siren of the Tropics

Photo Credit: Randy Schmidt for Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants

1.5oz Banana Rum (below)
.5oz cognac
.75oz pecan orgeat (below)
1oz whole milk
shake and strain over stamped king cube
Rocks Glass
Garnish: shaved cinnamon
Banana Rum
750ml Mount Gay Elix Rum
500g Banana
Process: Combine chopped bananas and rum in cryovac bag, vacuum seal and sous vide at 135 degrees for 2 hours.
Cool and strain through chinois, pressing on bananas with a spoon/ladle – really press liquid here, small amount of rum will be lost to the fruit. *Option to save bananas for boozy dessert.
Strain again through nut milk bag to remove any banana particles.
Refrigerate batch for up to 30 days
Pecan Orgeat
600 grams Raw Pecans
1000 grams Water
800 grams Granulated Sugar
4 grams Salt
0.4 grams Xanthan Gum
57 grams Vodka
Process: Roast the pecans on a sheet tray at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, stir at the 5 minute mark.
Combine toasted pecans, salt and hot water. Soak the pecans for 4-6 hours.
Blend in Vitamix and strain through chenoise. *discard pecan pulp or use in pastry
Once strained, blend again, adding sugar, xanthan gum and vodka.
Refrigerate for up to 30 days.

The Peacock Room is located at 501 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans, LA 70130

Compere Lapin

Compere Lapin
Compere Lapin Oyster Bar

Photo Credit: Compere Lapin

Compère Lapin, Chef Nina Compton’s restaurant in the Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery, is literally all the rage in NOLA . Not only did former Restaurant Daniel grad Compton earn the ultimate culinary honor by being awarded “Best Chef: South” by The James Beard Foundation, but Compère Lapin is the first New Orleans restaurant to receive the prestigious Spirited Award by the Tales of The Cocktail Foundation – honored as the “Best American Hotel Bar” in 2019 — a well-deserved accolade for her specific brand of Caribbean, French and Italian cooking. Dinner at this 86-seat, warehouse-influenced bohemian bistro with its convivial decor of warm caramel leathers, honey oak and tan tweed, begins with a selection of small bites including conch croquettes with pickled pineapple tartar sauce; crispy dirty rice Arancini with sour orange mojo; And spiced pig ears with smoked aioli.  First course offerings include cold smoked wahoo tartar with avocado and crispy plantains and Stracciatella with curried walnuts and ciabatta, while second courses range from Jerk Louisiana black drum with seasonal accoutrements to curried goat and sweet potato gnocchi.

Compere Lapin
Cow Heel Soup

Photo Credit: Denny Culbert

The bar program here is a perfect foil to the fare. Guests can enjoy such libations as the Louisville Slugger – bourbon, apple brandy, chicory and smoked vanilla and the signature Copper Bunny – Absolut Elyx, pineapple-jalapeño tequila and ginger, topped with champagne and served in an actual copper bunny. Rotating frozen daquiris are always on offer. 

Compere Lapin is located at 535 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans, LA 70130

How to make the Copper Bunny

Compere Lapin
Copper Bunny

Photo Credit: Denny Culbert

¾ oz. Absolut Elyx vodka
¾ oz. Dulce Vida pineapple jalapeño tequila
¾ oz. Giffard pineapple liqueur
¾ oz. Giffard ginger liqueur
1 oz.  lime juice
4 oz.  Champagne

Bar Marilou

Bar Marilou Photo Credit: Stephen Kent Johnson

Bar Marilou, named after irreverent 70s French drinking culture, is in partnership with beloved Parisian group Quixotic Projects — their first project in the United States. Housed in the City Hall’s former law library, the bar is designed in partnership with Studio Shamshiri as a spirited sanctuary for craft cocktails, natural wine and French-inflected fare. Bar Marilou is bedecked with books, eccentric curiosities, inventive and sophisticated offerings and elevated French classics, all set in a distinguished yet relaxed environment. Inspired by romance, rebellion and spirited with easy elegance, guests of Maison de la Luz can enjoy private entrance through a secret bookcase. The salon is a guest-only intimate space located between the guest house and Bar Marilou, offering delight, verve and cocktails through a hidden window that opens directly to the bar.

Bar Marilou is located at 544 Carondelet St, New Orleans, LA 70130

How to make the Bar Marilou Espresso Martini

Bar Marilou
Espresso Martini

Photo Credit: Kiah Darion

3 drops Saline
1oz. Espresso Syrup
0.75oz Pierre Ferrand Cognac
0.75oz Gosling’s Rum
0.5oz Averna

Jewel of the South

Jewel of the South
Jewel of the South

Jewel of the South might be a newer addition to the NOLA bar scene, but it’s already a living legend. This fabulous spot has held a frequent place on the World’s 50 Best Bars. Southern cocktail pioneer and co-founder Chris Hannah has made this locals spot, located in a renovated 1830 cottage within the French Quarter, into an institution. The cocktail program here is steeped in history, showcasing classic techniques with innovative, seasonal flavors with a culinary program to match.

Jewel of the SouthPhoto Credit: Denny Culbert

Expect refreshed takes on local drinks, like a Sazerac that includes Rancio Sec and Madeira along with the standard whiskey and bitters; a French 75 made with D’usse cognac, lemon, simple syrup, and sparking wine; and our favorite, the Righteous Harlot, a blend off vodka, dragon fruit cordial, St. Germain, lemon, and sparkling wine.


A section dedicated to the cocktails that originated in New Orleans — and where to drink them.

The Carousel Bar is just one of the many places you’ll stop on NOLA’s Historic Tours “Scandalous Cocktails” outing, where you’ll not only enjoy the cocktails that originated in New Orleans at the very places they originated, but you’ll only learn about the city’s history and the drama that happened at each location. For example, did you know that JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald grew up in the Big Easy? You’ll check out some of the bars and restaurants where he worked, and learn a city insider theory about his involvement in the president’s death. There isn’t a location you’ll visit that doesn’t have a seedy yet endlessly fascinating history — here, there are pirates, mobsters, madams and murderers aplenty. Only in New Orleans do you raise a glass to them though. Cheers to you, Jean Lafitte.

Sazerac House

Sazerac HousePhoto Credit: Sazerac House

The Sazerac cocktail originated in New Orleans in the 1850s and today, is served all around the world to this day. And now, there is a one stop shop that pays homage to the cocktail (plus so many more) in The Sazerac House. This is your place to see how the Sazerac is part of the customs, traditions and culture of New Orleans and discover the methods used in distilling Sazerac Rye, while also learning how the city’s world-famous Peychaud’s Bitters are made. This interactive tour is comprised of three areas, starting with the Distillery. Go behind-the-scenes to see the production process and watch experienced whiskey makers in action. The second floor is dedicated to the art of the craft, where sippers can explore pairings and tasting notes of a wide variety of spirits including Herbsaint, Myers’ rum, Southern Comfort, Buffalo Trace and more. Last but not least, on the third floor, deep into the dawn of New Orleans cocktail culture during the turn of the 20th century. Explore all the ways it has evolved throughout the years while enjoying a VIP tasting (if you decide to go the VIP route, that is. And you really should.)

Sazerac House, 101 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130

How to make a signature Sazerac

The Sazerac
The Sazerac

Photo Credit: Sazerac House

1.5 oz Sazerac Rye Whiskey
1 sugar cube
3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
.25 oz Herbsaint
Lemon twist


Pack an Old-Fashioned glass with ice. In a second Old-Fashioned glass, place a sugar cube and add three dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters to it. Crush the sugar cube. Add 1.5 oz Sazerac Rye Whiskey to the glass with the Peychaud’s Bitters and sugar. Add ice and stir. Empty the ice from the first glass and coat the glass with .25 oz Herbsaint. Discard the remaining Herbsaint. Strain the whiskey / bitters / sugar mixture from the glass into the Herbsaint coated glass and garnish with a lemon peel.

Carousel Bar

Carousel Bar & Lounge Photo Credit: Carousel Bar & Lounge

A long-time favorite New Orleans hotspot and the city’s only revolving bar, the famous Carousel Bar in the Hotel Monteleone has lured guests in to take a spin on the 25-seat, bright circus-clad Merry-Go-Round; the only carousel you have be to 21 years of age to ride. It’s definitely a signature spot in the Big Easy, spinning so gently you may not even notice the change of view (but that depends on how many cocktails you’ve consumed). Installed in 1949, the 25-seat bar turns on 2,000 large steel rollers, pulled by a chain powered by a one-quarter horsepower motor. The bar circumnavigates at one revolution every 15 minutes, but the ride doesn’t end there. Since 1949, some of its riders’ most creative ideas, inspirations and business deals have been shaken and stirred to fruition here, not to mention some of the best spirits — and served up to some of the biggest names in the world, from the likes of famous authors such as William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, Eudora Welty and Winston Groom to modern-day stars such as Rod Stewart, Paul Simon, Nicolas Cage, Quentin Tarantino and Michael Jordan. A gorgeous small-plate menu featuring dishes such as blue crab and crawfish beignets and mini Monte po boys and incredible Prince Edward Island mussels, prepared with white wine, fennel and fresh herbs and served with truffle fries. But now, the stars of the show: the Vieux Carre, a famous libation that was first concocted at this very hotel by former head bartender Walter Bergeron. This blend of rye, cognac, sweet vermouth, Bénédictine, Angostura bitters, Peychaud’s bitters translates from French to “Old Square,” the former name for New Orleans’ French Quarter. Mr. Bergeron was the head bartender of the hotel’s cocktail lounge, pre-dating the current Carousel Bar, which opened in 1949.

Carousel Bar is located at 214 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70130

How to make the Vieux Carre cocktail

Vieux Carre Cocktail
Vieux Carre Cocktail

Photo Credit: Vieux Carre Cocktail

¼ oz. Benedictine
¼ oz. Cognac
½ oz. Sazerac Rye
¼ oz. Sweet Vermouth
3 drops Angostura Bitters
Place ingredients over ice and garnish with a twist of lemon

The Hurricane/Pat O’Brien’s Bar

Pat O'Brien's Bar
Pat O’Brien’s Bar

Photo Credit: Paul Broussaard/Photo courtesy New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau.


Everyone who’s even thought about going to New Orleans has heard about French Quarter haunt Pat O’Brien’s, and its infamous cocktail, the Hurricane. The fruity red concoction was created during World War II when liquor such as whiskey was in low supply. In order to purchase just one case, salesmen forced bar owners Pat O’Brien and Charlie Cantrell to purchase as much as 50 cases of rum, which they didn’t want. And thus, in an effort to use the over-abundance of rum purchase, the lethal (if you drink too many) Hurricane was born in concept; the name came soon after when a glass shaped like a hurricane lamp was used to serve the cocktail. Today, the Pat O’Brien’s Hurricane glass is one of the most sought-after souvenirs in New Orleans.
Pat O’Brien’s is located at 718 St Peter, New Orleans, LA 70116

How to Make an authentic Pat O’Brien’s Hurricane

HurricanePhoto Credit: Paul Broussard/Photo courtesy New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau.

In a 26 oz. Hurricane glass, mix:

4 oz. of Pat O’Brien’s Hurricane Rum or a good Amber/Gold Rum
 4 oz. of Pat O’Brien’s Hurricane Mix – passion fruit syrup and lemon juice
 Fill with crushed ice
 Garnish with an orange and cherry

Arnaud’s/French 75

Arnaud'sPhoto Credit: Zack SmithPhoto courtesy New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Arnaud’s is the largest restaurant in New Orleans, and also has the largest kitchen of any other restaurant in the city — only one of the few that still serves classic Creole cuisine. It was here that Arnaud’s French 75 —  a version (though perhaps not the first) that the drink widely known throughout the world as simply “The French 75” was created.  The French 75 was originally a “gentlemen only area” during the days of the Cazenave family. Count Arnaud, as he was known around New Orleans, was born in France as Leon Bertrand Arnaud Cazenave. He founded Arnaud’s Restaurant in 1918. His version, which is reportedly the most popular way to make this cocktail, is as follows.
Arnaud’s is located at 813 Bienville St, New Orleans, LA 70112

How to make Arnaud’s French 75

French 75Photo Credit: Zack SmithPhoto courtesy New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau.

14 oz. cognac (preferably Courvoisier VS)
14 oz. fresh lemon juice
14 oz. simple syrup
Champagne, chilled (preferably Moët & Chandon Imperial)
Lemon peel for garnish
Combine cognac, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake and pour into a champagne flute. Top with champagne and garnish with a small piece of lemon peel.

Ramos Gin Fizz

Ramos Gin Fizz
Ramos Gin Fizz

Photo Credit: Brent Hofacker/

The invention of the Ramos Gin Fizz is maybe the weirdest (for NOLA) in its history given than its inventor, Henry C. Ramos, did not actually enjoy drinking (much unlike seemingly everyone else in the Big Easy). Ramos, a widely respected New Orleans businessman who purchased  the Imperial Cabinet, a bar located on Gravier Street in what is now the Central Business District, with his brother in 1887, hated drunkenness and would keep a beady eye on those who toed the line at tipsy. The 1928 New Orleans Item-Tribune wrote that “nobody could get drunk at the Ramos bar, not only because old Henry wouldn’t let them, but because drunkenness would take away their appreciation of the drinks.” That being said, Henry — known inexplicably as “Carl” to his friends — created the Ramos Gin Fizz in 1888. Originally called the ‘New Orleans Fizz’, the drink became an immediate hit and the Imperial Cabinet became busier than ever. Ramos’s original recipe included a sprinkling of powdered sugar with the mandate that the drink must be shaken for 12 minutes before serving, a mean feat for any bartender, muscular or not.  Said shaking, coupled with the drink’s popularity, made 20 bartenders working at any given time a necessity. These Ramos Gin Fizz makers were called ‘shaker boys.’ Ramos is said to have served his last gin fizz on the eve of Prohibition and refused to give up the real recipe, keeping it secret until his death and into infinity, apparently. But the below adaptation is how bartenders think they’ve figured out how to make it best today.

How to make a Ramos Gin Fizz

2 ounces gin
3/4 ounce simple syrup
1/2 ounce heavy cream
1/2 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1/2 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
3 dashes orange flower water
1 fresh egg white
Club soda, chilled, to top

Pimm’s Cup/Napoleon House

Napoleon House Bar and Restaurant Photo Credit: William-A.-Morgan/

Although Pimm’s Cup is a quintessentially British summer drink and New Orleans is a very French city, many say that the Pimm’s Cup actually originated here in New Orleans at Napoleon House, a 200 year-old French Quarter landmark. The building’s name has a unique story: its first resident, Nicholas Girod, the mayor of New Orleans from 1812 to 1815, offered his residence to Napoleon in 1821 as a refuge during his exile.  Although Napoleon never did, in fact, make it to Napoleon House, legend lived on in the the house’s name, and ever since, it’s been one of the most famous bars in America, a respite for writers and artists for most of the 20th century. and since then, the Napoleon House has become one of the most famous bars in America, a haunt for artists and writers throughout most of the 20th century. But as legend would have it, the Pimm’s Cup was invented in the 1940’s, a decade after James Pimm invented the liqueur in England. The Impastato family owner was looking for a cocktail that was lower in alcohol so his guests wouldn’t get drunk so easily. Since Pimm’s Cup is only 25 percent alcohol, with this he had his winner.
Napoleon House is located at 500 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130

How to make a Pimm’s Cup

Pimms CupPhoto Credit: Zack Smith/Photo courtesy New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau.

•Fill a tall 12 oz glass with ice and add 1 1/4 oz. Pimm’s #1 and 3 oz of lemonade
•Then top off with 7Up or Sprite
•Garnish with cucumber.

The Grasshopper/Tujague’s 

Tujague’s Restaurant
Tujague’s Restaurant was established in 1856 and is New Orleans’ second oldest restaurant.

Photo Credit: Scott-Colesby/

The Grasshopper has a less starry story steeped in history than its alcoholic brethren. The real story here is that, in 1918, Philibert Guichet invented the drink for a cocktail competition in New York City. It secured a second-place finish which would have been good enough, though it became so popular back in New Orleans, that it’s held a permanent spot on the Tujague’s cocktail menu ever since. Last year, Tujague’s, the second-only restaurant in New Orleans, was forced to relocate upriver from 823 to 429 Decatur Street due to a leasing issue from the home it’s had since opening now 165 years ago.

Tujague’s is located at 429 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70130

How to make a Grasshopper

GrasshopperPhoto Credit: Alexander-Prokopenko/

3/4 ounce green creme de menthe
3/4 ounce creme de cacao
1/4 ounce heavy cream
1 cup crushed ice
Combine creme de menthe, creme de cacao, heavy cream, and crushed ice in a cocktail shaker. Cover and shake until chilled.
Strain into chilled cocktail glass.