New Orleans cocktail greatness

After a couple of years of restricted travel, we can’t think of a better prize than a trip to a vibrant, foodie-centred city!

New Orleans is a hub of cocktail greatness, tracing it’s roots back to the very beginning of cocktail prowess when drinks were a simple mix of spirits, sugar, water and bitters.

We’re not talking about the sweet Hurricane’s in tall plastic glasses served on Bourbon Street (but hey, each to their own!), we’re talking about the birthplace of the Sazerac, the Brandy Crusta, Café Brulot (worth a look up!) and Vieux Carre.

Below you’ll find our NOLA favourites, made by our own bartender extraordinaire, Diageo Ambassador, Amba Lamb. Amba crafted these beauties for a photo opp with 2021 World Class Winner, Yuli Sanchez behind her own bar at Backroom, Cayman.

The details of the Sazerac’s history can get involved but what we do know is this New Orleans riff on Jerry Thomas’s old Improved Whiskey Cocktail first appears in print in 1899, as a specialty of the Sazerac House on Royal St. At the time, the drink was attributed to Billy Wilkinson, one of the bar’s two head bartenders and a partner in the business.

  • 2 ounces (60 ml) Bulliet Bourbon
  • 1 barspoon (5 ml) simple syrup
  • 3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • Splash of absinthe

Take 2 rocks glasses and chill one while preparing the drink in the other. Add the bourbon, syrup and bitters and stir with ice cubes to chill. Empty the ice from the second glass, splash the absinthe into it, swirl it and pour it out. Strain the drink into the chilled rocks glass squeeze the oils from a lemon peel on top then discard

Ramos Gin Fizz:
The “One and Only One,” is what Henry Carl Ramos dubbed his immortal creation. This is a legendary drink. Dating back to the late 1880s, when Henry ran the Imperial Cabinet Saloon on Carondelet St in New Orleans. According to the New Orleans ‘Item’, his saloon sold 3,000 of these drinks, on a good day, so tinker with it at your own peril. Our advice would be to head on down to the newly opened Door No.4 and get one of their rockstar mixologists to whip you up a delicious ‘Bird of Paradise Fizz’.

  • 2 ounces (60 ml) Tanqueray No.Ten
  • 1 ounce (30 ml) heavy cream
  • ½ ounce (15 ml) lime juice
  • ½ ounce (15 ml) lemon juice
  • 1 ¼ ounce simple syrup
  • 1 ounce (30 ml) chilled soda water
  • ¾ ounce (22.5 ml) egg white
  • 2 or 3 drops orange-flower water

Add all ingredients except the soda water [into shaker]. Without adding ice, shake viciously for 5 or 10 seconds to activate the foam. Add ice, shake for another 30-45 seconds (or longer if possible) and strain into chilled Collins glass. Top with soda water.

French 75:
For a famous drink, the French 75’ history is surprisingly difficult to uncover. However, the drink—named after France’s ubiquitous, quick-firing field gun during World War I, the 75mm Modèle 1897, also used by the US Army—is an American one; certainly, it’s in America that it first sees print, in 1927. The combination was said to have such a kick that it felt like being shelled with the powerful French 75mm field gun. We like ours with Tanqueray No.Ten but when you are in New Orleans head over to Arnauds French 75 bar and try one with Cognac instead.

  • 1 ounce (30 ml) Tanqueray No.Ten
  • ½ ounce (15 ml) lemon juice
  • ½ ounce (15 ml) simple syrup
  • 4-5 ounces (120-150 ml) chilled brut Champagne.

Shake gin, lemon juice and simple syrup well with ice. Strain into a highball glass full of Fresh ice. Top off with Champagne and stir once or twice.