Mixology Monday: New Orleans

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I spent the week leading up to Tales of the Cocktail revisiting the Vieux Carré cocktail, which was created at the Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone by bartender Walter Bergeron in 1938. I tried several of the recipe variations out there on unsuspecting customers all week long, perfecting the Vieux Carré before getting on the plane and heading to the Carousel Bar to have one for myself.

Okay, so the Vieux Carrés I found at the hotel weren’t that great. But the novelty of being able to walk into a bar and ask for this venerable old drink was enough to keep me satisfied.

One of the first things people asked me upon my return to work was, “How were the Vieux Carrés at the hotel?”

“Okay,” I’d reply, “but I think ours are better.”

My over-confidence came around and bit me on the backside when I realized that I hadn’t ordered enough Benedictine to make more than a handful of drinks that first night back. Fortunately I’m a resourceful lad from time to time, and I reached for the bottle of Strega to stand in for Benedictine. Switching out apple brandy for the cognac and some housemade cinnamon tincture in place of the bitters, I’d inadvertently built a drink for our coming fall drink menu…

I’m going to start breaking these Mixology Monday posts into two parts, the second half containing the bit about the actual drink (let’s see how that works). Continue reading below, or click here for the recipe.

3 Replies to “Mixology Monday: New Orleans”

  • Mmmm, Vieux Carrés.

    Just stumbled on this while doing some other historical research and want to note (what you have no doubt since figured out, Jeffrey) that the drink must predate 1938 because it was featured in Stanley Clisby Arthur’s 1937 book.

    (That book was definitely really written prior to 1938 because the Library of Congress got their copies in 1937.)

  • Murf says:

    Just discovered your website looking for things to do in Oregon. I can’t wait to try your version of the Vieux Carre. I started managing a restaurant in the bywater, Elizabeth’s,and the bar really does not get a lot of business, so I have a blank slate to work with, an I am a big fan of edutainment. I would love for New Orleans to rediscover their own drink heritage and use it in this day. thanks for the article. Peace Love and Soul Murf Reeves

  • Kelsey Crenshaw says:

    I love Strega! The history, the bottle, I have a recipe for it and have always wanted to make it. This recipe sounds like it tastes like the name…

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