Rethink the Drink! Another Way to Imbibe in New Orleans
Explore the New Orleans cocktail revolution and sip and savor some locally-loved corners of the city (instead of slam and chug your way down Bourbon St.)...
Sazerac House - A newer home to cocktail history right on the edge of the French Quarter, you'll need about an hour and a half to wander through this self-tour of New Orleans' signature cocktail. Read about the hand in history played by a cognac importer and two apothecaries- one with a passion for his self-named bitters and one with a knowledge of pastis gained from his service in France during WWI, along with some very interesting info on the origins of rum, the whiskey trade and the role coffeehouses played in the conception of the cocktail bar. There's complimentary tastings along the way and best of all, it's totally FREE!
Drink & Learn with Elizabeth Pearce - a tour for any cocktail lover or just folks interested in potable history, Elizabeth is one of the top authorities in the city on cocktail culture & history. Not a bar crawl, you do get drinks with your history, so be sure to eat beforehand. Prep for your tour by checking out her great podcasts on the site, too.
The Museum of the American Cocktail is housed in the Southern Food & Beverage Museum. For the low price of $10.50, you can peruse the artifacts of Southern food culture. Be sure to check out their events calendar to take advantage of cooking classes! Also, a source for more really fun podcasts, including The NOLA Drinks Show.
Lift Your Spirits - a fun, easy read by local historians Liz Williams & Chris McMillian to learn about NOLA history, drinking culture & how trade (and ice) shaped the drinks world we know today. And there's recipes for you to sip a bit of New Orleans at home.
If you want to try your hand at making New Orleans classic cocktails, take a Drink Lab class at Baroness on Baronne St. The 2-hour session includes welcome drinks, cocktail history, skills, tools, demos, and shaking and making cocktails like the Sazerac, Ramos Gin Fizz, and the original Hurricane.
Two distilleries that you might not get a flyer for in the New Orleans tourism office are Happy Raptor and Atelier Vie. Imbibe drinks and knowledge - Happy Raptor takes you on a steal of a distillery tour for just $15 with rum history & tasting, it's a fun side mission (there's also some really great classes if you want to be hands-on). Atelier Vie offers a totally free tour and makes whiskey, rum, gin (definitely try their Euphrosine barrel aged gin), brandy, absinthe (a red and a green variety)... a great idea for learning more about what goes in the glass. Hopefully, you'll like what you try and bring home a bottle to spark memories of your visit to New Orleans. Finally, Seven Three Distillery offers tours & flights of the bottles you see on many bar shelves around town, all named for the city's neighborhoods.
Cheers to all your adventures in NOLA- the city is full of crafty movers & shakers- some of my favorite folks behind the bar include Jewel of the South, Monolito, Loa, Tiki Tock, Atchafalaya & Bar Tonique. You can catch Chris McMillian often at his quiet little bar & cafe Revel that he runs with wife Laura. And new ones open all the time- someone just told me about Fives on Jackson Square... gotta go- my night just became booked!
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