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A Historic Cocktail Tour of New Orleans

A Historic Cocktail Tour of New Orleans

We tour 3 bars that take you back to old New Orleans

New Orleans is a city for good times, great food, and often a lot of drinking. But amid that there is also a lot of history to this Southern city — including cocktail history. In this video we take you on a tour of three bars that boast proud histories.

The first, Napoleon House, gets its name from the original owners' desire to house Napoleon during his exile. That didn't work out, but they do make a mean Pimms Cup cocktail. The bar claims to sell the most Pimms in the United States.

The second stop on our tour is Antoine's, the oldest restaurant in America run continously by the same family. They have served presidents, popes and movie stars, but along the way they also became known for their cocktails. We recommend trying the Sidecar.

The last stop is The Court of Two Sisters, another old building teeming with history. It gets its name from the two sisters who ran a shop there in the 19th century. Today, you can pick up a Bayou Bash cocktail from this final stop!

A Drinker’s Tour: New Orleans

Drinking in New Orleans is a dangerous proposition. One cocktail quickly leads to a second, and then a third, until you find yourself closing down Bourbon Street and wandering back to your hotel as the sun comes up. This is a familiar phenomenon for anyone who has attended Tales of the Cocktail, the city’s annual cocktail festival, or has just spent time in the Crescent City. Because, in addition to hundreds of great bars and restaurants, New Orleans cocktail culture runs deep. The city brought us classic favorites like the Sazerac and Vieux Carre, and is home to some of the country’s best, oldest and most important drinking establishments.

So, there’s no shortage of options for spending time in the city. The hard part is narrowing things down to a manageable list of must-visit spots that give you a varied experience. For some inspiration, these are nine great places to drink (and eat) in NOLA.

Beignets and strong chicory coffee have been a hangover-eradicating New Orleans tradition at Café Du Monde since 1862. Few things taste better first thing in the morning than a plate of these pillows of hot fried dough, heavily dusted in powdered sugar. The French Market location is also open 24 hours a day if you have a late-night craving.

New Orleans is famous for drinks like the Sazerac and Ramos Gin Fizz. But if you’re looking for tasty, original cocktails, head to Cure. The Uptown bar employs some of the city’s finest mixologists, who are creative geniuses behind the stick. Order from the impressive menu, or ask the barkeeps to make you something with one of the hundreds of bottles lining the back bar.

No matter what time you stumble into Daisy Dukes, you can order almost every New Orleans classic comfort food—from po’boys and gumbo to jambalaya. This greasy institution is also famous for serving breakfast 24 hours a day and just might be your savior after a long night.

A world of whiskey and beer await you at d.b.a., just past the French Quarter on Frenchman Street. While the funky jazz bar offers an amazing drinks menu (arguably one of the city’s best), you won’t find any pretension or snobbery here: just a good time.

Stepping into the French 75 Bar at Arnaud’s restaurant is like entering a time warp. The bar has an old-world elegance and a menu of fine cognacs and cocktails, including its namesake French 75, of course. That shouldn’t be a surprise, since long-time bartender and cocktail maestro Chris Hannah runs the show here.

Drink in some history at Lafitte’s, which dates back to the early 1700s. Despite its name, the establishment is actually a fine tavern, and it may even be the oldest building used as a bar in the country. Whether or not that’s true, Lafitte’s has centuries of character to explore as you sit at the bar, so make sure you don’t miss it.

Take a break from your bar crawl for a history lesson. Don’t worry: It’s a drinks-related history lesson. Visit the Museum of the American Cocktail, and check out its collection of vintage glassware, tools and classic cocktail books. It’s a great way to put all those great bars and cocktails in perspective, as you learn more about the history of mixology and the people behind some of your favorite drinks.

A favorite watering hole for locals and visitors alike, the historic Old Absinthe House has been around since the 1800s. There is plenty of history to discuss, but that’s just about the last thing on anyone’s mind as the bartenders pour Jameson shots and cups of cold beer. So settle into a worn bar stool, and enjoy the well-earned atmosphere.

As one of the main players in the modern cocktail renaissance and a co-founder of the Museum of the American Cocktail, Chris McMillian has tended bar all over New Orleans and built up a loyal following. So make sure to go visit him at Revel, the bar he opened with his wife on Carrollton Avenue near Canal Street. Order a bartender’s choice, since, after all, you’re in the hands of a cocktail master, and he’ll surprise you with a well-made drink that’s perfectly matched to your tastes.

When Ben Franklin wasn&rsquot flying a kite in a thunderstorm, he was known to imbibe a Brandy Milk Punch or two. At the very least, the cocktail supposedly dates back to pre-Colonial days, and rumor has it that Ben was a big fan. As the name suggests, it&rsquos made with milk (or cream) and brandy, a little vanilla and simple syrup, and is topped off with nutmeg. A cousin of eggnog, this Southern classic cocktail has spread its hangover-curing charm beyond the holidays and is now more associated with brunch in New Orleans.

Where to get a good one: Brennan&rsquos (pictured above), 417 Royal St., 504-525-9711, &bull Muriel&rsquos Jackson Square, 801 Chartres St., 504-568-1885,

A Historic Cocktail Tour of New Orleans - Recipes

Culture shock rating

Worried we’re going to shock your senses? Relax! We believe part of the fun of travel is immersing yourself in the destination and its culture, meeting the people, and learning what makes the place tick. We’ve got a wide range of tours with something for everybody. The cultural shock rating ranks how different the experience is from most Western cultures. But no matter the level, don’t worry, you’ll have a local, in-the-know guide with you every step of the way.

Consider these tours your 101 intro to a place. Transportation might be private or a very comfortable public option, and the activities are usually visits to iconic sites and locations that are familiar to most Western cultures – but that will still give you fantastic insight into a destination.


Expect to rough it for parts of this tour, whether that’s on a packed public bus or in a local market off the tourist trail. There might be a few language barriers or unfamiliar cultural customs, and you’ll get an experience different from what you're used to at home.

You're out there in the global community! We’re going to take you down streets you’d rarely explore on your own, introduce you to local customs and languages, and take you for a ride in whatever transport is available. Get ready to take it as it comes, whatever comes. There might be a shock, but oh man, it’s worth it.

Physical rating

Worried our tours are too tough? Relax! From leisurely strolls to muscle-burning treks, we’ve got a wide range of tours with something for everybody. The physical grading gives you an idea of how much huffing and puffing you can expect on the tour.

Slow and steady is all you need here. These tours have very limited physical activity, such as walking relatively flat streets, sites, or markets, and climbing in and out of the transport provided.


Not too hard, not too soft, these tours are just right! You can expect a bit of physical activity, but nothing overly challenging – perhaps walking up and down hills, riding a bike for up to 30 kilometers along mostly flat terrain, or jumping in a kayak for a gentle paddle on flat water.

Get ready for a workout! These tours are our most challenging and involve intense walking, hiking, kayaking, swimming, or bike riding. You could be making steep climbs by foot or pedal, or working your core in the water. We recommend you have a good level of fitness to join this tour.

The cocktail history tour with Sophie was packed full of interesting places and fascinating information. The cocktails were excellent, and most of them were new to us. Sophie has a love for the French Quarter that was evident throughout the entire tour, and she was passionate about everything she shared with us.

Mr. DONALD P., USA - 23 Jan 2020

Sophie is an excellent tour guide, and my friends and I really enjoyed our Urban Adventures experience with her!

Mrs. Stephanie A., USA - 11 Apr 2019

Sophie is an amazing guide and the cocktail experience was very well cultivated, each stop had an excellently crafted cocktail with an interesting story to accompany it. These places I wouldn't have visited on my own, so I was glad to have a local to show me. She is a wealth of information and fun person to be around!

Ms. Sarah A., USA - 27 Feb 2019

Tour snapshot

Enjoy some classy cocktail samples in New Orleans&rsquo famous French Quarter and get to grips with the city&rsquos outstanding cocktail culture. Avoid the tourist traps and visit a heady mix of famous spots, historic haunts and hidden gems with us. You&rsquoll learn about cocktail folklore and hear stories about the &lsquoThe Big Easy,&rsquo both old and new, as you sip away at our favorite local concoctions. By the end of this thirst-quenching tour, Urban Adventures is sure to provide you with all the information you need to know about New Orleans drinking culture!

Experience the best travel stories for yourself. Join a local expert and uncover hidden gems on this city adventure hand-picked by the world's leading travel publisher. Lonely Planet Experiences powered by Urban Adventures bring stories to life in the best-loved cities around the globe.


  • Go beyond Bourbon Street and visit historic bars once frequented by pirates, military generals and famous writers
  • Understand how folklore and cocktails collide as you try one of the city&rsquos most famous drinks
  • Sample the Sazerac cocktail, a classic concoction invented here almost 200 years ago
  • Drink like a local and wander through the picturesque French Quarter with a drink in hand
  • Witness the beauty and skill that goes into making one of the city&rsquos most delicious libations &mdash the Ramos Gin Fizz &mdash and then get a taste of this magical drink
  • Each Lonely Planet Experience comes with six-months free access to Lonely Planet&rsquos Guides App which includes over 8,000 destinations guides and unbeatable discounts to Lonely Planet Guidebooks

Inclusions: Local English-speaking guide, cocktail samples and a small snack. Cocktail portions vary throughout the tour.

Exclusions: Additional food and drink, souvenirs, tips/gratuities for your guide.

Schedule details

Jackson Square (next to Andrew Jackson statue), 700 Decatur Street, New Orleans, LA 70116

The end point will be in a central location, close to Jackson Square.

You&rsquoll begin your tour in the most iconic spot in New Orleans, Jackson Square. From here, the best and most historic bars of The French Quarter are all within a stone&rsquos throw. Don&rsquot expect to spend much time on Bourbon Street though. While it has its place in New Orleans nightlife, we will be going beyond the tourist trail to show you what really makes New Orleans cocktail culture unique.

For our first stop we will travel back to the 1700s and visit a bar which used to entertain some of the most eccentric characters in New Orleans history. Here, we will taste a famous drink of the city and learn how it has influenced New Orleans drinking culture today.

In a town bearing witness to many hangovers and a place where it&rsquos socially acceptable to drink at any time of day, it&rsquos no surprise New Orleans has a wide range of delicious dessert-like cocktails. On this tour, we will visit one of your guide&rsquos favorite bars and taste a drink so good you&rsquoll forget there&rsquos alcohol in it.

Next up, we will sample the &lsquoofficial cocktail of New Orleans&rsquo: the Sazerac. One of the first cocktails ever invented, it&rsquos definitely tasty enough to stand the test of time. We will also touch upon the topic of how medicine influenced Sazerac and other cocktails, too.

From here, we will taste another classic New Orleans invention, while exploring some of the oldest bars and restaurants in the French Quarter. We&rsquoll also get a behind-the-scenes peek into a courtyard oasis, a stunning hidden feature that makes these buildings special, giving well-known customers a classy room to drink in, hidden away from plain sight.

Last but not least, we will visit one of the classiest establishments in New Orleans to try one of the city&rsquos most esteemed drinks, the Ramos Gin Fizz. You&rsquoll learn why this drink is original and exclusive to New Orleans and witness your expert bartender making it. After your first sip, you&rsquoll truly understand why New Orleans has been called, &ldquothe cradle of civilized drinking.&rdquo

To conclude the tour, your guide will be happy to suggest even more great local creations so you can continue your tour of the extensive New Orleans cocktail trail.

Additional information

Inclusions: Local English-speaking guide, cocktail samples and a small snack. Cocktail portions vary throughout the tour.

Exclusions: Additional food and drink, souvenirs, tips/gratuities for your guide.

Your Trip: For your Urban Adventure you will be in a small group of a maximum of 12 people.

Confirmation of booking: If you have your voucher, your booking is confirmed. We'll see you at the start point. Get in touch if you have any concerns or require more information via the email address or phone number (business hours only) on your voucher.

Child Policy: Travelers under the age of 21 are not allowed on this tour.

New Orleans Culinary History Tours

Join us for FOOD, FUN, and LOCAL TIDBITS as we guide you through the French Quarter and into some of New Orleans’ most celebrated and historic restaurants including Antoine’s (est. 1840) and Tujaque’s (est. 1856). We are Locally Owned & Operated!Enjoy classic New Orleans dishes at every stop along the way. Discover the difference between Cajun and Creole cooking. Our tour guides are licensed and knowledgeable about the history of New Orleans.

One of the joys of travel is exploring the local culture with the benefit of local insight.

NOLA Cocktail History Bar Crawl

1. Tiki Tolteca

The tour began at Tiki Tolteca (301 N. Peters St), a Latin American tiki bar that opened in the 1980s and bills itself as the first tiki bar in New Orleans.

Here, I met the others in our tour group, along with Ben, our larger-than-life tour guide.

Ben acknowledged that there was no particular reason the first bar of the tour was Tiki Tolteca, other than it wasn't typically busy at 5 pm.

Mai Tai

He brought us each a mai tai (rum, lime, curacao, and orgeat syrup) in a plastic cup.

Consuming alcohol on the street is legal in New Orleans so long as it's in a plastic cup. As a result, many bars serve drinks in plastic instead of glass.

Sazerac (left) and Brandy Crusta (right)

2. SoBou Restaurant

Once we'd introduced ourselves and finished our mai tais, we walked a block and a half to SoBou Restaurant at the W Hotel New Orleans (310 Chartres St).

Here, we had the outdoor courtyard to ourselves.

While waiting for our cocktails, Ben showed us a copy of The Bartender's Guide, a comprehensive collection of recipes published by Jerry Thomas in 1862.

At the time, Jerry Thomas was the most renowned bartender in the United States. His guide became the go-to resource for bartenders everywhere.

It's here that we also learned which ingredients make up a cocktail:

Absent any of these ingredients, and you're not technically drinking a cocktail.

Gin and tonic, vodka and cranberry, and the screwdriver are just three of the many mixed drinks I always thought of as cocktails.


The first cocktail we tried was the Sazerac, which dates back to 1838 when Antoine Peychaud created it in his New Orleans apothecary.

Widely recognized as the world's first cocktail, it was originally made with brandy, sugar, bitters, and absinthe.

In the early 20th century, when brandy became harder to come by, rye whiskey was substituted.

At SoBou, the Sazerac is made with rye whiskey, brandy, bitters, Steen's cane syrup, and Herbsaint rinse. It's garnished with lemon peel and served clean (without ice).

I found the Sazerac too strong for my tastes. I'm not a whiskey drinker, so it's not something I'd order in the future.

Brandy Crusta

More to my liking was the Brandy Crusta, which was invented by bartender Joseph Santini at his New Orleans bar, Jewel of the South, in the 1850s.

The Brandy Crusta is made of cognac, lemon juice, curacao, maraschino liqueur, and bitters.

The rim of the glass is dipped in sugar, and it's garnished with a long slice of lemon peel.

By this point, our merry group was getting along well. As you can tell from the photo above, there weren't a lot of us.

There were two sisters, a couple, myself, and our guide Ben (far right). A few others had signed up, but couldn't make it.

3. Tujague's Restaurant

Our third stop of the night was a 10-minute walk away.

Founded in 1856, Tujague's Restaurant (823 Decatur St) is New Orleans' second oldest restaurant.

Tujague's mid-19th-century cypress bar, imported from Europe, lacks stools. It's standing room only, just as it has always been.


It's here that the grasshopper was invented in the early 20th century.

The cocktail is made by shaking equal parts creme de menthe and creme de cacao, heavy cream, and ice, and then straining the chilled liquid into a glass.

The result is thick, heavy, and sweet. I generally enjoy sugary drinks, but the creaminess of this was too much for me. It's like a liquid chocolate mint dessert.

French 75

We also sampled the French 75 at Tujague's, which turned out to be my favorite drink of the night. This cocktail is made with gin, Champagne, lemon juice, and sugar.

Unlike the previous three cocktails we tried, the French 75 doesn't have its origins in the Big Easy. The French 75 was created in 1915 at the New York Bar in Paris, France.

By this point, I was having a hard time keeping up with Ben and his storytelling.

4. Bourbon “O” Jazz Bar

Our fourth and final stop of the night was the Bourbon “O” Jazz Bar at the Bourbon Orleans Hotel (717 Orleans St), a mere five-minute walk from Tujague's.

The bar is managed by Cheryl Charming, who in 2015 was named Mixologist of the Year by New Orleans Magazine.

It's right on Bourbon St, and features live jazz nightly, making it an excellent spot to end the tour.

The “Ruffagnac”

We were served the “Ruffagnac” in a plastic cup, which according to my Instagram Stories archive, I liked.

But, I have no recollection of what's in it, and it's no longer on the bar's menu!

Can you blame me, though? If you can reach the end of Doctor Gumbo's cocktail history tour in New Orleans remembering everything your guide has shared, I commend you.

Tours run most nights, from 5 to 8 pm. Check the website for availability and to book your tour.

The cost is $70 per person and includes drinks. If you want to go on the tour, but prefer not to drink, the cost is $35.

Doctor Gumbo also runs a three-hour New Orleans food tour every afternoon.

Where to Stay: The HI New Orleans hostel opened July 1, 2019, on Canal Street, and offers easy access to the French Quarter (just across the street). Dorm beds with privacy curtains and electric outlets, plenty of private rooms, and an on-site cafe and bar are a few more reasons to stay here. Click here to check availability

My trip to New Orleans was in partnership with Hostelling International USA this tour was provided compliments of Doctor Gumbo Tours. All opinions are my own.

75 Classic Cocktail Recipes: On The Menu The Year You (And Your Ancestors) Were Born

These spirited concoctions have truly stood the test of time.

Take a boozy trip back in time, exploring the roots of everyone's favorite social accessory: the cocktail.

The first recorded definition of the word "cocktail" as it pertained to a liquor-based beverage can be traced back to 1806. While the origin of the word is widely disputed, cocktail connoisseur David Wondrich notes that one story attributes the moniker to the practice of administering ginger suppositories to horses, which would cause the animal to "cock up its tail and be frisky."

Another myth states that back in New Orleans, during the early years of the cocktail's birth, bartenders would use a double-ended egg cup (coquetier) as a measuring tool, and by way of the New Orleans drawl, the term "cocktail" made its entrance into the English language.

According to other sources, however, the true origins of the cocktail's story take us just a bit further back.

Wondrich affirms that punch was "the first popular mixed drink to incorporate distilled spirits." And popular it was, especially among the British East India Company's naval crowd, a thirsty bunch likely responsible for its invention. So goes the lore:

Upon discovering that beer could not withstand the temperatures of the cargo bays of the Indian Ocean, sailors began mixing rum with citrus and spices found on the shores of their exotic destinations, and punch as we know it is officially born.

Punch sees its official published mention in 1632, and by the 1650s it becomes the standard tipple of sailors and traders far and wide.

Just before the turn of the century, the milk punch category is said to have been initially created by Aphra Behn, an astoundingly dynamic figure in history who is counted among the world's first females to have an established writing career. What is thought to be the first recorded mention can be found in William Sacheverell's 1688 writings on Iona.

The clear English milk punch starts as a mixture of rum, sugar, and citrus, to which spices and hot milk are added until the milk curdles in the infusion. The drink is then strained until clear. Just for fun, check out Benjamin Franklin's 1763 recipe here.

New York bartender and Atlantico Rum ambassador Jeremy Hawn chimes in with a few factoids on some of the world's first known cocktails: "All of the proto-cocktails that predate the cocktail era were made with rum, which was much more prominent than whiskey and was a driving force of the colonial economy," says Hawn. "Flips date back as early as 1690 and were the first mixed alcoholic drinks aside from punches as far as we know. They originally consisted of beer (or sometimes cider), rum, and either molasses, sugar, dried pumpkin, or another sweetening agent. They were mixed in pitchers or large mugs and heated with a red hot poker called a loggerhead. Eggs were later added to make it a battered flip, and eventually cream, in the most popular versions in the Massachusetts colony."

The milk punch makes a reappearance, this time in the world of published cocktail recipes. Jerry Thomas's official version calls for fine white sugar, one wine glass of brandy, a half glass of Santa Cruz rum, milk, and a small lump of ice, shaken and strained into a large glass, garnished with grated fresh nutmeg on top. A hot version is proposed directly beneath, omitting the ice cube and swapping out cold milk for hot. Several variations follow.

Hawn takes us to the next phase of the cocktail's early stages, which made way for concoctions still found on bar menus across the world today. "Grog came next, which was originally just rum diluted with water until they started calling for lime juice and sugar, making it a precursor to the Daiquiri." According to Hawn, grog was rationed by law to British Royal Navy sailors twice a day, and was hailed as a remedy for scurvy.

The sherry cobbler is thought to have been invented around the 1820s, with its first written mention in 1838 in a Canadian woman's diary entry about her travels in America. The simple drink is composed of sherry, sugar, and citrus, which is shaken and served over crushed ice. The cobbler is also credited with the origin of the use of straws in cocktails.

The British soldiers are at it again, this time inadvertently creating one of the most famous gin cocktails of all time by mixing gin with their daily ration of quinine tonic, which was used to prevent malaria. The gin and tonic directly spurs a significant spike in demand for quinine, boosting the market for years and years to come.

English restaurateur James Pimm launches his No.1 Cup (a gin-based liqueur with a proprietary blend of herbs and spices) upon the realization that his patrons "stayed longer when they sipped, rather than slugged, their gin." This was served in small tankards on ice and marketed as a health tonic.

New Orleans apothecary owner Antoine Am éd ée Peychaud develops a "secret family recipe" for a gentian-based cocktail flavoring, or aromatic bitters. The Haitian-American was known to regularly serve a brandy toddy or two to his friends, in which he used these bitters as a signature ingredient. Peychaud's Bitters are still used today in bars across the world.

The first known mention of a mint julep appears in Captain Frederick Marryat's Second Series of a Diary in America, in which he describes the process and properties of a "real mint julep" as such: "Put into a tumbler about a dozen sprigs of the tender shoots of mint, upon them a spoonful of white sugar, and equal proportions of peach and common brandy, so as to fill it up one-third, or perhaps a little less. Then take rasped or pounded ice, and fill up the tumbler. Epicures rub the lips of the tumbler with [sic] a piece of fresh pineapple, and the tumbler is very often incrusted outside with stalactites of ice. As the ice melts, you drink."

This recipe eventually evolved thanks to the South (and undoubtedly American derby tradition) into a combination of bourbon, mint leaves, sugar or simple syrup, and Angostura Bitters, served in a tin julep cup.

Lejay, the world's first crème de cassis, is born in Dijon, France. Over the next ten years, the distinctive black currant liqueur found its way into white wine and Champagne glasses throughout the country and ultimately the world, becoming known as the Kir and Kir Royal, respectively.

The name is derived from the mayor of Dijon during this period, who was known to enjoy a glass of white wine with Lejay from time to time.

Bartender Joseph Santini conceptualizes the Brandy Crusta at popular New Orleans Joint Jewel of the South. His relatively complex drink calls for cognac, Grand Marnier, maraschino, sugar or simple syrup, fresh lemon juice, and Angostura bitters. See also Sidecar, its simplified cousin (1948).

The Sazerac gains popularity amongst New Orleans imbibers, calling for Sazerac-de-Forge et Fils French brandy and Peychaud's Bitters. An absinthe rinse is later added, and American rye whiskey is subbed in place of the cognac. Following a ban placed on absinthe in 1912, Herbsaint quickly took its place as the anise element in the drink &mdash in present day, however, the Sazerac is largely made according to its true roots following absinthe's valiant return to the market.

The Sazerac was named as the official drink of New Orleans in 2008.

Meet the Champagne cocktail, whose first official mention appears in 1855 in a journal by the name of Panama in 1855. An Account of the Panama Rail-Road, of the Cities of Panama and Aspinwall with Sketches of Life and Characters on the Isthmus by Robert Tomes.

In it, Tomes finds himself quite thirsty, but as the water in the area is insufferable, he turns to his friend and asks what he might drink. His friend responds, "A Champagne cock-tail&mdashthe most delicious thing in the world&mdashlet me make you one."

Though we do not know whether his friend actually invented the Champagne cocktail, its first appearance in publication is fascinating nonetheless. Tomes recounts the making of the cocktail in his entry, citing the use of Champagne, bitters, ice, and sugar.

We know that the term "spritz" originates from the time of Venice's Austro-Hungarian occupation, during which the German soldiers would request a "spritzen" of water be added to the local wines in order to make them more palatable. The spritz as we know it today took its form in 1919 when the Barbieri brothers concocted Aperol, a bitter liquor made from bitter orange, rhubarb, and gentian (among other things) in their hometown of Padova. Bartenders began serving a 3-2-1 mixture of dry Prosecco, Aperol, and soda, respectively.

The Gosling family unveils their dark rum, known today as Black Seal, and around the same time, it is said that the British Royal Navy begins brewing beer made with ginger.

One thing leads to another, and the inevitable pair becomes the most popular libation in Bermuda. Its name, Dark 'n' Stormy, is said to have been coined by a sailor who said that it was the "colour of a cloud only a fool or a dead man would sail under."

A hop across the pond brings us to 1860s London, more specifically Brooks's Club on St. James Street, where a dark, somber cocktail is created in mourning as Prince Albert had just passed away from Typhoid Fever. Queen Victoria begins a lifetime of wearing black, and the rest of the country joins her in a demonstration of respect for her late husband, albeit in a different fashion. The Black Velvet is still found in bars across the world, made by slowly pouring Guinness in a half-filled flute of champagne.

The Americano, a crimson combination of Campari, vermouth, and soda, is first served at Gaspare Campari's Milan bar. It is initially called the "Milano-Torino" but later dubbed the Americano as a tribute to the bar's many American patrons. This drink would later serve as the basis for the Negroni.

The earliest versions of the Corpse Reviver begin appearing on bar menus across Paris and beyond as a cure for hangovers, and after gaining some traction, the name makes an appearance in magazines and books well into the late 1860s and early 1870s.

The first recipe ( The Gentleman's Table Guide , 1871) is simplified, but Harry Craddock's 1930 recipes are now among the most popular, namely the Corpse Reviver #2. This calls for gin, Cocchi Americano or Lillet Blanc, Cointreau, lemon juice, and absinthe, shaken and strained into a chilled cocktail glass and garnished with orange zest.

We know for a fact that the Tom Collins existed at least before 1876, given its first dedication in the Bartenders Guide by cocktail pioneer Jerry Thomas.

In terms of origin of the actual recipe, Wondrich suggests that a man by the name of John Collins began serving a punch at London's Limmer Hotel around the 1820s or '30s called the Tom Collins as it was made with Old Tom gin. Also in London at the same time, there was an American bartender, Stephen Price, who according to Wondrich is the actual inventor of the drink, but Collins happened to be a much more charming fellow, so the credit is often given to him. The cocktail crossed the Atlantic around 1864 in more or less its current form.

Leo Robitschek, Bar Director of New York's NoMad Hotel weighs in: "One of my favorite cocktails is the Manhattan. It's one of the oldest, simplest and most delicious classic cocktails &mdash and it was created right in our backyard at the former Manhattan Club on 26th Street and Madison Avenue.

We know that the cocktail was created in the 1870s, but we aren't sure who actually created it. The legend that I am the fondest of involves Jennie Jerome, a New York socialite, who was throwing a party to celebrate Samuel Tilden's gubernatorial election. The bartender at the time created the cocktail for the event and named it after the club.

Unfortunately, we know that this story can't be true because Jenny Jerome, more commonly known as Jennie Churchill, was giving birth to Sir Winston Churchill in the UK during this time."

Best Chefs of New Orleans Food Tour

Go beyond the basic with this exclusive, “finer” dining Ne wOrleans culinary journey. Four restaurants from award-winning chefs such as Emeril Lagasse and Susan Spicer are all on your menu, making this walking tour a truly one-of-a-kind experience!

Bask in the beauty of the French Quarter as your friendly, expert guide leads you through this progressive-style meal. Gain insight into the unique Creole and Cajun cuisines of this region and learn about each chef while tasting their creations. Each restaurant is magnificent in its own right, and you will sit and relax at each to savor the flavors of several different dishes prepared by the best chefs of New Orleans. Finish your memorable tour in one of the world’s culinary capitals with a delectable dessert and rich cup of coffee.

Seating is extremely limited at just eight guests per tour. Price includes all food and restaurant costs, coffee with dessert, and tour commentary regarding the chefs, foods, and culinary history of New Orleans. You will also receive a colorful program as a memento of this experience with chef bios, restaurant information, recipes, and more.

Other things to know…

Dress code: No cut-off jeans or flip-flops. No sleeveless shirts/tank tops or sandals for men.

While tour guests may not always be able to meet these popular chefs in person during the tour, they are treated to VIP service at each restaurant and will eat foods skillfully invented by each namesake chef.

This is a walking tour (about 0.8 miles total) on uneven sidewalks, so wear comfortable shoes and prepare for the weather (sun, cold, or rain, depending on the season). This tour does not accommodate vegan, fully vegetarian, low-carb, gluten-free, dairy- or egg-free, or reduced-sodium dietary restrictions. This tour may not be a good fit for diets which prohibit both seafood and pork since many dishes contain one or the other. At least two people are needed to run this tour (may be booked separately).

Where Do We Meet?

We’ll meet at the New Orleans Secrets box office at 519 Wilkinson Street (Suite 100) in the French Quarter, just a block from Jackson Square.

While we can offer substitutions for most dishes to pescatarians, we cannot accommodate vegan, vegetarian, low-carb, gluten-free, kosher, or low salt diets.

On this tour, you will walk approximately half a mile.

We can offer substitutions for most dishes to those with shellfish allergies. Please be sure to mention this when booking your tickets.

This tour is not suitable for children under six years old. In addition, there are restaurants which can be quite packed and difficult for a stroller. Depending on the preferred tour date, we may be able to accommodate younger children and strollers on a private tour (please contact us for details).

Not at all! This isn’t a “tasting” tour it’s an “eating” tour! You will have an entire meal by the time the tour is done.

Alcoholic beverages are not included at the stops, although we will make recommendations if you’d like to purchase additional drinks on your own! Ice water will be provided at each stop.

Our tours run rain or shine please bring an umbrella or poncho in order to stay dry during the tour. If the weather is severe enough that it poses a danger, we will call you to explain our decision and discuss alternatives (this is why it’s very important to list a good cell phone number when booking online!). If we cancel a tour because of severe weather, all guests will be given a full refund.

The typical menu will consist of a variety of foods including meat, poultry, dairy, seafood/shellfish, and vegetables. Because we love anticipation (and because the tour may change on a given day because of restaurant closures/changes), we don’t release where we go or what we eat –– except to say that it’s all wonderful!

This tour will max out at 8 guests. We pride ourselves on small group sizes so you’ll never be a part of one of those massive tour groups!

Children 12 and under who share portions with their parents will be $35. If your child is a big eater, then you may want to consider buying a full-priced ticket.

Vieux Carré Cocktail Recipe

Take a spin around The Carousel Bar to enjoy this classic New Orleans cocktail named after the French Quarter.

Take a ride at the Carousel Bar while sipping one of New Orleans famous cocktails.

Immortalized in the writings of Ernest Hemingway, the famous Carousel Bar & Lounge tucked inside the historic Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans holds a special place in the city’s rich history. And not just because it’s the city’s only revolving bar, inviting guests to take a slow spin around the room while sipping their favorite drink.

It also happens to be the birthplace of one of Louisiana’s most classic cocktails, the bold and richly spiced Vieux Carré.

This eye-opening libation was invented in New Orleans in 1937 by Hotel Monteleone head bartender Walter Bergeron, who created the cocktail as a tribute to the ethnic groups that made up the French Quarter at the time. There’s sweet vermouth for the Italians, Cognac and Benedictine for the French, rye whiskey for the Americans and bitters for the Islanders of the Caribbean.

Pronounced a variety of ways by many, but usually “voh-care-eh” by New Orleans locals, the drink’s name translates to “old square” after the city’s famed French Quarter where the bar is located. No matter how you say it, most agree this unique combination of ingredients sure packs a punch. The locals like to say it’s this drink, and not the spinning bar, that may make you a little dizzy.

In fact, cocktail aficionados call this one a “slow sipper” for good reason. Typically made using a 100-proof rye whiskey and 80-proof cognac, the resulting drink is nearly 30% alcohol by the time it’s mixed up, making it one of the strongest drinks at the bar. “For someone who has never been to the Carousel, it’s a special experience,” says longtime mixologist Marvin Allen, who has been shaking things up behind the bar here for nearly two decades. “Whereas most carnival rides have a height restriction in order to ride, the only restriction of the Carousel is an age requirement. You must be at least 21 years old!”

The popular 25-seat bar slowly turns on 2,000 steel rollers pulled by a chain powered by a simple one-quarter horsepower motor. Still featuring its original hand-painted carousel chairs, the bar makes one complete turn every 15 minutes – usually filled with a cast of colorful characters oozing local history. William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, Eudora Welty and Winston Groom are just a few of the historic figures who have enjoyed drinks at the Carousel through the years, joined by the likes of Billy Joel, Rod Stewart, Paul Simon, Dennis Quaid, Nicholas Cage and Quentin Tarantino in more modern times.

Today, guests are still taking a seat at this spinning bar overlooking Royal Street to enjoy that exact same cocktail made using the same timeless recipe.

New Orleans Cocktails: A Sip of Southern Comfort

This spirited pub tour of the French Quarter's most famous cocktails returns after the devastating hurricane season to enchant visitors with great tales of New Orleans past.

Southern Comfort, Ramos Gin Fizz, Sazerac, Herbsaint, and Peychaud&aposs Bitters all got their start in the French Quarter.

So what would be more fitting in New Orleans than a Southern Comfort Cocktail Tour? Our favorite guide, Joe Gendusa, and his pals lead two-and-a-half-hour walking forays, and each one is different.

A Tour of Refined Tastes
New Orleans claims to have birthed the cocktail. On Royal Street, Joe tells about a young apothecary named Antoine Peychaud who created a curative in the 1830s. He often mixed the medicine with brandy and absinthe. Served in a French eggcup called a coquetier, Peychaud&aposs Bitters drink was mispronounced "cocktail."

Amid the chic stores, it&aposs difficult to imagine absinthe bars. In 1912 the licorice-flavored liqueur was outlawed in the U.S. because of its hallucinatory properties. Joe suggests swashbuckling into Pirate&aposs Alley Café after the tour for a Green Fairy, made with Absente (a legal version).

New Orleans&aposs Natives
One of the surprises on Joe&aposs tour is a stop at Arnaud&aposs to celebrate its founder, "Count" Arnaud Cazenave. One of Arnaud&aposs bars, Richelieu, is known for serving a cranberry-and-Southern Comfort drink called the Scarlett O&aposHara.

Joe may take you into one of the Quarter&aposs most famous establishments, Pat O&aposBrien&aposs. During WWII, liquor suppliers had plenty of rum, so bar owners were required to buy multiple cases of rum for every case of whiskey. The bartender served Hurricanes in tall glasses to use up all that rum.

By far, the prettiest bar on the tour is the Carousel Piano Bar and Lounge at Hotel Monteleone, home of the Vieux Carré Cocktail (Bénຝictine, bitters, Courvoisier, and vermouth) and the Southern Comfortini. The bar rotates fully every 15 minutes--just enough time to down an ice-cold cocktail. Like the rest of the Big Easy, it&aposs enough to go to your head.

Southern Comfort Cocktail Tour:
(504) 569-1401, 1-800-535-7786, or Tours: 4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday now through December 4 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday January-February 4 p.m. daily beginning in March. Cost: $18 through December $24 beginning in January. Participants must be at least 21 years old each tour includes a sample drink.

One of the best sources on New Orleans libations is Kerri McCaffety&aposs wonderful book Obituary Cocktail: The Great Saloons of New Orleans. Kerri describes the drinks, bars, and restaurants of New Orleans alongside striking photographs that capture the soul of the Crescent City.

This article is from the December 2005 issue of Southern Living.

Cocktails in New Orleans Bike Tour

We’re fairly simple here at Confederacy of Cruisers…We like to enjoy our city meaning we like to bike, and we like to drink. We like to give tours and take people to out of the way spots and give them a taste of the neighborhoods of New Orleans, and now we found a way to combine all of that. The drink holders are hooked up to the handlebars and we roll on most Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays and Saturdays at 10:15 AM. Sundays may be available by request, usually with a 4 person minimum,just ask.

Le Bon Temps Rouler: A historical New Orleans Drinking Tour Le Bon Temps (lay bahn tahn roolay) is a localized French expression for “Let the Good times Roll”, not just an expression, it’s a way of life here, and now a way to learn about New Orleans long history and fascination with drinking. Your guide, Lara, has been mixing cocktails and serving shots of alcohol and history for locals and tourists alike for as long as I can remember in New Orleans. Up until now you had to stumble into the right bar at the right time to enjoy her charms and stories. No longer is that the case, she’s going to juggle all of her previous skills for you, and she’ll be doing it all while she and you are on bikes. No, it’s not a circus act, it’s Confederacy of Cruisers Booze and Bikes tour.

From the early days of rum smuggling to the years when the French Quarter was so rambunctious that a modern day Bourbon street reveler would either shudder or blush at the cities antics, New Orleans has been a city that can combine the sophisticated with the sleazy. Saucy and sauced has always gone hand in hand and you will hear the tales from the cities past to the present. Of course, you will hear about the drinks and the drinkers that the city has spawned, but also how our city that has been spurred by the drinks themselves. And just as our tales are never dry, neither shall this tour, you’ll taste the cocktails that made us famous at various neighborhood spots for a full all senses involved experience.

And, of course, because it is New Orleans, we can ride from one stop to the other with drink in hand.

Price is all-inclusive, so all you have to do is show up and enjoy the ride. We provide bicycles, helmets (optional, but encouraged), a licensed tour guide, drinks and bartenders’ gratuity. We don’t want you to have to reach into your wallet at all, and you don’t have to order, we take care of all of it for you. The tour price is more expensive than our usual tours, but that is purely to cover the 5 cocktail stops we will bring you to, from elegant to friendly dive bar, you’ll drink it all in.

This tour is recommended to advanced riders. Through much of this tour we will be sharing old, narrow city streets with motor vehicles and high volume pedestrian traffic, so an appropriate skill level is important to your ability to comfortably enjoy this tour.
Oh, and one last thing: you must be at least 21 years old for this tour. Not our fault, you understand apparently there’s a law or something. ID’s are required.

Watch the video: The quintessential cocktails of New Orleans. LOCALS. Travel + Leisure (January 2022).