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Cocktails at Grand Isle, New Orleans' downtown seafood dining destination, just got more exciting with the recent appointment of Drew Clowney as Beverage Director. Crowley has just introduced a new cocktail program certain to impress even the most discerning imbiber.

"Drew's simple yet refined approach to cocktail making and his friendly, laid-back personality made him the perfect person to helm Grand Isle's bar program. We're thrilled to have him on the team," says Managing Partner Jeff Hof.

In keeping with Executive Chef Ryan Haigler's culinary style at Grand Isle - elevated dishes using locally sourced ingredients rendered in a fun and approachable fashion - Clowney ensures his crafted concoctions delight, intrigue and refresh.

A native of Oxford, Mississippi, Clowney started bartending at 18 at his sister's local watering hole while attending college as a journalism major. Upon graduation, he worked as a sports writer until he realized he was better suited behind a bar than behind a desk. A job offer at James Beard Award-winning Chef John Currence's City Grocery was the perfect remedy and Clowney spent the next five years as Bar Manager, developing cocktail menus, maintaining inventory and overseeing all beverage operations.

Wanting to expand his skillset, Clowney took a position at Yalobusha Brewing, to learn the ins and outs of distribution. In 2012, he moved to New Orleans where he launched distribution for the Mississippi-based craft beer.

Now at Grand Isle, Clowney is once again behind the bar creating fresh, straightforward cocktails to complement the restaurant's seafood-centric menu. "I like to create cocktails that are flavorful, balanced and accessible. I don't want someone to have to pull out a dictionary to understand what's in the drink," he says with a slow southern drawl. "Tuesdays and Fridays are development days so if Chef has kumquats or great looking Meyer lemons in the kitchen than that's my inspiration that day." Clowney also uses herbs from the restaurant's on-site herb garden to create syrups, infusions and shrubs.

New signature cocktails ($9-$12) include wintertime concoctions such as BBC Punch - bourbon, brandy, and cognac with vanilla bean, winter spices and fresh pineapple juice; and the Drunk Uncle - Bulleit rye whiskey, egg whites, Meyer lemon and Dumante pistachio liqueur. Creative libations include the Albuquerque - smoky mezcal with honey, lime and a house made heirloom rainbow carrot and candied ginger shrub; Grand Isle Pimm's Cup - Kru cucumber vodka, Pimm's No. 1, freshly squeezed lemon juice, topped with ginger ale; and the Carterhead Cuvée - Hendrick's gin, house made cranberry-satsuma-rosemary shrub, and aperol, topped with Roderer Estate Champagne. Of course, Grand Isle's signature cocktail The Awakening - pear vodka, lemon, orange flower water, topped with Roederer Estate - remains on the menu and is inspired by Kate Chopin's novel set in Grand Isle, Louisiana.

Guests can accompany new cocktails with a variety of new dishes from Chef Haigler including Raine's Farm Wagyu Beef Sirloin with turnip puree, braised rapini and crab roe butter and Chili Butter Baked Gulf Fish with popcorn rice cake, braised Covey Rise greens and heirloom tomato sofrito.

Guests can get a taste of what's new at the Grand Isle Bar at Happy Hour, Monday through Friday from 4PM to 6PM with half-priced draft beer, house wine-by-the-glass and signature craft cocktails, as well as 75 cent oysters on the half shell and half-pound of boiled U-10 shrimp for only $7.



Grand Isle is located at 575 Convention Center Boulevard, on the Fulton Street promenade in New Orleans. Lunch and dinner served 11AM - 10PM Sunday through Thursday; 11AM - 11PM Friday and Saturday. Happy Hour is Monday through Friday 4PM - 6PM. $3 discounted parking is available in the Harrah's parking garages with validation. Telephone: (504) 520-8530;