Brustman Carrino Public Relations
When diners step into Compère Lapin in New Orleans' Warehouse District, they know they're getting a first-class meal. With former Top Chef runner-up and Fan Favorite Chef Nina Compton at the helm, the menu is a combination of Compton's culinary résumé and Caribbean upbringing with a touch of the Crescent City's soulful cuisine. The food alone is enough to draw visitors from far and wide, but Compère Lapin isn't a one-woman show. In the words of Head Bartender Abigail Gullo, "We are a restaurant/bar and our cocktails are tailor made to ensure that our diners' experience of eating and drinking are in complete harmony." It is that sentiment that has garnered the restaurant critical acclaim including a rave review in The New York Times, Top 10 Winner of Playboy's Best New Bars in America 2016 and "Best New Restaurant" nods by The Times-Picayune and New Orleans Magazine.
Gullo is the New York City transplant who made a home, and a name, for herself in the Big Easy when she joined SoBou as head bar chef in 2012. The former off-Broadway singer and actress' creative cocktails have been widely recognized in national and international competitions, as well as in the media. Her margarita won People's Choice at the 2010 Tales of the Cocktail, and her drinks have been featured in The New York Times, Imbibe, Garden & Gun, In The Mix, and Food & Wine magazine among others. Gullo was named Eater New Orleans' "Bartender of the Year" in 2014; winner of Heaven Hill Brand's "Bartender of the Year" 2016; and winner of Tullimore Dew's "Best Bartender Stories."
Since taking on the role as head bartender at Compère Lapin, Gullo has brought her progressive and forward-thinking mixology approach as a complement to Compton's dishes that also packs a punch on its own. As a true student of the craft, Gullo takes pride in her vast knowledge of spirits and flavors, injecting history and stories into every sip, leaving visitors thirsty for more.
Gullo's philosophy combines classic techniques with seasonal flavors and contemporary trends, while staying true to New Orleans' rich cocktail culture.
The newest additions to the drinks menu include:
Southpaw Swizzle featuring oloroso sherry, aged cachaça, honey and local citrus - from satsumas and kumquats to lemons, limes and grapefruit. Gullo takes advantage of South Louisiana's fresh citrus season, many of which come from her own backyard.
Inspired by one of Gullo's favorite sherry cocktails, The Adonis from the Savoy Cocktail Book, Compère Lapin's Gentleman Caller is a light aperitif cocktail consisting of Aperol, Fino sherry, Genepy and gin. The bitter full brightness from the Aperol and Genepy opens up the flavor receptors, making this the perfect pre-meal cocktail. Sherry is one of the world's oldest wines, created to accompany and enhance any dining experience - making it an often-used ingredient in many of Compère Lapin's drinks. "I particularly like using sherry in cocktails," says Gullo. "Sherry has a vast array of flavor and style, and it pairs great with any spirit."
A more unique take on a classic aperitif is the Chin Music, an elegant combination of Irish whiskey, dry vermouth, ginger liqueur, absinthe, lemon, topped with a sprig of fresh thyme. "Like the dangerous warning pitch it is named for, you can have a few of them without getting hurt," says Gullo.
The Louisville Slugger is a winter twist on the evergreen Old Fashioned, highlighting bourbon, split with a base of unaged apple brandy from Louisville, Kentucky, chicory liqueur and smoked vanilla tea syrup, made in-house from smoky Lapsang Souchong tea and vanilla beans.
The Holy Trinidaiq combines winter baking spices with tropical flavors, paying homage to Compton's Caribbean background. A variation of a Trinidad Sour, the drink is a mixture of Coconut Rhum Agricole liqueur from Martinique and a full half-ounce of Angostura bitters with a splash of lime. A favorite of the masses, the Holy Trinidaiq can also be found on Jeff "Beachbum" Berry's renowned cocktail app, Beachbum Berry's Total Tiki.
An original cocktail using America's spirit, rye whiskey, the Wry Smile combines rye, rhubarb, Sweet Vermouth, sherry and Grand Poppy, a bitter liqueur from California. "That touch of bitterness bounces on the palate and gets your mouth ready to receive food," says Gullo. "The Wry Smile also honors Chef Nina's Italian influence and is a wonderful pairing with the restaurant's cuisine."
The Duchess Sighs is Gullo's take on a French 75 with Armagnac, Amaro Averna and Grand Poppy, a California bitter liqueur, topped with bubbles and golden fennel.
One of the latest additions to Compère Lapin's cocktail program is the rotating roster of handcrafted frozen daiquiris. New in time for Mardi Gras are two varied daiquiris, both paying homage to some of the team's favorite Mardi Gras krewes. A Muse Bouche is the refreshing passionfruit Mai Tai with rum, passionfruit, orgeat, an almond and rose-scented syrup, orange, dry Curaçao and Aperol, garnished with mint and edible gold glitter; and The Rolling Elvi is a dark rum concoction with banana, coconut, coffee and a peanut butter and chocolate garnish. Guests can sit at the bar and enjoy it in a footed pilsner glass or take the party on the road with one of the restaurant's Bunny Lapin Geaux Cups.
At Compère Lapin, Gullo continues to push the envelope, matching Chef Compton sip for bite.
About Compère Lapin
Compère Lapinis is located in the Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery at 535 Tchoupitoulas Street, in New Orleans' Warehouse District. The restaurant serves lunch daily from 11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m., Happy Hour Monday - Friday 3 p.m. - 6 p.m., and dinner nightly from 5:30 p.m. - 11 p.m. Valet parking is $5 and ample municipal parking is available. For more information or reservations, call (504) 599-2119, visit www.comperelapin.com or follow the restaurant on Instagram and Twitter @CompereLapin and Facebook at www.facebook.com/Compere-Lapin.