Nobody does craft cocktails quite like the Crescent City. During your next night out in New Orleans get a group of your friends together for an iconic bar crawl featuring some of the best of the best in the city’s cocktail scene. Create your own experience with the most famous New Orleans cocktails and our favorite places to order them below. And if you decide you’d rather sit back and let the pros guide you, book a New Orleans cocktail tour here.
Widely considered America’s first mixed drink, the Sazerac is easily one of New Orleans’ most iconic cocktails. Whether you prefer rye whiskey, cognac or bourbon, no Sazerac is complete without absinthe, Peychaud's Bitters and a twist of lemon. While the beloved beverage was created on Royal Street, one of the best places to order a Sazerac today is at the Sazerac Bar inside of the Roosevelt Hotel. This cocktail is so truly iconic that it has its own museum, the Sazerac House, where you can learn more.
Nothing marks the holiday season in New Orleans quite like a Brandy Milk Punch. Made with brandy, whole milk, powdered sugar, topped with nutmeg and served on the rocks, this iconic drink is rich and sweet. You can order them year round at several bars across the city, but some of the best Brandy Milk Punch comes from Brennan’s. This sweet sip pairs perfectly with their selection of breakfast and Sunday brunch entrees.
Since World War II, this legendary cocktail has been storming the streets (and bars) of New Orleans. The iconic Hurricane is the first thing many visitors near and far are hoping to get their hands on when they land. Refreshing and strong, Hurricanes are made with both light and dark rum, passion fruit, orange and limes juices and garnished with an orange slice and cherry on top. Hands down, the best place to order an authentic New Orleans Hurricane is Pat O’Brien’s. Don’t forget to grab Pat’s signature hurricane mix so you can enjoy the classic NOLA cocktail no matter where you are.
It’s no secret that New Orleans is a city filled with French influence. In addition to beloved beignets, the world-renowned French Quarter, and much more, the Crescent City has also clung closely to an iconic cocktail with European roots: the French 75. Made with champagne, gin (or cognac) and a hint of lemon this cocktail is simple, yet satisfying. Order a stellar French 75 at cocktail’s namesake bar inside of Arnaud’s Restaurant. Make sure to pair it with a plate of their truly addictive soufflé potatoes–a snazzier version of French fries.
There’s nothing more iconic than a cocktail named after the French Quarter–the Vieux Carre cocktail. This strong sipper takes a hint from the Sazerac, featuring rye whiskey and Peychaud’s bitters, but then throws cognac, sweet vermouth, Benedictine and Angostura bitters into the mix. And while you’ll find this classic on menus across the city, the best place to try it is at the very place it was invented in 1938–the ornate and whimsical Carousel Bar at Hotel Monteleone.
Made with Pimm’s No. 1 and finished off with lemonade and Seven-Up, the Pimm’s Cup was originally invented in a London oyster bar in the 1840s, but became so popular in New Orleans during the 1940s that many locals claim ownership over the cocktail. Although this low-ABV and refreshing drink is simple enough to be made right at home, the best place to get an authentic New Orleans Pimm’s is in the very location where it first popped up on New Orleanians’ radars–Napoleon House. Order a Pimm’s and a muffuletta for a classic combo.
Louisiana Governor Huey P. Long made this frothy cocktail popular in the late 1920s. In order to get the right amount of foam, the recipe calls for the bartender to shake the cocktail by hand for about 15 minutes–it's a labor of love (not to mention, a bit of an upper-body workout). You can find it (along with a whole slew of other classic NOLA cocktails) on the menu at Baroness in the CBD. You can also snag an original one from the Sazerac Bar.
The absinthe frappé was first created right here in New Orleans at the Old Absinthe House. In 1874, Cayetano Ferrer invented the icy cocktail, which became a favorite for Mark Twain and Oscar Wilde. The refreshing, but strong, drink may knock your socks off.
This flaming cocktail is truly one of a kind. Meaning "Devilishly Burned Coffee" in French, the drink is just that with brandy. It was invented at Antoine's Restaurant in the late 1880s, but you can also enjoy it at Arnaud's and Galatoire's as well. When ordered, the waiter will put on a show right before your eyes.
Frozen daiquiris are a staple in Southeast Louisiana. You can find them at drive-through daiquiri shops, in many spots around the French Quarter, and even in craft cocktail form at a number of cocktail lounges and restaurants across the city. One of the most iconic versions is the Voodoo Daiquiri (or, as most people know it, "purple drink"), which comes from Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop in the French Quarter. The bar, which is said to have been built sometime between 1772 and 1732 has a rich and storied history. It's even believed to have at least one ghost. Whether or not that's true is up for debate, but one thing that can't be contested–this grape-flavored concoction is made with bourbon and grain alcohol, so be sure to sip slowly and enjoy responsibly.
Not only are these cocktails truly iconic, but the bars they’re found at also have a hidden and unique history. Learn more about New Orleans’ most famous and historic bars.