When summer comes around in New Orleans, everyone's on a mission to find the most fun way to cool down. Some say that a sno-ball at Hansen's Sno-Bliz will do the trick, but for those looking for a boozier treat, fear not. NOLA's craft cocktail scene is top tier all-year round, but summertime brings a fresh batch of summer cocktails to enjoy. Here are our picks of the most refreshing, chilled summer beverages & the best places to sip ‘em.
Nothing says summertime quite like a frozen drink, and Willa Jean’s frozen rosé takes the gold medal for most refreshing cocktail to cool down with. Once the weather starts heating up in May and June, expect the restaurant and surrounding South Market District neighborhood to be filled with go cups of this pink slushie drink. Enjoy Willa Jean’s frosé with breakfast or brunch, weekend or weekday (we won’t tell). The cocktail is a simple combination of rosé, ice, and simple syrup and accompanies the restaurant’s famed baked goods surprisingly well.
A staple to any summer day in NOLA is a mint julep. This beverage is a mix of Kentucky Whiskey, simple syrup, mint leaves, and crushed ice. Many prefer to drink a mint julep during a day at the Fairgrounds, watching horse races. But if you’re just looking for the cocktail, we recommend a Mint Julep from the iconic Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone, where you can sit at the bar and (slowly) spin on an ornate moving carousel. Other great places for a Mint Julep include Cure in the Uptown neighborhood, or Salon by Sucré in the French Quarter. Pro tip: if you head to Salon by Sucré, grab a table on the balcony outside for the ultimate New Orleans experience.
The Crescent City is a place where you can order a daiquiri through a drive-thru window, so you could say that these beverages are an integral part of NOLA’s cocktail culture here. If you love a daiq that’s strong and sweet, be sure to check out Queenie’s on St. Claude, a daiquiri and pie shop that calls itself “your best friend in a New Orleans summer.” Flavors here range all palettes, with custom rotating recipes and classic flavors, too. With nightly grill specials featuring steaks and oysters to munch on at outdoor tables, Queenie’s sets the stage for a chill summer day. If you’re uptown and craving a daiq, Bourrée at Boucherie is a great pick as the daiquiris are crafted with all fresh ingredients: think strawberry daiqs with strawberries straight from Ponchatchoula.
This British cocktail made its way to New Orleans in the 1800s and instantly became a core component of the menu at Napoleon House in the French Quarter. To this day, any local will tell a visitor that this venue makes the best Pimm’s Cup in the city (although there’s certainly worthy competition). The recipe includes Pimm’s #1, lemonade, 7-up, cucumber garnish, and of course, lots of ice for a chill. Sip this cocktail on a summer evening before dinner at Napoleon House, or at other French Quarter spots like Kingfish or St. Lawrence.
Two French Quarter haunts are worth stopping by on a summer morning (or afternoon, or whenever) for their frozen Irish coffees. Molly’s at the Market and Erin Rose both serve this cocktail that’s more like a boozy dessert than a drink. We’d advise taking one to-go and grabbing a beignet for breakfast to start your summer day in New Orleans off on the sweetest note.
The Bywater’s tucked away Country Club has it all: a beautiful pool, a restaurant for brunch, lunch, and dinner, and a fully stocked bar. The menu boasts a “Campari Paloma,” a more summery, refreshing twist on the La Paloma that includes Campari, gin, grapefruit, and lemon. Bring your swimsuit and shades to sip it poolside.
If you’re in need of a place that has a little something for everyone, we’d recommend Alto, the trendy Ace Hotel’s rooftop pool, bar, and garden. Everything from the weekly-rotating frozen drinks to the margaritas and poolside snacks are delicious, and you can cool off under an umbrella in the shade or in the beautiful pool.