Drink like you’re in New Orleans

Drink like you’re in New Orleans

Experiencing an authentic New Orleans Mardi Gras is a spectacle unlike anything else—a true lesson in all-out revelry that spans weeks—not just a single day. Far from the tourist flooded streets of Bourbon, Mardi Gras season means neighborhoods are lined with families, new friends and old, tailgating evening parades while dressed in purple, green, and gold… and undoubtedly boozing hard. Think you can booze like a New Orleanian on February 27th? Show Seattle how it’s done by indulging in the true spirit of Mardi Gras with one (or five) of these historic New Orleans cocktails.

According to lore, the Haitian born New Orleans transplant, Antoine Amédée Peychaud, set up his own drugstore in the early 19th century slangin’ the cognac Sazerac de Forge et Fils and Peychaud’s bitters to his ailing customers. The concoction was later popularized at the Sazerac Cocktail House in New Orleans and published in one of the first US mixology books in 1862. In Seattle, you can get it at Roux where they serve the Sazerac with James E Pepper Rye, Peychaud's, sugar, and a dash of Absinthe.

Pat O’Brien’s is a local New Orleans institution known for their dueling pianos and world famous Hurricanes. The French Quarter bar was a speakeasy before becoming known for their Hurricanes in the 1940’s. With a short supply of whiskey, bourbon, and scotch, the rum from our Caribbean friends aided in the birth of this well-loved, island inspired cocktail. Get one just like they make ‘em in New Orleans at Kickin’ Boot Whiskey Kitchen where you can order the Pat O’Brein’s Hurricane with rum, vodka, gin, Bacardi 151, amaretto, grenadine, pineapple, citrus.

The oldest bar in New Orleans is pirate Jean Laffite’s Old Absinthe House which was built in 1806 and still stands as one of the most famous places to drink in New Orleans. Although this landmark is tucked deep in the French Quarter and always smells slightly like vomit, it’s hard to denounce the history and that continues to make the bar a destination for locals, celebrities (like Nick Cage), and tourists alike. But their most well-known accomplishment is the Absinthe Frappé which was invented in 1874—forging the way for the little green fairy to enter our lives. Keep this important tradition alive by trying the Absinthe Frappé at Seattle’s Absinthe Brasserie. They do it Seattle style with local Pacifique Absinthe, sugar, and soda.

Pimm’s Cup
New Orleans isn’t shy about taking an idea and making it uniquely their own—I’ve learned that locals like to do things their own way. Enter Pimm’s Cup: The drink was actually born in 19th century London but was popularized in the states when it graced the menu of the historic 200-year-old Napoleon House in New Orleans and becoming a quintessential New Orleans cocktail. Today, you’ll see Pimm’s Cup all over Big Easy menus, so much so that you’ll think this cocktail is native. Get it at Toulouse Petite where the Pimm’s, cucumber, lemon lime, lemon twist is a perfect pair with fried green tomatoes or Creole Shrimp.

Gin Fizz
Louisiana Governor, Huey P. Long, loved the Imperial Cabinet Saloon’s Ramos Gin Fizz so much that he flew bartenders to New York to teach them how to properly shake this frothy specialty the New Orleans way. It’s hard to say if any of these drinks can be made just like they are in New Orleans, but the Fizz at the Burgundian gives the Cabinet a run for its money. Those who are willing to transcend history, mixology, and culture can sip on an Absinthe Fizz with Pernod Superieure, Citizen Gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg white for an unforgettable way to kick off Mardi Gras.


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