This is the very last installment of the New Orleans Travel Guides (I’m sad to see it end, trust me!), and it’s all about the very cool cocktail variety and history that NOLA has to offer!
If you’re interested in a bite to eat before, during, or after your cocktail make sure you check out my post on eating in New Orleans!
You can also learn more about some of the stops mentioned in this post, and much more in my New Orleans Surprise post!
Whether you’re a cocktail connoisseur or a total novice, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant city!
NOLA Cocktails 101:
A great option if you’re a newbie when it comes to cocktails, be it history, or just enjoying them, is a Cocktail Walking Tour! We took this one, and we had a very knowledgeable and charismatic guide take us to some of the best spots in the city to enjoy libations of all kinds! It’s a great way to booze it up on a time budget (great for those long-weekend visitors), and perfect if you’re a fan of learning about the origins of a drink and not just it’s alcohol content. We payed a fee for the tour, and our first beverage was included at the meeting point, and then we paid for our own drinks as we went from place to place from there. This was a nice way to pace ourselves and ensure we drank what/as much as we’d like to.
Historic Spots for Cocktails:
The Carousel Lounge (at the Hotel Monteleone):
This historic bar has a line forming even before they open each morning! We stayed at this hotel, and waited until we passed by and saw a couple of empty seats before we ever ventured in. The bar stools actually rotate around slowly in a carousel fashion, and the drinks are delicious! We opted for an original pineapple daiquiri (shaken), and a classic Vieux Carrè! These were definitely the pricier beverages in the city, but for the experience, it was worth it! Bonus: the savory snack mix they bring when you sit down!
Pat O’ Briens:
One of the most iconic spots to enjoy a tasty drink is definitely Pat O’ Briens! There are a couple of these in the city, and we headed for the original on Bourbon Street! The bartender greeted us, and tossed us a couple of bags of cheese popcorn, and served up a couple of classic Hurricanes in big white to-go cups! These were the best hurricanes we actually had in the city, and our bartender was awesome! For our next round, we asked him to surprise us, and while I couldn’t tell you what on earth he made, I can tell you it was frozen and delicious! Pat O’Briens mixers are also available for purchase, so you can re-create your faves at home!
The second oldest bar in the city, and the oldest standing bar in America-there’s literally never been a stool there! By this point, I’m not sure what I actually drank there…I want to say it was a Pimm’s Cup (a botanical-infused gin with strawberry and cucumber), but the jury is out on that. It’s worth a stop either way for the history….the bar dates back to the 1700’s, and it’s massive!
Boasting the title as the oldest restaurant in the city, Antoine’s is more than memorable. Ornate dining rooms, and walls plastered with the photos of its most esteemed celebrity guests over the years, there is no shortage of history and charm here. It’s a must-see for wine enthusiasts too, with a 150′ long wine cellar, that has a separate window from the outside of the restaurant so people walking by can peek in! We enjoyed a French 75 (aka amazing champagne cocktail) in the bustling bar at the end of our tour around the restaurant, and it was delightful! Pro tip: Ask how much that bottle of wine will cost with dinner….bottles are as expensive as $10,000!
Other Awesome Spots for Cocktails:
Excellent craft cocktails, and a great menu of small bites or even pre-fixe lunch options to accompany them! Fresh ingredients, awesome herbal/fruit garnishes, and a most charming bartender to round out the whole experience! Pro tip: Try the Andouille sausage and apple beignets. You won’t be sorry! The pork rinds with house cajun seasoning are also a cheap and tasty treat!
Head upstairs to the bar, with a great view and a great cocktail menu! the atmosphere is fun and casual, despite the restaurant looking pretty damn impressive by all accounts! Grab a cup of gumbo, while you’re there! The happy hour menu is legit!
Another fun find, not right in the heart of the French Quarter…but just a quick Uber ride away! Excellent desserts, and impressive cocktails! We tried the Hot Buttered Rum, and a fruity concoction called a “Sneaky Bastard” (or good reason-taste can be deceiving) with dessert!
Have you ventured through New Orleans and all the delectable drinkables it has to offer? Tell me all about it in the comments! And don’t forget to pin this post for later!!