In New Orleans, we drink.
If we are civilized New Orleanians, or visitors who are civilized ladies and gentlemen, we do not drink to extreme excess; that is, we do not stagger down Bourbon Street clutching those proprietary, heavily trademarked tourist drinks that are shaped like a little exploding pineapple that soldiers throw at each other during wars, we do not barf on a fellow tourist (or, God forbid, a native) and then pass out on the street. If all you want to do is get drunk quickly, this page is not for you.
If you want to get slowly and marvelously buzzed while sipping some of the loveliest and finest-tasting alcoholic concoctions in history, then come sit next to me right now.
If you'd like a few non-alcoholic libations -- café au lait and proper iced tea, follow the above link. Otherwise ... may I get you a drink?
Cocktails and Libations of New OrleansWe already know that New Orleans has, ah, quite the reputation for comsumption of alcoholic beverages. A few classics are offered below, and I'll be doing a lot of work on this section in 2001. I've been a born-again cocktail aficionado for the last year or so, and I've got many delights on the way -- both New Orleans-related cocktails plus others we've been working on.
- The Sazerac Cocktail -- New Orleans' greatest and most quintessential cocktail
- Absinthe Suissesse, a fantastic breakfast or brunch drink.
- The Classic Brandy (or Bourbon) Milk Punch.
- Brandy and Herbsaint Milk Punch, perfect for a brunch, the winter holidays or any time there's a chill.
- Café Brûlot: Strong hot coffee with brandy, citrus zest and spices. A Creole classic, and a perfect way to finish a meal.
- Cocktail à la Louisiane: Once forgotten (and now resurrected) cousin to the Vieux Carré
- Crusta: New Orleans in the 1880s; a classic.
- Herbsaint: Pastis-based, house cocktail of Herbsaint Restaurant in New Orleans
- The Hurricane, perhaps New Orleans' most famous (and infamous) cocktail, on which a sea of tourists floats away... this is the original version with fresh juice, not a bottled or powdered mix
- The Mint Julep (An import from the Deep South, which is north of us. Chris McMillian shows you how it's done.)
- Ramos Gin Fizz: Huey P. Long wouldn't leave home without 'em.
- The Roffignac: A 19th Century highball.
- Skylab: You too will burn up over Australia and crash. I don't recommend this drink (At all. Ever.), but it's a funny story. Sorta.
- The St. Charles: Not your garden-variety gin and tonic, but one kicked up a bit.
- The Vieux Carré: from the Monteleone Hotel in the French Quarter (after which the drink is named).
- What is absinthe? And why did I used to get so much dopey email about it? (Psst. It's not a drug. It's just a drink ... albeit one with a colorful and an unjustly maligned past.)
The Big Cocktail Index!The cocktail pages here are under fairly massive renovation, and eventually everything here will be pointed to the site's main cocktail index on my weblog Looka!. All the links below should still work for the time being, but for my main index of hundreds of new, original and classic cocktails, click the above link.
Now, on to the older stuff ...
Chuck and Wes' Premium Cocktail MenuWe love cocktails.
Not just the ones from New Orleans (although the Sazerac is my favorite cocktail in the world), but well-mixed new and classic cocktails that include premium quality ingredients, and fresh juices. (LISTEN UP! Lime juice comes out of a lime, not out of a bottle, and the words "sour mix" are not in my vocabulary.)
We consider cocktails to be a cuisine, and we would no sooner pay top dollar for an amateurishly mixed cocktail by a bartender with two weeks of training in a "bartending school" where they teach you to mix with colored water than we'd pay top dollar for a meal in a restaurant helmed by a chef with two weeks of training where he only learned to "cook" with the plastic food you see in the windows of Japanese restaurants. Cocktails have a long, complex and fascinating history, more or less equal in age to what we now know as fine cuisine (the invention of cocktails certainly having predated Escoffier!), and deserve to be treated with commensurate respect and care.
Resist silly cocktails that people order to say a risqué name rather than because of what it tastes like. Yearn for the days when bartenders took pride in their jobs, used their creativity and ingenuity to create new cocktails, and never gave you a blank look when you ask for a Gimlet or an Old Fashioned. These are some of our favorites, and I hope you enjoy them.
Chuck and Wes' Original Creations
We love to create new cocktails, just as good home cooks and professional chefs create their own recipes for dishes. We're not as prolific as some out there, but we're pretty happy with what we've come up with, and fortunately so are the people to whom we've had a chance to serve them! Give them a whirl sometime.
- The Footloose Cocktail: So aromatic you can smell it across the room! (Wesly)
- The Hoskins Cocktail: An original creation named for our friends John and Fiona Hoskins of Cambridge, England. It's beautiful, tasty and has a spectacular presentation. (Chuck)
- Lillet Tomlin: Three ringy-dingys for this one, and that's the truthhhhhh. (Chuck)
- The Mary Jane Cocktail: A summery delight, created for the wedding of our friends Mary Jane Amato and Chris Clarke in May 2005. (Wesly)
- St. Dominic's Preview: A cousin of the Preview, for Van the Man. (Chuck)
- The Réveillon Cocktail: Apples, pears and spices. The Christmas holidays in a glass. (Chuck)
- The Verena Abbott Cocktail: A marriage of grapefruit and bitters. Perfect for breakfast. (Chuck)
- Homemade grapefruit bitters for use in your cocktails.
- Agincourt: A lovely apéritif.
- The Algonquin: A classic.
- American Beauty: A rosy concoction that'll put color in your cheeks.
- Aviation: Delicious elegance.
- Batida Paulista: From Brazil, a frothy Caipirinha.
- The Bellissimo Cocktail: A signature drink of the Petrossian Bar, Las Vegas.
- Black Feather: A Robert "DrinkBoy" Hess original, evocative of autumn.
- Blinker: Silly name, great drink ... vintage 1934.
- Bloody Martini: A superb savory cocktail.
- Blue Moon: Exquisite. Worth seeking out the rare key ingredient.
- Bramble: Lovely, ginny, fruity lowball.
- Brandy Cobbler: Hearkening back to the days of Professor Jerry Thomas, in the 1860s.
- The Cable Car: A deliciously cinnamony take on the classic Sidecar.
- Chas: Yes, you may call me Chas.
- City: Master bartender Colin Field's cousin to the Footloose.
- The Clover Club: Turn of the (Twentieth) Century elegance.
- Corpse Reviver No. 2: For the morning after the night before. (It's a great drink, actually.)
- Culross: Light and delicious.
- Donegal Sunset: A cousin to the Lillet Tomlin, which we thought of while recalling a Connemara sunset, actually.
- Earthquake Cocktail: Aptly named. (Jeez.)
- Evans Cocktail: What the world needs now is more rye cocktails.
- The Fancy-Free Cocktail: One of my favorite cocktails, almost-forgotten.
- Fin-de-Siècle: A cousin to the Hoskins (and that was le 19eme siècle)
- Francis the Mule: A chilled, coffee-based libation from Dr. Cocktail.
- Gilligan's Friend: Really stupid name, good drink. (Get that ginger infusion ready!)
- Golden Dawn: A classic from the golden era of cocktails.
- Gordon: Superb variation on the classic (gin) Martini, from David Embury.
- The Harold Lloyd Cocktail: House specialty at Lucques in West Hollywood, a Perfect Martini ... with a "twist", although not literally.
- Hearst: Named not for the old bastard, but for the reporters who worked for him. Sort of a sweet Martini, and excellent.
- High Hat: Percussion instrument or Lincoln's chapeau? Dunno, but another nice rye drink.
- Hotel Nacional Special: Straight outta Havana, 1950.
- James Joyce Cocktail: "Come forth, Lazarus! And he came fifth and lost the job."
- Lavender Lemonade: Summery, tart and flowery, and with a kick, of course.
- Leap Year Cocktail: You don't have to drink it just on February 29.
- Lemony Snicket Cocktail: An ... unfortunate concoction (and a Dr. Cocktail original).
- Lillet Cocktail: Well, it's not an actual cocktail, just an apéritif, and a favorite of a famous psychiatrist to boot!
- Man O'War: And they're off! One for the races.
- Martini: Gin. Gin, I tell you. Gin gin gin. With feckin' vermouth, too.
- Millennium Cocktail: By Dale DeGroff for the new one.
- Moscow Mule: Not from Moscow, but still perfect for a sultry day.
- Move Over Cocktail: Get away from me, yer crowdin' me. (England, France, Italy, Denmark and Trinidad join in amazing cocktail alchemy.)
- Negroni: A classic, and one of the most perfect aperitivos ever.
- Le Normandie: The apple of France's eye.
- Chuck's Old Fashioned: Why the feck can 8 out of 10 bartenders not make an Old Fashioned? Let's get with it, people! Here's my own version.
- Old Pal: More rye!
- The "Oriental" Cocktail: Having very little to do with the Orient, but tasty nevertheless. A sibling to the James Joyce.
- Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster: You thought a Skylab was powerful?
- Pastis apéritifs: Be French. Be very French. (Three ways to do so.)
- The Perfect Pear: Crisp, subtle, powerful. A pear with a kick.
- Picon Punch: The national drink of the Basques.
- Preview: Tired of whiskey rocks or Martinis? Go Rat Packin' with this one.
- Riding Lesson Cocktail: That's on a thoroughbred, not on the coin-powered ones outside the supermarket.
- Ritz 75: Colin Field's take on a classic.
- Serrano Cocktail: Named for famed chef Julián Serrano, served at the Bellagio (and now at your house).
- Singapore Sling: A classic; refreshing as all hell, and going back to 1915.
- Straits Jacket: A cousin (once removed) af the Singapore Sling; a cocktail rather than a long drink (and a Dr. Cocktail original).
- Tequila por mi Amante: "Tequila for my lover", a luscious strawberry infusion. I recommend this highly.
- Tequila con Vibora: Umm ... I don't recommend this. At all.
- La Tavola Rotonda: Because Bourbon and pineapple juice is too good an idea for just the Algonquin. (A Dr. Cocktail original.)
- Hot Irish Whiskey Toddy: Cures what ails ya.
- The Vermouth Cocktail: Stunningly good, and very light.
- Widow's Kiss: Calvados and herbals ... fabulous!
Non-alcoholic beveragesHere's how to make the best coffee and iced tea in the world, in this age of burned coffeeshop-chain espressos and lattes, and the vile swill that is Paradise Tropical iced tea, everygoddamnwhere you go ... feh. (Not in Louisiana, though.)
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Chuck Taggart (e-mail chuck)