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Craft Cocktail Bars In New Orleans


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Sarette Munguia



When it comes to food travel, exploring the culinary scene of a city is always a must-do activity. And if you’re a cocktail enthusiast, you’re in for a treat in New Orleans. This vibrant city is not only known for its incredible cuisine but also for its rich cocktail culture. From classic concoctions to innovative creations, New Orleans has a thriving craft cocktail scene that will tantalize your taste buds and ignite your senses.


The history of craft cocktails in New Orleans runs deep. Dating back to the 19th century, this city has been a hub for mixologists who have created iconic drinks that are still celebrated today. It is here that classics like the Sazerac, the Ramos Gin Fizz, and the Hurricane were born, leaving an indelible mark on the global cocktail scene.


But craft cocktails in New Orleans are about more than just the drinks themselves. They are an integral part of the city’s culture, deeply intertwined with its music, cuisine, and festive spirit. From the lively bars of the French Quarter to the elegant lounges of the Garden District, there is a drink for every taste and a story to accompany it.


In this article, we will dive into the history of craft cocktails in New Orleans, explore the importance of these libations in the city’s culture, highlight popular craft cocktail bars, share unique cocktail recipes, and provide tips for exploring the craft cocktail scene in the Big Easy.


So, get ready to embark on a delicious journey as we sip our way through the craft cocktail bars of New Orleans, where tradition, innovation, and the spirit of the city mix in perfect harmony.


The History of Craft Cocktails in New Orleans

New Orleans has a long and storied history when it comes to craft cocktails. The city has been a melting pot of cultures and influences, which have all made their mark on the cocktail scene. One of the earliest examples of a craft cocktail born in New Orleans is the Sazerac.


The Sazerac, considered by many as the oldest known American cocktail, was invented in the early 19th century and is still immensely popular today. It combines rye whiskey, a touch of absinthe, Peychaud’s Bitters, sugar, and a twist of lemon peel. The Sazerac is a beloved symbol of the city’s cocktail heritage and is often associated with the famous Sazerac Bar located in the historic Roosevelt Hotel.


Another iconic creation that emerged from New Orleans is the Ramos Gin Fizz. In the late 19th century, Henry C. Ramos concocted this creamy and frothy cocktail that requires vigorous shaking to achieve its signature texture. The combination of gin, citrus, cream, egg white, orange flower water, and sugar creates a refreshing and velvety drink that has become a classic in cocktail bars around the world.


Of course, we can’t mention the history of craft cocktails in New Orleans without talking about the Hurricane. This fruity and boozy concoction was originally created in the 1940s by Pat O’Brien, a bartender looking to use up surplus rum during World War II. The Hurricane gained popularity, especially among tourists, and has since become a staple in bars across the city. It’s often served in large hurricane-shaped glasses and enjoyed during festivals and celebrations.


Throughout the years, craft cocktail bars in New Orleans have continued to honor these classic recipes while also pushing the boundaries of mixology. Today, the city is known for its innovative bartenders who experiment with local ingredients, infusions, and modern techniques to create unique and exciting libations.


Overall, the history of craft cocktails in New Orleans is both rich and vibrant. From its early beginnings with the Sazerac and the Ramos Gin Fizz to contemporary creations, the city’s cocktail scene reflects the spirit of creativity and celebration that is deeply ingrained in its culture.


The Importance of Craft Cocktails in New Orleans’ Culture

Craft cocktails are not just drinks in New Orleans – they are a cultural phenomenon. They hold a special place in the hearts of locals and visitors alike, and play a crucial role in the city’s vibrant and lively atmosphere.


One of the key reasons why craft cocktails are so important to New Orleans’ culture is their close connection to the city’s history and traditions. Many of the iconic cocktails that originated in New Orleans have become symbols of the city itself. They represent a taste of the past and are a way for people to connect with the rich heritage of the region.


But craft cocktails in New Orleans are not only about preserving the past – they are also about innovation and creativity. The city has a thriving cocktail scene that constantly pushes the boundaries of mixology. Bartenders in New Orleans are known for their passion and skill, and they strive to create unique and exciting drinks using local ingredients and flavors.


Craft cocktails are also deeply intertwined with the culinary scene in New Orleans. Just like the city is famous for its delicious cuisine, it is equally renowned for its incredible cocktails. The art of crafting a cocktail in New Orleans is approached with the same care, attention to detail, and dedication as creating a culinary masterpiece. The flavors and ingredients used in these cocktails often complement the local dishes, creating a harmonious dining experience.


Beyond the physical aspect of the drinks, craft cocktails in New Orleans also embody the festive and joyful spirit of the city. New Orleans is known for its lively festivals, such as Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest, where people come together to celebrate and have a good time. Craft cocktails are an essential part of these celebrations, adding to the sense of joy, camaraderie, and indulgence.


The craft cocktail bars in New Orleans also serve as social gathering places, where locals and visitors can come together to share stories, enjoy live music, and savor meticulously crafted libations. These bars are not just places to grab a drink – they are cultural hubs where the city’s unique spirit thrives.


In summary, craft cocktails hold immense importance in New Orleans’ culture. They honor the city’s history while embracing innovation, complement the culinary scene, and embody the joyful and festive atmosphere that defines the city. So, when you raise a glass in New Orleans, you are not just enjoying a drink – you are experiencing a piece of the city’s vibrant culture.


Popular Craft Cocktail Bars in New Orleans

When it comes to craft cocktail bars, New Orleans has no shortage of options. Whether you’re looking for a historic watering hole or a trendy speakeasy, there is a bar to suit every taste and preference. Here are some popular craft cocktail bars in New Orleans that you should add to your must-visit list:

  1. Arnaud’s French 75 Bar: Located in the French Quarter, Arnaud’s French 75 Bar is a classic cocktail destination with a touch of elegance. The bar offers a refined atmosphere, live music, and an extensive menu of expertly crafted cocktails. Don’t miss their namesake drink, the French 75, a delightful blend of gin, Champagne, lemon juice, and sugar.
  2. Cane & Table: Nestled in the historic French Quarter, Cane & Table takes you back in time with its rustic and tropical ambiance. Known for its innovative take on classic cocktails, this bar offers unique creations that blend the flavors of the Caribbean with traditional New Orleans spirits. Try their Hemingway Daiquiri or the Ti’ Punch for a taste of the tropics.
  3. Cure: Housed in a renovated firehouse in the Uptown neighborhood, Cure is a hip cocktail bar that has gained international recognition. With its minimalist decor and a focus on high-quality ingredients, Cure offers a menu of meticulously crafted cocktails that appeal to both cocktail connoisseurs and casual drinkers. Their classic Negroni and creative seasonal options are not to be missed.
  4. Sylvain: Tucked away in a charming French Quarter location, Sylvain is a cozy and intimate cocktail bar with a speakeasy feel. The bar’s vintage-inspired atmosphere sets the stage for sipping on their expertly mixed libations. From the Old Fashioned to the Sazerac, Sylvain pays homage to the classics while adding their own unique twist.
  5. The Sazerac Bar: Situated inside the historic Roosevelt Hotel, The Sazerac Bar is a New Orleans institution. This elegant and iconic bar is known for its namesake cocktail, the Sazerac, which they have been serving since the 1930s. With its art deco decor and live piano music, The Sazerac Bar offers a timeless experience for cocktail enthusiasts.

These are just a few examples of the many fantastic craft cocktail bars in New Orleans. Whether you prefer a glamorous setting, a hidden gem, or a modern speakeasy, the city has something to offer for every cocktail lover. So, raise a glass and embark on a journey to discover the flavors and stories that make New Orleans’ craft cocktail scene so enticing.


Unique Cocktail Recipes from New Orleans

New Orleans is not only known for its vibrant cocktail culture but also for its unique and iconic drink recipes. These recipes have been passed down through generations, and each sip tells a story of the city’s rich history and vibrant spirit. Here are a few unique cocktail recipes from New Orleans that you can try at home:

  1. Sazerac: Considered the official cocktail of New Orleans, the Sazerac is a timeless classic. To make this iconic drink, you’ll need:
    • 2 oz rye whiskey
    • 1 sugar cube
    • 3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
    • Absinthe or Herbsaint rinse
    • Lemon peel for garnish

    Place the sugar cube in an old-fashioned glass, saturate it with the Peychaud’s Bitters, and muddle until dissolved. Add the rye whiskey and stir with ice until well chilled. Rinse a separate glass with absinthe or Herbsaint, discarding any excess, and strain the drink into the rinsed glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon peel and enjoy.

  2. Hurricane: A sweet and fruity cocktail, the Hurricane is synonymous with New Orleans and its festive celebrations. Here’s how you can make it:
    • 2 oz light rum
    • 2 oz dark rum
    • 1 oz passion fruit syrup
    • 1 oz fresh lime juice
    • 1 oz orange juice
    • 1 oz grenadine
    • Orange slice and cherry for garnish

    Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake well. Strain into a hurricane glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with an orange slice and a cherry. Sip and transport yourself to the vibrant streets of New Orleans.

  3. Ramos Gin Fizz: This frothy and refreshing cocktail was invented in New Orleans in the late 19th century. Here’s how to make it:
    • 2 oz gin
    • 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
    • 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
    • 1 oz simple syrup
    • 1 oz heavy cream
    • 1 egg white
    • 3 drops orange flower water
    • Soda water
    • Lemon zest for garnish

    Combine all the ingredients except the soda water in a shaker without ice and shake vigorously for about a minute. Add ice and shake again until well chilled. Strain into a highball glass without ice. Top with soda water and garnish with a twist of lemon zest. Take a sip, and experience the velvety texture that makes this drink so special.

These are just a few examples of unique cocktail recipes from New Orleans. Each sip transports you to the heart of the city, where the flavors, history, and culture intermingle in a delightful concoction. So, gather your ingredients, channel your inner mixologist, and recreate a piece of New Orleans in your own home.


Tips for Exploring Craft Cocktail Bars in New Orleans

When it comes to exploring the craft cocktail scene in New Orleans, there are a few tips that can enhance your experience and ensure that you make the most of your cocktail bar hopping adventure. Here are some suggestions to keep in mind:

  1. Research and plan ahead: New Orleans has a wide array of craft cocktail bars, each with its own unique atmosphere and specialty drinks. Take some time to research and make a list of the bars you want to visit. Consider factors like location, ambiance, and the types of cocktails they specialize in. Planning ahead will help you make the most of your time and ensure that you don’t miss out on any must-visit spots.
  2. Enjoy the classics: New Orleans is renowned for its classic cocktail recipes. Don’t miss the chance to try iconic drinks like the Sazerac, the Hurricane, or the Ramos Gin Fizz. These cocktails have stood the test of time for a reason and are an integral part of the city’s cocktail heritage.
  3. Embrace the local flavors: New Orleans is known for its vibrant culinary scene, and its craft cocktails are no exception. Many bars incorporate local ingredients and flavors into their drink recipes. Embrace the opportunity to try cocktails that highlight local spirits like rum and local ingredients like citrus and herbs. It’s a great way to experience a taste of the local culture.
  4. Chat with the bartenders: The bartenders in New Orleans are often passionate about their craft and have a wealth of knowledge to share. Strike up a conversation with them, ask questions, and let them guide you through their menu. They can recommend drinks based on your preferences, give you insights into the history of the cocktails, and share interesting stories about the city’s cocktail culture.
  5. Indulge in the atmosphere: Craft cocktail bars in New Orleans are often housed in historic buildings with unique atmospheres. Take the time to soak in the ambiance, appreciate the décor, and immerse yourself in the experience. Whether you’re in a refined speakeasy or a lively French Quarter bar, the atmosphere plays a significant role in enhancing the overall enjoyment of the cocktails.
  6. Enjoy responsibly and tip generously: While exploring the craft cocktail bars in New Orleans, remember to drink responsibly. Pace yourself and stay hydrated. Additionally, it is customary to tip bartenders generously in the United States. Show your appreciation for their craftsmanship and exceptional service by leaving a gratuity that reflects your enjoyment of the experience.

By following these tips, you can make your exploration of New Orleans’ craft cocktail bars even more memorable. So, step into the fascinating world of mixology, indulge in unique flavors, and let the spirit of New Orleans guide you through a cocktail adventure like no other.



New Orleans is a city that captivates the senses, and its craft cocktail scene is no exception. From the rich history and iconic recipes to the innovative creations and vibrant atmosphere, exploring the craft cocktail bars of New Orleans is an experience that will leave you with lasting memories.


Through the Sazerac, the Hurricane, and the Ramos Gin Fizz, you can taste the flavors of the past and connect with the city’s cocktail heritage. These drinks represent more than just recipes – they embody the spirit of New Orleans and its lively culture.


The craft cocktail bars in New Orleans offer a range of options, from elegant lounges to hidden speakeasies, each with its own unique charm. Whether you prefer classic cocktails or experimental concoctions, there is a bar to suit your tastes and preferences.


As you embark on your journey through the craft cocktail scene, take the time to appreciate the local flavors, chat with the bartenders, and immerse yourself in the atmosphere. These details will add depth to your experience and allow you to truly savor the essence of New Orleans.


But while you enjoy the craft cocktails, remember to drink responsibly and tip generously. The passion and skill of the bartenders deserve recognition, and it is important to ensure their craft continues to thrive.


In summary, exploring the craft cocktail bars of New Orleans is a captivating adventure that brings together history, culture, and exceptional flavors. So raise a glass, savor each sip, and let the spirit of this vibrant city ignite your taste buds and leave you craving for more.