If you love New Orleans, Mardi Gras, and all the other fun things associated with this inspiring city along the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana, you will adore this Vieux Carré recipe. This Manhattan-inspired drink takes its name from the French term for the French Quarter (‘old square’), which is the oldest part of New Orleans, and has a delicious Creole-style swagger that hits all the right notes.
Choose a really smooth rye whiskey as the star of the show.
Twist the lemon over the top of the drink to release its essential oils.
Serve with rich chocolate truffles for a sophisticated dessert.
Combine all the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice
Stir well, strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice
Garnish with a cherry or lemon twist, and serve
The tasty backstory of the original Vieux Carré cocktail recipe
Originally invented in New Orleans by head bartender Walter Bergeron at the rollicking Hotel Monteleone in 1937, the recipe for the Vieux Carré cocktail pays homage to the melting pot of cultures that made up the French Quarter at the time. This is where French, African, and American cultures met to create a vibrant music scene, spicy cuisine, and unique vibe that typifies New Orleans to this day.
The city is perhaps best known worldwide for the late-winter carnival of Mardi Gras, which is renowned for lively street parties and colorful costumed parades. Interestingly, the birthplace of the Vieux Carré drink recipe also used to be the hangout of famous authors like Ernest Hemingway and Truman Capote, who very likely sipped this drink while jesting with one another and dreaming up epic new novels.
Tasty variations of the Vieux Carré recipe
If you love amazing Cognac drinks like the Vieux Carré cocktail recipe, the following drinks are also likely to be right up your alley:
Essentially a celebration of rye whiskey, the Sazerac uses the sweetness of sugar and the complex notes of the bitters to build the cocktail and show off the character of the rye, so it’s essential to choose a good one. We love Wild Turkey Rye with its vanilla and spice notes, spicy citrus aroma, and long, supple finish.
For a cocktail that’s whiskey-based, the classy Manhattan is actually surprisingly mellow and sweet. A single sip offers vanilla and oak notes from the rye whiskey, along with the sweet and spicy flavors of vermouth and some bitter notes to finish.
The tempting French Connection cocktail is arguably one of the easiest drinks you could make. The awesome thing about this two-ingredient cocktail is that the combination of Cognac and amaretto makes a far more nuanced and intricate drink than its simple assembly suggests.
When to serve a Vieux Carré cocktail
This slow sipper is a great fit for just about any occasion, but we particularly like to serve it during Mardi Gras celebrations, because it has such strong ties with the wonderful culture and atmosphere of New Orleans. We can also recommend it for:
- After-dinner drinks (great to sip on the porch)
- Quiz nights (use it as a prompt for questions about Louisiana and The Big Easy)
- Bachelor’s parties (super suave and very dapper)