The holidays are a time of celebration and there’s no reason your drinks can’t be as festive as the garlands and lights that are in abundance at this time of year in New Orleans. One of our favorite ways to get in the spirit of Christmas New Orleans Style is to try these delicious cocktails from some of the best places in town to drink for the holidays, or any time of year.
The Carousel Bar is always beautifully appointed for the holidays and features an array of cocktails in the jeweled colors of the season. The Joyous Noel sparkles with orange juice and Grand Marnier added to Absolut Mandarin. And for the perfect red and green drink, order Colleen’s Green Apple.
SoBou, in the W Hotel, is one of the newer additions to the cocktail scene. There, Bar Chef Abigail Gullo has crafted an ode to the season in a glass. Dubbed the Mistletoe, it was inspired by the idea of a couple staying up late for the first time on Christmas Eve assembling toys for their child. Abigail wanted the drink to feature Champagne because it is a celebratory moment. She also included tequila, which, surprisingly, is a stimulant and should help to keep them awake. She finishes the drink with maraschino, lime and green chartreuse to create a lovely color.
For some, nothing says the holidays like a hot toddy. Bar Tonique offers several hot cocktails, including a Hot Apple Toddy, made with Laird’s Apple Brandy, St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram, House-made Demerara Syrup, and garnished with a cinnamon stick. Bar Tonique also serves a delicious version of hot buttered rum. Hot buttered rum fans can also find this warm libation at Molly’s at the Market and Cure.
The Roosevelt Hotel is famous for decorating its lobby as a winter wonderland. Visiting the lobby is a seasonal ritual for many New Orleanians. If you are in that number, be sure to stop in the Sazerac Bar for a nip and toast “the most wonderful time of the year.” Their new seasonal cocktail menu features a variety of festive winter drinks, like Santa’s Candy Cane, Mrs. Claus’ Cookie and the Holiday Fashioned, made with Buffalo Rrace Bourbon, Regan’s Orange Bitters, Fee Brothers Cranberry Bitters, apple, orange, clove and simple syrup.
The French 75 Bar at Arnaud’s takes hot buttered rum one step further, using house-made pumpkin or apple butter. Additionally, French 75 is serving Tom and Jerrys through Mardi Gras, which is a wonderful warm cocktail (similar to eggnog) dating back to the 1820s. If you’re not in the mood for a hot beverage, they use holiday-invoking ingredients in cold drinks, such as allspice in their Winter Waltz, which is a rye cocktail in the Sazerac family. The French 75 Bar also serves a tantalizing seasonal Champagne punch, made with Bourbon, lemon juice, spiced satsuma syrup, orange juice and Champagne.
Another must-stop on your New Orleans holiday cocktail tour is at Sainte Marie where Murf Reeves has revamped the cocktail menu including the seasonal Yule Shoot Your Eye Out cocktail. This particular clever concoction was created by manager Natalie Secco which combines Glenfiddich with St. Elizabeth Allsipice Dram and cinnamon.
Serious cocktail aficionados will want to make a trip to Cure to try out some of the libations on their winter menu. One standout on the menu is the Winter’s Pale, created by Rhiannon Enlil. This concoction contains Nardini Mistrà (an anise flavored liqueur), gin, cranberry liqueur, Dolin Blanc vermouth, lime, orgeat, salt, and mint – many flavors of the holidays in one balanced drink. Another one of Rhiannon’s creations with the flavors of fall is Guillotine Joe #2 with El Dorado 5yr rum, Banks 7yr rum , spiced pumpkin, Galliano Ristretto espresso liqueur, old fashioned bitters, and orange.
No matter your holiday predilections, bars in New Orleans have a drink to match your seasonal mood.