Nothing beats the summer heat in New Orleans quite like a cool, refreshing cocktail. Whether you’re perched on a bar stool, seated at a white tablecloth table, or lounging poolside on a rooftop, I’ve got a great list of warm weather-approved cocktails (based on your liquor of choice) that will have you wishing summer lasted all year long.
New Orleans Summer cocktails
Dare to think beyond the margarita at Baru Bistro & Tapas on Magazine Street. Try their El Pepino Picoso with blaco tequila, cucumber water, lime juice, and cilantro and serrano pepper tincture or a Paloma with smoky mezcal tequila, grapefruit, basil, and agave.
Although the frozen variety is quite delicious, once you’ve had a real daiquiri of white rum, lime juice, and sugar, like the one from Cure on Freret, you’ll have a whole new appreciation for this famous, age-old cocktail. Another favorite is the blueberry mojito from St. Joe’s Bar on Magazine Street where fresh blueberries are muddled with mint and sugar then mixed with rum and soda water to create a masterpiece of a drink (and a favorite among locals). Of course, nothing says “summer” like a piña colada, and Cane and Table delivers with its Sacred Herb featuring rum, coconut cream, and Herbsaint. Bonus: it’s served in a coconut.
If sipping delicious drinks on rooftops is your forte, then look no further than The Pontchartrain Hotel’s Hot Tin Rooftop Bar, where drinks like The Skyliner of Cathead honeysuckle vodka, grapefruit, lime, Campari, and habanero bitters are too impressive to pass up.
Even though I prefer my bourbon on the rocks or neat, Barrel Proof’s All The While cocktail, with bourbon, plum brandy, ginger beer, lime, and bitters is something I’ll sip when I want to keep things light. It’s not on the menu anymore, but if you order it, they’ll make it. Another excellent choice is the Fig Old Fashioned from Bouligny Tavern with fig-infused Buffalo Trace and Regan’s bitters.
If you’re a gin drinker, it doesn’t get much better than a classic gin and tonic and Bar Frances on Freret Street makes a mean version with Fever Tree tonic and juniper berries. And I know that it’s popular at Christmas time, but the Ramos Gin Fizz from The Sazerac Bar is perfect to enjoy during the summer months as well. Gin, egg white, heavy cream, orange flower water, lemon/lime juice, and ice are shaken together to create a float-like cocktail that is decadent and refreshing all at the same time.
Purists will love the new Effervescence on Rampart where you can choose from over a dozen half or full pours of bubbly by the glass. Or go for a glass of sparkling wine served with a seasonal popsicle – a true summer staple!
New Orleans is known for its drive-thru daiquiri shops but they’re not the only place you can get a deliciously spiked frozen beverage. At Willa Jean, the Frosé Y’all (a rosé slushie) is basically an answer to all of our prayers. And lest we forget the one and only VooDoo Daiquiri or “purple drank,” as the locals say, at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop on Bourbon. It’s the alcoholic grape popsicle daiquiri of your dreams and an absolute must if you want true local status.