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Food & Drink

GoNOLA Tops: Easy, Breezy Summer Cocktails

These warm weather-approved cocktails (based on your liquor of choice) will have you wishing summer lasted all year long.

sacred herb
The Sacred Herb from Cane and Table. (Photo: Rebecca Todd)

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

The Mezcal-based Paloma from Baru. (Photo via Baru Bistro & Tapas on Facebook)

Tequila

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.

St. Joe’s Bar’s blueberry mojito is a local favorite. (Photo: Paul Broussard)

Rum

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.

The Pontchartrain Hotel’s Hot Tin has refreshing vodka drinks — and one of the city’s best views of downtown. (Courtesy photo)

Vodka

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.

Barrel Proof has a bevy of refreshing, bourbon-based cocktails. (Photo courtesy of Sharon Pye Photography)

Bourbon

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.

Bar Frances. (Photo: Paul Broussard)

Gin

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.

A bottle of bubbly and champagne sabayon dessert at Effervescence. (Photo: Paul Broussard)

Sparkling/Champagne

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!

Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop. (Photo: Paul Broussard)

Frozen

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.

Emily Smith is a native New Orleanian and Uptowner who loves sharing her passion for food with others. When she’s not blogging about culinary adventures, she can be found snapping food photos, running alongside the streetcars on St. Charles Avenue, or hovering over a steaming hot bowl of phở at her favorite Vietnamese restaurant. She also firmly believes that nothing says, “I love you” like a dozen... donuts. Follow her on Instagram at @fleurdelicious_nola

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