Bar Hopping in New Orleans
My drink tally in New Orleans outside of what I tasted during Tales of the Cocktail was relatively low. I averaged 2-3 drinks a day during the week I was there. I went to some well respected bars and some fun dive bars as well. I was going to try all the New Orleans classics; Ramos Gin Fizz, Sazarac and Vieux Carre. I did NOT have a Hurricane (sadly?).
After my relatively short flight (just under 4 hours from LA) but awful because an unruly child was kicking my seat the whole time, I desperately needed a drink. Also food. But that can wait, right? I was in New Orleans! It was my first time there and I was just so excited. I hopped over to the Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone.
So the first order of business was a Ramos Gin Fizz. It was still sorta daylight out so you’ll have to excuse me for getting a day drink during dusk. My bartender didn’t seem to mind and probably wasn’t at all surprised.
It wasn’t that frothy but I later learned at a seminar there was never mention of really foamy froth for a Ramos. Still, the drink was all right. A bit tangy. I wasn’t inspired to try a different drink. The revolving bar was spinning quickly and my thoughts had turned to dinner.
Later I would visit this bar several times throughout the week. I had some rather nice Vieux Carres here and relatively easy highballs, notably a lot of Campari & Sodas.
Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone
214 Royal St., New Orleans, LA 70130 — (504) 523-3341
After dinner, I went over to Arnaud’s. I was walking down Bourbon Street and spotted the respected cocktail bar. I was hot and sweaty and so unused to the humidity. We in Los Angeles love our dry heat so going to NOLA was a bit of a shock. I loved my dewey skin but was slightly irritated of the constantly damp clothes. I was showering 3 times a day by the end of the week.
But back to Arnaud’s. I hadn’t really started drinking “cooling and refreshing” drinks yet. I was still on my old man drinks kick. I opted for a Vieux Carre. I am glad it came with ice though I prefer it up. On this night I welcomed the ice.
But what did I do when asked if I wanted another drink? I ordered a Manhattan. Ooops, I really meant to order a Sazarac. My Manhattan was very good though.
I liked the monkey lamps and understated feel of the place. It looked like a classic bar and what some of these new trendy bars aspire to.
I had texted a friend wondering what she was up to and she invited me to d.b.a. where my new friends were also headed. It turned out everyone was there. Well, 40 bartenders I knew from around the country were there. I spent a good 20 minutes greeting about half the bar. By this point in the night, I was getting a teensy bit tired. I had flown all day, barely eaten and now I was expected to party it up since it was my first night in town. Needless to say, the next morning, my only morning meant for sight seeing went out the window. But I wouldn’t have given up on the two Negronis and beer I had at d.b.a. They’re not really a craft cocktail bar but they’ll do the classics and they have a small but nice collection of liqueurs including Chartreuse.
And then the impossible happened. They ran out of tequila.
Well, not impossible when you hang with bartenders.
One night we checked out R Bar for Sailor Jerry’s Block Party. Except we didn’t find the group right away so we enjoyed a drink first at the bar. I got a Negroni which I had to teach the bartender how to make. But at least they had Campari, right?
R Bar – Royal Street Inn1431 Royal St., New Orleans, LA 70116 — (504) 948-7499
After R Bar, we hopped over to Bar Tonique.
I had some high hopes for this bar. Their drinks list was filled with classics. I was going to try one I’ve never had before but some bar patrons confided in me it wasn’t very good. It’s a squarish U-shaped bar and I tried standing on all three sides hoping to get service. The same helpful patrons had told me the female bartender was the better bartender but it was obvious she could not handle the volume of people that night. Eventually we did get some drinks from her and I’m glad we did order from her as the other bartender was apparently green and didn’t know how to make the drinks yet. Still, my Daiquiri was odd. It tasted more like a cross between a Last Word and a Daiquiri. Not bad per se but not really what I wanted.
On the plus side, there’s gambling at Bar Tonique.
I was still hunting for the best Ramos Gin Fizz and though it was evening, I set out for the Sazarac Bar at the Roosevelt hoping to have a fabulous one. Everyone had told me this was the best drink at this bar. Oddly the sazaracs aren’t mentioned as much but they do serve a regular one and a premium one. I met my friends there and they were raving about the Ramos. I got one and shrugged.
What? But EVERYONE loved theirs. So I started breaking it down. It was definitely very foamy and beautiful. But it didn’t have enough orange blossom flavor in it though I later found it at the bottom of the glass. I hadn’t watched them shake it. Did they add the foam later? I wasn’t sure but I did find out a different bartender had made my drink. My friends said I should get another from the bartender who helped them but I was ready to move to the next bar.
Stay tuned for my post on my fave bar in NOLA next; Cure.
Sazarac Bar & Resaurant at The Roosevelt New Orleans Hotel123 Baronne St., New Orleans, LA 70112 — (504) 648-1200
© The Minty 2012