The Vieux Carré Cocktail is a classic cocktail with roots in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Make it to celebrate Mardi Gras or enjoy it in lieu of an old-fashioned.
Whenever I go out to eat with other people, I love asking everyone at the table what they are going to order.
Some people look up the menu before they get to the restaurant, and go in already decided. But not me.
Am I alone in this? Please tell me I’m not.
We pore over the menus, or maybe that’s just me. I usually am deciding between one or two things, so I ask, “What are you going to get?”
Sometimes it helps me decide. Maybe she’ll let me try a bite of that… If he orders that, then I can get this other thing I wanted…
And other times, if my dinnermates get something I was eyeing, I use it as an opportunity to try something totally new.
That’s how I ended up trying a Vieux Carré cocktail for the first time — someone else ordered the other drink I wanted to try, so I ordered one of these on a whim.
We all know I love to recreate my favorite cocktails here on the blog, like these Frozen Lemon Daiquiris I tried last time I was in New Orleans.
The Vieux Carré is another cocktail with New Orleans roots. Its name is French for the ‘Old Quarter,’ AKA what we’d now call the French Quarter.
Complex yet smooth, the Vieux Carré is a fitting drink to represent New Orleans. When you walk the streets there, it just feels old. This drink sips like a classic with a story to tell.
The drink was supposedly invented at the city’s Carousel Bar by New Orleans bartender Walter Bergeron in the late 1930s.
Featuring a longer ingredient list of cognac, rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, Bénédictine and two kinds of bitters, the Vieux Carré sure packs a punch. Powerful, yes, but it’s not too potent.
Some bartenders will garnish with a cocktail cherry or a piece of lemon or orange rind, but you do you. New Orleans is supposed to be fun and I think that’s no different when it comes to cocktails.
As far as spirits, cognac is a type of brandy, rye is a bit drier than bourbon and sweet vermouth brings the sugar. But what makes it complex?
The Benedictine and the bitters. Benedictine is a French liqueur dating back to the 1500s! The recipe calls for 27 plants and spices and it’s aged for over three years. The three main ingredients are angelica, hyssop and lemon balm.
The two kinds of bitters you’ll need are Angostura and Peychaud’s, two must-haves for any home bar. Angostura brings notes of cinnamon, cardamom and anise, while Peychaud’s brings the cherry, clove, and nutmeg.
Bitters were originally used for medicine, and the addition of these two seems to bring a little voodoo medicine man magic to this cocktail. Or maybe I’m imagining it.
If you enjoy drinks like Manhattans or Old-Fashioned cocktails, you might like a Vieux Carré for something different. Order one on a whim next time you’re at a fancy cocktail bar!
Mardi Gras is right around the corner, and this would be the perfect drink to celebrate with! Or you could try some of the other Mardi Gras Cocktails I have here, like these Blood Orange Daiquiris!
I joined in with some friends to pull together some awesome recipes to celebrate carnival season, and we have whipped up quite the menu. Makes me want to go back to New Orleans STAT!
Check out all of this awesomeness:
Hurricane Matthew (A Hurricane Drink Recipe) by Off the Eaten Path
No Churn Mardi Gras King Cake Ice Cream by The Speckled Palate
Cajun Spicy Tomato Soup by Online Pastry Chef
Jambalaya Balls by Love & Flour
Shrimp Hush Puppies by Stetted
Traditional Polish Pączki by The Crumby Kitchen
King Cake Donut Holes by Cake ‘n Knife
Easy Shrimp Po Boys by Simply Whisked
Easy Jambalaya by The Secret Ingredient Is
Mardi Gras King Cake by Nancie’s Table
Homemade Beignets by Kudos Kitchen by Renee
Pecan Pralines by Stephie Cooks
Enjoy, and happy Carnival! //susannah
Vieux Carré Cocktail
Celebrate Mardi Gras with a Vieux Carré cocktail, a classic cocktail with New Orleans roots.
- 3/4 ounces rye whiskey
- 3/4 ounces cognac
- 3/4 ounces sweet vermouth
- 1 teaspoon Bénédictine
- 2 dashes Peychaud's Bitters
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- cocktail cherry, optional for garnish
- 1-inch piece lemon peel, optional for garnish
- Add all ingredients to an old-fashioned or rocks glass. Add ice (preferably a large ice cube) and stir gently.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 417Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 133mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 2gSugar: 14gProtein: 2g
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