Usually when in you're in a drinking establishment and the room starts spinning around you, it's a sure sign that you've been there too long and exercised too little caution. But at the Carousel Bar in New Orleans, it's easy to get the spins before even ordering a drink, thanks to the revolving bar at the center of the room.
The Carousel Bar is one of the hallmarks of New Orleans' libational heritage, and is unsurprisingly at the heart of Tales of the Cocktail, the annual cocktails and spirits festival now taking place (it doesn't hurt that the event is based in the Hotel Monteleone, where the Carousel Bar is located). But the Carousel isn't just famous for the slowly turning circular bar that requires standees to keep up a slow saunter while conversing with a seated patron; it has also contributed its own classic cocktail to the hallowed halls of mixology.
Named using the French term for what's now known as the French Quarter, the Vieux Carré traces its origin to the bar back in the 1930s, and first appeared in print in 1937, in Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix 'Em. It's as rich and decadent now as it was back then, and still remarkably evocative of the Big Easy. This weekend, raise a toast to New Orleans with one of the city's contributions to cocktail history.
About the author: Paul Clarke blogs about cocktails at The Cocktail Chronicles and writes regularly on spirits and cocktails for Imbibe magazine. He lives in Seattle, where he works as a writer and magazine editor.
Time for a Drink: Vieux Carré
About This Recipe
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- 1/2 teaspoon Benedictine
- 1 dash Peychaud’s Bitters
- 1 dash Angostura Bitters
- 3/4 ounce rye whiskey
- 3/4 ounce cognac
- 3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and fill with ice; stir well for 20 seconds and strain into an ice-filled Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with a cherry.