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New Orleans is one of the world’s most fascinating cities – home to a unique melting pot of culture, food and music and amazing cocktails.

Cocktails have been invented, ingredients re-imagined and cocktails recreated from other places making them its own.  Every bar in New Orleans seems to have their own specialty cocktails so of course it makes sense to try them all!

Bourbon Street is where you will find the best Burlesque Clubs, DJs, Jazz bars and endless opportunities for fun when visiting New Orleans but don’t just stick to the busy French Quarter as there are lots of amazing options throughout the city.

Start your visit by taste-testing the cocktail options – you won’t be disappointed!


The worlds most famous Hurricane is a Pat O’Brien’s original.  A sweet alcoholic drink consisting of rum, passion fruit syrup and limejuice. Pat O'Briens Hurricane

In the 1940s there was a glut of rum and the liquor distributor would only sell them other booze if they agreed to take 50 cases of rum they didn’t want.

So, they concocted a mixture using a large amount of rum, passion fruit syrup and lemon juice, and it took off ..

Naming the drink was easy.  The name came from the shape of the glass it’s served in – the iconic curved glass resembling a hurricane lamp.

The Hurricane quickly become popular and is now one of the ‘must haves’ when visiting New Orleans’ French Quarter.

Still served in its classic hurricane glass, but often seen in plastic replicas as local New Orleans drinking laws prohibiting public drinking from glass containers.  The Pat O’Brien’s Hurricane glass is one of the most sought-after souvenirs in New Orleans.

Be sure to try out the ‘original’ at Pat O’Briens during your time in New Orleans but you’ll find them elsewhere around the city as well.

Traditional Hurricane Recipe:

  • 2 oz light rum
  • 2 oz dark rum
  • 2 oz passion fruit juice
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • ½ oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon simple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon grenadine
  • Garnish: orange slice and cherry

Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and strain into a Hurricane glass filled with ice.  Garnish with a cherry and an orange slice.

The Absinthe Frappe

Absinthe first came to New Orleans from Europe in the
early 1800s.

This potent, licorice-flavored liqueur was popular with writers, artists and musicians and also a favourite of the early “coffeehouses” (bars) in the French Quarter.

While Absinthe was used in the original mixture of the Sazerac, believed to be the first cocktail ever made, it was also popular as the “Absinthe Frappe,” a mixture of Absinthe, anisette and soda water.

Old Absinthe HouseThis cocktail was first served at the Old Absinthe House bar in 1874 by Cayetano Ferrer, and served to famous patrons such as Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain, and General Robert E. Lee, just to name a few.  Celebrities, locals and tourists enjoy the Absinthe Frappe.

Absinthe was outlawed in the United States in 1912 when it was found that its primary ingredient, wormwood extract, caused hallucinations, delirium, madness, and death.

The ingredients of the cocktail were altered by subtituting absinthe for other anise liqueurs such as Pernod and Herbsaint.  These changes capture the distinct taste of Absinthe without the unpleasant, narcotic side effects.

Traditional Absinthe Frappe Recipe

  • 1 1/2 oz. absinthe
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup
  • 2 oz. soda water
  • 6–8 mint leaves
  • Crushed ice

French 75 Recipe

  • 2 oz. dry gin
  • 1 tsp. superfine sugar
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 5 oz. Brut champagne
  • Traditionally served in a collins glass
Shake well with cracked ice in a chilled cocktail shaker, then strain into a Collins glass half-full of cracked ice and top off with champagne.  
On a recent visit to New Orleans I made it my mission to sample all of these cocktails!  Be sure to make it yours!
What were your favourite New Orleans cocktails? Where was your favourite place to hang out?  Do you have any Nawlins secret spots to share?