New Orleans has culminated a cocktail culture you simply won’t find anywhere else. Where, exactly, can you glimpse the high points of this culture? Check out this NOLA cocktail primer to get all the information you need.
Daring, fun, and one-of-a-kind cocktails in New Orleans
Located right in the French Quarter, the Carousel Bar & Lounge is a novel take on your typical restaurant setting. Here, you don’t have to sacrifice good liquor for a one-of-a-kind tavern experience. Sit on the carousel and drink one of their many alluring cocktail options while the 25-seat structure goes ’round and ’round. We recommend the Fleur de Lis, a divine gin concoction that’s been on the menu for ten years.
When: Mon – Sun, 11am – 1am
Where: 214 Royal St
2. Cane & Table
For a taste of Old Havana and drinks that evoke a Caribbean vibe, there’s no spot in New Orleans better than the Cane & Table. Most of their cocktail menu is rum-based, divided into two categories: Original Cocktails, which contains a wide array of options created in-house, and Classic Cocktails, which offer you traditional drinks with the enticing Cane & Table flair.
When: Mon – Fri, 3pm – 12am
Where: 1113 Decatur St
If you’re a cocktail enthusiast, you know that Sazerac is widely considered to be the first mixed drink out there. The Sazerac Bar is a delight for those looking for old New Orleans flavor and aesthetic. We recommend trying the Ramos Gin Fizz, reputed to be the late Huey P. Long’s beverage of choice, but, really, anything off their cocktail menu is a good bet.
When: Mon – Sun, 11am – 2pm
Where: 130 Roosevelt Way
Napoleon House is a NOLA institution. Established in the 19th century, this establishment has seen nearly two centuries of history walk through its doors and happen just outside the premises. The best thing about Napoleon House is that despite its glamour is entirely authentic, boasting a luxurious sheen that’s withstood the test of time. What should you order? Don’t let them catch you asking that inside. The answer is always the Pimm’s Cup, a gin-and-lemonade mix that’s been a house specialty since the 40s.
When: Sun – Thu, 11am – 10pm | Fri – Sat, 11am – 11pm
Where: 500 Chartres St
We couldn’t make a list without including a daiquiri counter, could we? Unlike the other bars we’ve mentioned so far, Queenie’s is brand new and doesn’t try to inspire an old-timey ambiance. This bright and bubbly neighborhood daiquiri bar offers incredible homemade flavors served in a rotating menu that also features fixed, classic options.
When: Mon – Thu, 11am – 10pm | Fri, 11am – 11pm | Sat, 10am – 11pm | Sun, 10am – 9pm
Where: 3200 Saint Claude Ave Suite B
Daily happy hours with great prices make Cure a favorite hangout for those who appreciate a good cocktail, but you can drop in at any moment and know you’ll leave satisfied. Cure’s strong suit is their craft cocktails, with a menu serving quite a well-curated selection. We recommend you go for A Die Hard Reference, their specialty Sazerac.
When: Mon – Thu, 5pm – 12am | Fri – Sat, 3pm – 2am | Sun, 3pm – 2am
Where: 4905 Freret St
Lula grants you the opportunity to get a tour of their distillery and see what the distilling process is like–while also sipping a cocktail direct from the source, of course. Lula is NOLA’s only restaurant-distillery, so you’re in for a pretty special experience.
When: Sun, 9am – 10pm | Mon – Tue, 11am – 10pm | Wed – Fri, 11am – 11pm | Sat, 9am – 11pm
Where: 1532 St Charles Ave
Once a gentlemen only lounge, Arnaud’s is now one of the premier destinations in NOLA for those who appreciate fine dining and upscale establishments. This James Beard Award-winning spot’s menu is, simply put, excellent. Perhaps their greatest claim to fame is the French 75 cocktail, featuring Courvoisier VS.
When: Mon – Sun, 6 – 10pm | Sun, 10am – 2:30pm and 6 – 10pm
Where: 813 Bienville St
The amazing taste of frozen Irish coffee can’t be overstated and Molly’s at the Market is the best in town. Addressing a concoction that unites two deep-seated passions most people have—how they take their coffee and how they like their liquor—Molly’s Famous Frozen Irish Coffee is to die for. Paired with Molly’s convenient location in the French Quarter, a chance to go here is just too good to pass up.
When: Sun – Mon, 10am – 6am
Where: 1107 Decatur St
And there you have it. Consider yourself initiated in NOLA cocktail culture. Just reading about these spots isn’t enough—get out there and discover, sip, and sample the best-mixed drinks you’ll ever come across in your life.
Now that you’ve got the drinks down, check out the best local eats in NOLA.