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  • Writer's pictureNaureen Chhipa

5 Classic Nola Cocktails to Try!

Updated: Aug 15, 2021

First time in New Orleans? There's so much to eat and drink, it can be a bit overwhelming; but no worries, we got ya! Here's a list of the Top 5 Classic Nola Cocktails we enjoyed the most and the best spots to have them at...P.S: Did you know street drinking is legal here?!

# 5 -- Cane & Table

Known for it's rum-based cocktails and Old Habana vibes, this bar is great to visit any time of year! Enjoy their hidden outdoor patio sitting for brunch or hang inside for happy-hour, delicious bites, friendly staff, and alluring ambiance! We recommend trying their Haitian Fried Chicken and going for Happy Hour ( Everyday 3-6 pm ) or/and for their bottomless brunch-- $45! This bar has a more local scene and is so worth the walk from Bourbon street!

# 4 -- Bar Tonique

This bar reminded us so much of home (NYC), with its rustic brick wall interior look, wide selection of handcrafted cocktails, and in-house made ingredients combined to perfection. We didn't see many tourists hanging out here despite it being so centrally located -- smack in the middle of the French Quarter! We recommend visiting for Happy Hour ( Weekdays from 12-5 pm ) or a late-night hang out as this place is open till 2 am! Besides having a great HH selection, they also have a drink of the day for $5 and a whiskey flight for whiskey lovers! We had a few cocktails here and loved all of them. If you want to stick to trying classic Nola cocktails, we recommend ordering a Vieux Carre, a Sazerac, or a Vesper-- made famous by James Bond; make sure to order it shaken not stirred.

# 3 -- Lafitte's

Have that famous Nola Hurricane cocktail in one of America's ten oldest bars? Seriously, this place was established in the early 1770s and still has no electricity; candles lit everything at night! Felt a little haunted. I recommend visiting during night time. Check their calendar online for special events. On some nights, they have live piano music in a candlelight setting. I wouldn't call it a romantic setting, with its eerie feel, this spot teleports you to a time when pirates would gather to drink and share ghost stories. Add it to your list, only if you're brave enough, and whatever you do, DON'T STIR that drink!

# 2 -- Carousel Bar

Have cocktails inside a spinning, functioning carousel. Touristy? Sure! A must-do? Absolutely!! Where else can you feel like a kid and grown-up at the same time!?! They make fantastic craft cocktails here. This bar is a great spot to try one of New Orleans signature cocktails -- The Sazerac, handcrafted to perfection! Heads up, this bar is always crowded, so if waiting for a seat, keep walking straight, and you'll find a second bar that's part of the hotel crowd-free! This far-off nook bar is the perfect spot to wait while a chair in this carousel opens up...

# 1 -- Napoleon House

Gotta have a Pimm's Cup cocktail! Although this is more of a British drink than a classic New Orleans one, we felt it was perfect to enjoy, on a hot summer day while strolling through Nola's streets. We fell in love with this light and refreshing cocktail; it's the perfect cure for a hot summer day. We went in for one and stayed for three! So yes, our #1 cocktail pick goes to the Pimm's Cup from Napoleon House, which is more of a restaurant than a bar. Beyond the Pimm's Cup, this is a great spot to try a Muffuletta. The Muffuletta is an Italian on the go sandwich that's usually picked up at a deli or grocery store and served cold. Invented in 1906, this type of sandwich was first created by an Italian immigrant and first made and served at the French Market in New Orleans. Years later, Napoleon House adapted this recipe and brought it into a sit-down restaurant, making it a hot dish to enhance the flavors. The Pimm's Cup and Muffuletta are a must-try here!

Remember when I said street drinking is legal in New Orleans? Well, another great way of escaping the southern heat is grabbing a to-go frozen drink. Here were our top two frozen drinks that became our signature staple and go to's when navigating the big easy!

The Frozen Irish coffee from Erin Rose-- This was my morning coffee with a kick, Nola style! The perfect way to start my day!

The Hand Grenade from Tropical Isle-- This was too sweet for me, kinda tasted like a jolly rancher in my opinion, but Fernando loved it and couldn't stop drinking them! The best part? You can keep the cup and refill it at a discount price through 5 licensed nightclub bars in the French Quarter! We still have the cup at home :) Makes a great souvenir!

If you go to New Orleans:

General info:

Bars on our list:

Cane & Table

Bar Tonique


Carousel Bar

Napoleon House

Erin Rose

Tropical Isle

Thanks for reading! Have you been to New Orleans? We want to hear from you -- Tell us what your favorite bars were and we'll make sure to visit next time!

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