The Best of New Orleans’ Cocktail Culture
No American city embraces drink the way NOLA does. Here’s your guide to the city’s best booze spots, not just during Mardi Gras, but all year ’round.
(This article originally appeared in the February 2014 issue of Travel + Escape Magazine, by Adam McDowell.)
No American city embraces drink the way New Orleans does. More sophisticated than a Las Vegas lounge and more relaxed than a New York cocktail bar, a New Orleans watering hole is the pinnacle of the American drinking experience—if you know how to escape the schlock of mainstream Bourbon Street and seek out more rewarding locales.
New Orleans is a cocktail town, so forget wine while you’re here, and only have a beer every once in a while to cool down. Subject yourself to the voodoo powers of the bartenders of The Big Easy and see if you don’t go home a fan of Sazeracs and Ramos Gin Fizzes.
Below are a few places in New Orleans to while away a few hours.
Café Adelaide & the Swizzle Stick Bar
Found in the lobby of the Loews Hotel in the Central Business District, the Swizzle Stick Bar is a good place to begin your New Orleans cocktail education. Take a seat in the high-ceilinged room and order up the house specialty, The Adelaide Swizzle, a tall, sweet-and-sour refresher containing rum, bitters, lime and something secret. Enjoy it with a tasty Louisiana-accented snack, such as a catfish taco, and then have a conversation with the bartender about moving on to some classic New Orleans cocktails (the Ramos Gin Fizz is a terrific choice).