Cocktails are a main ingredient of partying, and no one parties like we do in N'awlins. Some say that N'awlins is the birthplace of the cocktail. I wouldn't dispute that.
Following are 6 of the most influential cocktails from the Ritz-Carlton's weekly series "New Orleans' Best Cocktails" featuring Chris McMillian.
1 small bunch of mint, plus an extra sprig for the top.
Preferably prepare in a metal cup. Take a bunch of mint and crush in the bottom and around the edges of the cup. Throw the mint away. Fill the cup with crushed ice, mounding it at the top. Pour in the bourbon, using as much as you'd like. After giving it time to cool, pour the sugar water over it and top with the mint sprig.
The Brandy Milk Punch is a classic New Orleans brunch drink, often found in restaurants of the caliber of Cafe Adelaide, Brennan's, Galatoire's and Commander's Palace. It is also a tradition pick-me-up for those requiring a taste of the "dog that bit them."
According to McMillian, the drink calls for one and one half ounces of brandy a cup of whole milk, an ounce and a half of simple syrup, cracked ice and freshly grated nutmeg.
The Brandy Milk Punch
1 ½ ounces brandy
1 ounce simple syrup
½ bar spoon high quality vanilla extract
A couple ounces of Half-and-half
Pour brandy, simple syrup, vanilla extract and half-and-half into a pint glass. Add ice to a shaker and shake the concoction until well mixed and frothy. Add cubed ice to a rocks glass and, using a strainer, pour the mixture into it. Top with a bit of grated nutmeg.
As legend has it, the first known definition of the word "cocktail" was in response to a newspaper reader's letter asking to define the word. In response, the paper's editor wrote that it was a potent concoction of spirits, bitters, water, and sugar. And while historians debate as to where and what guided our first steps down the cocktail road, the Old Fashioned has become an important part of beverage lore.
1 sugar cube
Small piece of orange zest
2 ounces bourbon
Place the sugar cube, a small amount of water and bitters in a rocks glass and muddle the sugar until it's completely dissolved. Muddle in the orange zest long enough to release the oils. Top the glass with ice and add the bourbon. Top with a "flag" (an orange slice wrapped around a cherry and pierced with a toothpick).
According to GumboPages.com (who provides an extensive history of the drink), this is the quintessential New Orleans cocktail. There are those who say this is the first cocktail, period. There's a lot of dispute over this, but it's certainly the first to appear in New Orleans, which has been acknowledged by many as the home of the cocktail.
1 sugar cube
1 ounce water
2 ounces rye whiskey (preferably Sazerac)
A few drops Herbsaint
Fill a rocks glass with ice and water and set it aside. Drop a sugar cube into a separate rocks glass and splash with bitters and the water. Muddle the concoction until the sugar cube is diluted. Fill the glass with ice and pour whiskey over it. Empty the water filled rocks glass and pour a few drops of the Herbsaint into it, rolling ht eliquid around the inside of the glass to coat it. Strain your cocktail into the coated glass and finish it off with lemon zest.
Also called the New Orleans Fizz, the drink was created in 1888 by New Orleanian Henry Ramos, (owner of the Imperial Cabinet Saloon and later the Stag Saloon) and was known for its exceptional powers of day-after relief.
Two key ingredients, while not usually found in most cocktails, are pretty easy to find (or whip up). The first being orange flower water (available at finer grocery stores and middle-eastern restaurants), and the second being egg whites.According to Eppicurious.com, several legends claim that it takes five minutes of furious shaking to emulsify the cream, egg, and spirit and produce a properly frothy drink.
The Ramos Gin Fizz
1 ½ ounces London dry gin
½ ounce fresh lime juice
½ ounce fresh lemon juice
1 ounce simple syrup
Small amount of orange flower water
A couple drops of vanilla extract
2 ounces heavy cream
1 egg white
Pour the gin, lemon and lime juice, simple syrup, orange flower water, vanilla extract, cream, and the egg white into a pint glass. Use a shaker to combine the ingredients until frothy. Add ice and shake again. Use a strainer to pour the drink into a tall drinking glass. Top off the glass with club soda and stir gently.
1 ½ ounces vodka (preferably Belvedere)
A splash of Worcestershire Sauce
A couple dashes of Tabasco
A heavy sprinkling of black pepper
A pinch of salt
½ ounce of fresh lemon juice
Combine all the liquid ingredients and the pepper and salt in a tall drinking glass. To mix, pour the drink from one glass to another. Once it is in the tall drinking glass again, garnish with some large Spanish olives and a pickled green bean.