New Orleans, Louisiana is a city that loves its cocktails and is responsible for the creation of more than a few. They include classics like the Sazerac and Gin Fizz, along with the Bourbon Street favorites like the Hurricane and Hand Grenade.
While we may not be able to drink these New Orleans cocktails for a while, we can learn how to make them at home. We’ve included the recipes and ingredients you’ll need for each below! Share your favorite in the comments.
Learn to make your own classic cocktails on a Cocktail Tour of New Orleans.
The Hand Grenade is a drink that originated at a Bourbon Street bar. The owners of Tropical Isle concocted the melon-flavored drink for the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition. They put it in a tall plastic green glass with a base that resembled a grenade.
Since then, nearby bars have popped up with their own spins on the drink with similarly designed glassware. But Tropical Isle is home to the original. It is made with vodka, rum, gin, and melon liquor (like Midori). You can order their mix and glasses or make your own.
- 1/2 shot gin
- 1/2 shot light rum
- 1/2 shot vodka
- 1 shot melon liquor
- 1 shot pineapple juice
- Shake all ingredients in a shaker.
- Strain into a glass with crushed ice.
- Garnish with a lime wheel.
Perhaps no bar is quite as quintessentially New Orleans as Pat O’Brien’s, one of Bourbon Street‘s most famous spots. While it includes a classy restaurant and piano lounge, most folks come in for a drink to go. Skip the souvenir glass and save your money for another round.
The story of the invention of this drink has many versions, but whatever one you choose, the name is based on a hurricane vase, not the frequent force of nature in the area.
It’s made with Pat’s signature mix with rum. The mix is some version of fruit juices, usually grapefruit, pineapple, and grenadine. You might have a Hurricane elsewhere but this is the original home. We recommend a Louisiana rum like from Old New Orleans Rum or Bayou Rum.
- 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.
Ramos Gin Fizz
The Ramos Gin Fizz was created at Henry Ramos’ Imperial Cabinet Saloon in New Orleans in 1888. Teams were employed to work on the cocktails for crowds, strongly shaking the drinks for the fizzy effect. Each one took 12 minutes to prepare.
It’s made with gin, lemon juice, lime juice, egg white, sugar, cream, orange flower water, and soda water. The orange flower water sets it apart from other “fizz” drinks. It was even said to be a favorite of Governor Huey Long.
- 2 ounces gin
- 1/2 ounce lemon juice
- 1/2 ounce lime juice
- 1/2 ounce simple syrup
- 3 dashes orange flower water
- 1 ounce cream (or sub with coconut cream)
- 1 egg white (or sub with aquafaba)
- 2 ounces soda water
- Add all ingredients except for soda to a cocktail shaker.
- Shake for a full minute without ice.
- Add ice and shake until well-chilled.
- Strain into a Collins glass and top with soda.
- Garnish with half an orange wheel.
The Sazerac is known as the official cocktail of New Orleans. A spirits importer served the Sazerac de Forge et Fils cognac at his coffee house but sold it. It was renamed the Sazerac Coffee House and it was here that the drink was created.
Nearby, Creole immigrant Antoine Peychaud was mixing a similar cocktail with cognac, absinthe, and his house-made bitters. Today, the drink is commonly made with rye whiskey, including the Sazerac brand, with absinthe or Herbsaint and Peychaud’s Bitters.
The Roosevelt Hotel is home to the Sazerac Bar, which previously only allowed men. In addition to the Sazerac, the menu also includes favorites like the Ramos Gin Fizz, the French 75, and the Boulevardier.
The Sazerac House is a historic building turned immersive experience featuring free exhibits, tours, and tastings of their flagship drink. Here you can pick up all the materials you need to make your own at home.
- 1 cube sugar
- 1.5 ounces Sazerac Rye Whiskey
- ¼ ounce Herbsaint
- 3 dashes Peychaud's Bitters
- Pack an Old-Fashioned glass with ice.
- In a second Old-Fashioned glass, place the sugar cube and add the Peychaud's Bitters to it, then crush the sugar cube.
- Add the Sazerac Rye Whiskey to the second glass containing the Peychaud's Bitters and sugar.
- Empty the ice from the first glass and coat the glass with the Herbsaint, then discard the remaining Herbsaint.
- Empty the whiskey, bitters, and sugar mixture from the second glass into the first glass.
- Garnish with lemon peel.
Which one is your favorite?