The Vieux Carre, which means ‘Old Square’ when translated in French, refers to the oldest area in New Orleans: the French Quarter. Sipping on a Vieux Carre cocktail while sitting at our bar is probably one of the most quintessential New Orleans experiences to have. After all, what else could be cooler than drinking a cocktail that also happened to be invented in the same neighborhood?
Originally made by the Hotel Monteleone’s bartender Walter Bergeron in 1938, the Vieux Carre cocktail is a reflection of New Orleans’ rich blend of heritages. Its ingredients are a tribute to each culture that made New Orleans what it is today: Cognac and Benedictine as a nod to the French, rye for the Americans, the sweet vermouth as an ode to the Italians, and the added bitters for the Caribbean influences. The fusion of those ingredients results in a slightly sweet yet feisty cocktail that is reflective of our neighborhood’s spirited and lively atmosphere. The Vieux Carré cocktail is usually described as a cross between the distinguished Sazerac and the beloved Manhattan, and it is known as one of the fun cocktails that definitely packs a punch!
There’s no better place to try your first or fifteenth Vieux Carré than at one of the coolest bars in New Orleans, where you can puff on a Cuban stick alongside your cocktail to really live your best life. For making a Vieux Carré in the comforts of your own home, the recipe is pretty simple but here are some of our tips for the best Vieux Carré drink out there:
- The vermouth and Benedictine are the main sweeteners of the drink, so gradually taste the drink as you stir to adjust the sweetness to your own preference.
- This cocktail is dangerously easy to drink, so make sure to take your time and sip slowly.
- While the Vieux Carré is traditionally made with rye, there are also slight variations on it wherein rum is substituted. Feel free to mix it up but make sure not to change the other ingredients.