Cocktail of the Week: Vieux Carré

February 24, 2017

When one thinks of the two-week plus long celebration of Mardi Gras, many clear images are brought to mind. Along with the parades, beads, and costumes, you will (if you’re like us) think of cocktails. While the nightly parades and elaborate festivities have become synonymous with New Orleans, many are unaware of the pivotal role the city had in shaping the cocktail world as we know it today. This week we are exploring a necessary addition to your cocktail cannon: the Vieux Carré (Pronounced Voo – CAR-a). This is a more complex version of New Orleans’s other cocktail claim to fame, the Sazerac.

Arriving on the scene in the 1930’s at Monteleone Hotel, the drink calls for both the classic cognac and rye spirit base that helped shaped the Sazerac. However, the Vieux Carré relies on Benedictine for added sweetness. A rich and formidable drink, this cocktail will soon have you throwing on your green and purple beads and marching with the best of them.

Vieux Carre CocktailPhoto Credit: Sara Cauvin

How To Make the Vieux Carré cocktail

This drink can be served either “up” (ice strained out of drink) or on the rocks in an Old Fashioned glass. When ordering, state your desired preference.

– ¾ oz Rye Whiskey (Suggestion: High West Double Rye)
– ¾ oz Cognac: (Suggestion: Louis Royer VSOP Preference Cognac)
– ¾ oz Sweet Vermouth
– Splash of Benedictine*
– 2-3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
– 2-3 dashes Angostura Bitters

First, combine in a mixing glass equal parts Rye, Cognac, and Sweet Vermouth. Next, add a splash of Benedictine (since the drink obtains its sweetness from this ingredient, you can chose a little or a lot). Add a few dashes each of Peychaud’s and Angostura Bitters. Stir 20-30 times. If serving on the rocks, strain over fresh ice into an Old Fashioned glass. If serving up, strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Finally, garnish with a orange or lemon zest.

*A word on Benedictine.
Benedictine is a French herbal and spiced liqueur made with a brandy and neutral spirits base. Established in the mid 19th century, it was inspired by a 16th century Venetian monk’s recipe. Its exact components are not disclosed. At 80 proof, it is no shrinking flower. Though pricey, a little goes a long way and is used in other classic drinks such as the Singapore Sling and a Cocktail à la Louisiane.

Ready to make your own Vieux Carré cocktail?

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