The Unsung New Orleans Cocktail to Drink All Fall

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John Besh shows us a New Orleans cocktail that’ll scoot the Sazerac as your go-to fall drink.


The Vieux Carre cocktail was invented in the same New Orleans bar as the Sazerac—and has many of the same qualities as its beloved brethren: It’s strong, stirred, served on the rocks, rye-based, and has a punch of bitters and hit of lemon. The Vieux Carre ("the French quarter," in French) one-ups with Benedictine, a honey and herb liqueur that perfumes the drink and makes you say: “Why am I not drinking these all the time?”

My guess as to why the Vieux Carre isn’t ordered that frequently is because it’s a little hard to say—or, rather, say correctly. (This is also probably why I prefer a macaroon to a macaron and Italian wine instead of German—and still haven’t stepped foot in a Basque restaurant.)

So let’s practice a few times together—“View Car Eh”—and then learn how to make this warming drink with New Orleans chef John Besh, who just came out with Besh Big Easy. He says this drink is for people who are “comfortable in their sophistication” and refined palette, not at all faking it. I won’t tell him we were practicing the pronunciation if you don’t.


Vieux Carre

Makes 2

3/4 ounce rye whiskey
3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
3/4 ounce cognac
2 dashes Peychaud's bitters
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 splash (or a barspoon) Benedictine
2 lemon twists, for garnish

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Video by Madeline Muzzi

Tags: john besh, cookbook, new orleans, cocktail, sazerac, vieux carre