Laissez les bon temps rouler
Sure, you could celebrate Fat Tuesday with a technicolor daiquiri. Plenty of revelers do just that, stumbling around Bourbon Street (or the River Walk) with a topsy-turvy whalebone filled with enough go-go juice to ensure Wednesday morning regret. The hangover will be bad enough without us tauntingly saying, “ya basic.”
Still, we beg you to reconsider: New Orleans cocktail culture is legendary and well-represented throughout the world, including San Antonio — the only other U.S. city to make it past 300 years old while partying so hard. Alamo City is awash in cocktails that the Big Easy made household names. By all means, imbibe (with a rideshare app at the ready); Mardis Gras is only one night. But remember, the most spectacular floats make the parade.
Corpse Reviver at Double Standard
This eye-opener became popular in New Orleans due to the city’s adoration for AM tipples, a propensity that San Antonio shares. Double Standard knows the score. The downtown bar opens at 11:30 am daily and is glad to soothe any throbbing headache with Corpse Reviver No. 2. Pairing London dry gin with absinthe and Cocchi Americano, it’s the only drink that matters after catching too many beads. The extra crispy fries help too.
French 75 at Near Dark
Southtown haunt Near Dark certainly regales in its goth charms — but there is a little bit of NOLA in its ramshackle collection of antique mirrors and checkerboard floors (at least the spookier parts). So it’s a surprise that one of its signature drinks is so effervescent. Invented in Paris and named for a powerful French field gun, the French 75 has long been a staple of New Orleans’ most soigné bars. Though Near Dark doesn’t include NOLA-standard cognac, it does give it the setting the drink deserves.
Hurricane at Southerleigh Haute South
We’ve all seen those lipstick-red concoctions served in a bulbous glass. Thanks to Pat O’Brien’s, the Hurricane is synonymous with the Paris of the South. His version added a little razzle-dazzle via passionfruit to go through less-than-popular rum. Sailors loved them as undoubtedly San Antonio’s service men and women do today when served on draft at one of The Rim’s busiest hot spots.
Mint Julep at Restaurant Claudine
Though this iconic Southern libation is more associated with Kentucky today, it has deep roots in Louisiana. A rum version was popular in the Big Easy in the late 1700s, long before haberdashers proved their mettle during a certain horse race. Restaurant Claudine’s version has the standard Bourbon — Buffalo Trace, to be exact — but it’s just the thing for a weekday bacchanal. Order charbroiled oysters and a mess of cornbread, then sit a spell.
New Orleans Buck at The Bar at Bohanan’s
One of the oldest cocktail categories, the Buck purportedly got its name when whiskey was added to the previously nonalcoholic Horse’s Neck, giving it a “kick.” The New Orleans variation substitutes rum and keeps ginger. Its lively profile makes it the ideal early evening libation, whether downed before a night at a Frenchmen Street jazz club or a show at the Majestic Theatre.
Sazerac at Amor Eterno
According to popular myth, this New Orleans icon was first served in an egg cup, or coquetier in French. The bungled American pronunciation led to the word “cocktail” being coined. That’s hogwash, of course, but it speaks to the drink’s importance in the barkeep’s canon. Amor Eterno features it currently on the classics menu and mixes it with the traditional build. Just the way it should.
Vieux Carre at The Esquire Tavern
This rye-based sipper was created in 1937 by Hotel Monteleone head bartender Walter Bergeron, which makes the Esquire older. Nonetheless, it makes perfect sense for the River Walk mainstay to serve a post-Prohibition classic. Its version nearly mimics the original, only omitting three drops of Peychauds. But let’s not get hung up on bitters when a cocktail has the necessary oomph.