Cocktail à la Louisiane

I first came across this one in Stanley Clisby Arthur's Famous New Orleans Drinks and How To Mix 'Em (1937); it's a close relative of Walter Bergeron's fabulous Vieux Carré Cocktail, which Bergeron created at the Monteleone Hotel in the 1930s. We added it to our in-house cocktail menu but kinda forgot about it and haven't been going out of our way to offer it to guests. Fortunately, Robert "DrinkBoy" Hess reminded me of this one in email, having had one himself recently and being struck by how damn good it is. It's also barely over two ounces, a quite civilized size that's perfect for an apéritif, and will fit beautifully in your spiffy Riedel cocktail glasses.

Stanley says, "This is the special cocktail served at Restaurant de la Louisiane, one of the famous French restaurants of New Orleans, long the rendezvous of those who appreciate the best in Creole cuisine. La Louisiane cocktail is as out-of-the-ordinary as the many distinctive dishes that grace its menu." That restaurant is, sadly, long gone, but fortunately we can still quaff its signature drink.

Cocktail à la Louisiane

3/4 ounce rye whiskey.
3/4 ounce Italian vermouth.
3/4 ounce Bénédictine.
3 dashes Herbsaint, pastis or other absinthe substitute.
3 dashes Peychaud's Bitters.

Mix in barglass with lumps of ice. Strain into a cocktail glass
in which has been placed a maraschino cherry. Savor.

By the way, those Riedel "Martini" glasses are the most perfect, elegant cocktail glasses I've ever had. You can usually find them for arond $11 each if you look hard enough, and they're just superb -- perfect weight and balance, thin but strong, no lip and they're small. Three-ounce cocktails, max. That way you can finish your cocktail while it's still ice-cold and, as Harry Craddock said, "while it's still laughing at you." (Thanks, Robert!)


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Chuck Taggart   email chef (at) gumbopages (dot) com