The Vieux Carré is a classic cocktail that originated in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, in the United States.
Its name, which means “Old Square” in French, is a reference to the historic French Quarter of New Orleans.
The cocktail was created in the 1930s at the famed Carousel Bar located in the Hotel Monteleone. The Carousel Bar, known for its revolving bar, was a popular gathering spot for locals and visitors alike.
It was at this bar that Walter Bergeron, the head bartender, crafted the Vieux Carré.
Vieux Carré Cocktail Recipe
What is in a Vieux Carré?
The Vieux Carré is a complex and sophisticated cocktail that reflects the multicultural influences of New Orleans. It combines equal parts of rye whiskey, cognac, and sweet vermouth, Bénédictine liqueur, Angostura and Peychaud’s Bitters.
The drink is typically stirred with ice and strained into rocks glass or a chilled glass. It can be garnished with a lemon twist or a cherry.
The combination of rye whiskey and cognac gives the Vieux Carré a robust and rich flavor profile, while the sweet vermouth adds depth and sweetness.
The Bénédictine liqueur, which is a herbal liqueur with a complex blend of flavors, provides a unique touch to the cocktail. The Angostura bitters contribute aromatic and bitter notes that balance the sweetness.
What is the Best Cognac for a Vieux Carré?
Choosing the “best” cognac for a Vieux Carré can be subjective, as personal preferences and budgets vary. However, traditionally, a rich and flavorful cognac with a good balance of fruit, spice, and oak notes is recommended to enhance the complexity of the cocktail.
Popular options for cognac in a Vieux Carré include:
Remy Martin VSOPThis is a well-regarded cognac known for its smoothness and versatility, with a harmonious blend of fruit and spice flavors.
Hennessy VSOPAnother popular choice, Hennessy VSOP offers a balance of fruit, oak, and floral notes that can complement the other ingredients in the cocktail.
Pierre Ferrand 1840 Original FormulaThis cognac is crafted with an emphasis on recreating the style of 19th-century spirits and can provide a vintage character to the Vieux Carré.
Martell Cordon BleuWith its rich, complex, and full-bodied profile, Martell Cordon Bleu can add depth and elegance to the cocktail.
Ultimately, it’s a matter of personal taste, and it can be enjoyable to explore different cognac options to find the one that suits your preferences and enhances the flavors of the Vieux Carré to your liking.
What is Bénédictine liqueur?
Bénédictine liqueur is a herbal liqueur with a rich and complex flavor profile, originating from the Abbey of Fécamp in Normandy, France.
It is made from a blend of 27 different herbs and spices, including honey, citrus peels, and various botanicals, resulting in a distinctively aromatic and slightly sweet liqueur that can be enjoyed on its own or as a key ingredient in cocktails like the Vieux Carré.
What is Peychaud’s Bitters?
Peychaud’s Bitters is a classic aromatic bitters that was created by Antoine Amédée Peychaud in the early 19th century in New Orleans, Louisiana. It is made from a proprietary blend of herbs and spices, including gentian root, anise, and various botanicals, which are macerated in a neutral spirit.
Peychaud’s Bitters have a distinctive bright red color and a unique flavor profile that combines floral, herbal, and lightly sweet notes, with a hint of anise.
They are an essential ingredient in many classic cocktails, including the Sazerac and the Vieux Carré, adding depth, complexity, and a touch of New Orleans heritage to the drinks.
When did the Vieux Carré Become Popular?
The Vieux Carré gained popularity in New Orleans and eventually became a classic cocktail enjoyed worldwide. Its recipe has been included in numerous cocktail books and is often featured in bars that celebrate the art of mixology.
The cocktail is closely associated with the city of New Orleans and is considered one of its iconic drinks.
Over the years, variations of the Vieux Carré have emerged, with some bartenders adding their own twists by incorporating different spirits or modifying the proportions of the ingredients.
However, the original recipe remains widely recognized and respected as a true classic New Orleans cocktail.
What Are Other Famous New Orleans Drinks
These are just a few examples of the famous and classic cocktails associated with New Orleans. The city’s vibrant bar scene continues to evolve, with mixologists constantly creating new and innovative drinks that pay homage to its rich cocktail heritage.
Considered by many as the official cocktail of New Orleans, the Sazerac has a long history dating back to the early 19th century. It is made with rye whiskey (or sometimes cognac), sugar, Peychaud’s bitters, and a dash of absinthe.
The drink is traditionally served in an absinthe-rinsed glass and garnished with a lemon peel.
Ramos Gin Fizz
Created by Henry C. Ramos in the late 19th century, the Ramos Gin Fizz is a frothy and refreshing cocktail. It combines gin, lemon and lime juice, sugar, cream, egg white, orange flower water, and soda water.
The drink requires vigorous shaking to achieve a creamy texture and is often served in a tall glass.
Originally crafted by Pat O’Brien in the 1940s, the Hurricane is a sweet and fruity rum-based cocktail. It typically includes light and dark rum, passion fruit syrup, lemon juice, and grenadine.
The drink is named after its distinctive hurricane lamp-shaped glass and is a popular choice in New Orleans, particularly during Mardi Gras.
Brandy Milk Punch
A popular morning or brunch cocktail, the Brandy Milk Punch is creamy and comforting. It features brandy, milk or cream, simple syrup, and a sprinkle of nutmeg on top.
The cocktail can be enjoyed over ice or shaken and strained into a glass.