There are three reason why I’ve chosen this moment to write about the ‘big easy’ and the drinks that come from there; firstly it’s that time of year when bartenders start thinking about Tales of the Cocktail, secondly I’ve just opened a New Orleans inspired bar in London (NOLA) with a couple of business partners, and lastly I’ve been lucky enough to be nominated for ‘best cocktail author’ at TotC this year, which all means that New Orleans is on my mind a lot at the moment. Writing the menu for NOLA, I knew right away that I wanted to have a page of New Orleans classic cocktails, and I wanted our team to have some knowledge about their origins, so my research began.
OK, so enough with the shameless self promotion! New Orleans is an amazing city, with a unique culture that spans back generations. In terms of cocktail heritage there can surely be few cities other than New York, London and Paris that have such a long and rich history. In other words there’s a lot to write about New Orleans when it comes to cocktails!
I’ve chosen the drinks that appear on my menu at NOLA, the Sazerac, Hurricane, Ramos Gin Fizz, Grasshopper, Vieux Carre, La Louisiane and French 75 (not strictly a New Orleans drink, but strongly associated with the city). They’re all drinks that I love for different reasons, and all very different in style, but somehow they reflect the fact that New Orleans has had a vibrant cocktail scene through the generations, and in every era there has been at least one drink that has become a classic cocktail known around the world… quite a feat!