The History of Cocktails in New Orleans

The Roosevelt New Orleans, a Waldorf Astoria Hotel

“The cocktail, though not invented in New Orleans as is often claimed, certainly gained fame here,” wrote local historian and academic badass Richard Campanella in his book of New Orleans history, Bienville’s Dilemma.

New Orleans has been described for decades as “the cradle of civilized drinking” and is home to a number of historically significant cocktail bars. The Napoleon House,Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, the Sazerac Bar, the Old Absinthe House, and many more have achieved cultural significance through time and accomplishment.

Elizabeth Pearce, cocktail writer, tour guide, and bon vivant, thinks the reason cocktail culture is so strong here is because it never went away. “Even in the nadir of our national cocktail culture, hotel bars like the Carousel Bar, the Sazerac Bar, The Columns, and restaurants like Antoine’s and Galatoire’s were able to keep the traditions alive. Because unlike other places where traditions or old things are looked at dismissively, that didn’t happen here.”

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