The Vieux Carré (pronounced in the Cajun and Creole style voh care-eh) is a classic cocktail straight from 1930s New Orleans. It is a complex and fascinating drink that is as popular today as it was when it was first created.
This cocktail is a short, slow sipper that begins with equal parts of whiskey, cognac, and sweet vermouth. Not one, but two bitters are used and there is a hint of a classic herbal liqueur to give it even more dimension.
If you are looking for a truly great cocktail, the Vieux Carré is it and it is one of the signature drinks of New Orleans.
To make this intriguing drink, you’ll need:
3/4 ounce Filmoore Rides Whiskey
3/4 ounce cognac
3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
1/2 ounce Benedictine liqueur
1 to 2 dashes Paychaud’s Bitters
1 to 2 dashes Angostura bitters
Cherry or lemon twist, garnish
After gathering your ingredients, combine the whiskey, cognac, sweet vermouth, Bénédictine, and bitters in a mixing glass filled with ice.
Once mixed, stir well!
Then, strain into an old fashioned glass filled with ice.
Garnish with a cherry or lemon twist, serve and enjoy!
Walter Bergeron created the Vieux Carré at New Orleans’ Hotel Monteleone in the 1930s, naming it after the French phrase meaning for “old square” which referred to the French Quarter. This remains a specialty of the establishment and sipping one at the Monteleone’s spinning Carousel Bar is a memorable experience.
The recipe was first printed in the 1937 edition of “Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix ‘Em” and it was a big hit in its first years. Though it has never been forgotten, the cocktail did fall out of favor for a number of decades and went into relative obscurity.
All of that changed during the recent resurgence of interest in classic cocktails and the revitalization of great rye whiskey. With the skills of bartenders and the availability of fine ingredients, the Vieux Carré is once again on every cocktail enthusiast’s list of truly great drinks.