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Good Cocktails in New Orleans


TAPrice
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I suspect the desire to accomodate tourists who want to get really drunk really fast is part of the answer.

What have people's experiences been at the Columns Hotel bar?

As far as the Columns goes, your observations have been correct. The bar is far too busy to take the time to make good drinks and the clientele is far happier getting a stiff drink than a quality one made with fresh juices. In addition, there is a lack of refrigeration prevented us from storing ingredients behind the bar. When I got there, I was embarrassed by the quality of the drinks being poured and one of the long-time bartenders was so complacent, he really didn't know any better anyway. When your guests are more enamored with a lively bartender than a quality drink, I guess it really doesn't matter.

New Orleans is not an innovative city when it comes to cocktails, and many of the bartenders there are pouring for the lowest common denominator. The sole purpose is to make drinks for people to get drunk. In addition, I can bet that many of the bartenders have not spent time outside of NOLA and have no idea what is going on in the rest of the country. In San Francisco, cocktails are serious business and always made with real and fresh fruit juice. You won't find that in New Orleans.

In a nutshell, the typical clientele of New Orleans bars doesn't demand quality drinks and many of the bartenders don't know any better.

-Kevin

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Is there a market for a high end cocktail bar in NO? And are rents low enough to support a bar that runs a 20%-25% liquor cost and a bartender is hard pressed to put out 200 drinks a night? How much are cocktails going for?

A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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Is there a market for a high end cocktail bar in NO? And are rents low enough to support a bar that runs a 20%-25% liquor cost and a bartender is hard pressed to put out 200 drinks a night?  How much are cocktails going for?

Is there a market? That's hard to say. A few years ago, I would have said no. People want their booze cheap and strong. Recently, though, there have been more places opening on the luxury side of things. The Delachaise is a wine bar with a nice liquor selection. The prices are higher, in general.

Cocktails tend to be well under $10. That could be a big part of the problem. I think, though, a good bar could work if the location was right and the atmosphere played on local history. Who knows?

Todd A. Price aka "TAPrice"

Homepage and writings; A Frolic of My Own (personal blog)

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What about the historic places, Sazerac and Herbsaint?

The Sazerac has been closed since the storm. It was located in the Fairmont (the old Roosevelt hotel). Recently, it was announced that the property would be renovated as a Waldorf Astoria, but no word on the bar.

Herbsaint is a contemporary restaurant that does make very good cocktails.

Todd A. Price aka "TAPrice"

Homepage and writings; A Frolic of My Own (personal blog)

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Am I too much the tourist for adding Bon Ton's Rum Ramsey to the list? Have been sharing New Orleans with a week long head cold and laryngitis - and, along with regular cocktail responsibilities, the Rum Ramsey did a lot more for my afflictions than Robitussin. I'd also suggest the whiskey sauce served with their bread pudding, but not sure that truly qualifies as a cocktail.

Edited by Holly Moore (log)

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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Sorry you've been feeling under the weather, Holly. But the Grandma cure for all that ails you usually involves at least a wee dram of something with a proof higher than Robitussin. My favorite cure all is the Apple flavored Theraflu with a shot of Stroh 80 rum in it. Knocks me out cold, I sweat like I'm exorcising demons overnight and wake up feeling like a new woman. Works every time.

I hope you'll still have time to make it over to see Chris McMillian at the Ritz before you go. Have him make you a julep. It's a thing of great beauty to behold. And send him my best as well....

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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I heard recently on le radio that they are going to committed to reopening the Sazerac.

Any idea when? I might delay my trip until that happens.

I really don't. I'm simply relaying what I heard Tom Fitzmorris say a few days ago. He could have been completely wrong, of course, but generally he's not, and I think he's got pretty good sources. I believe he also said that they'll continue the Christmas decoration thing; that's sort of a no-brainer, of course, but there you go.

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