3 Classic New Orleans Cocktails from Geoffrey Wilson of Barrelhouse
|The Vieux Carré is complex, spicy, and sweet.|
Wilson's love of making drinks becomes obvious as he excitedly shakes, pours, stirs, and mixes drinks, chattering the whole time. Once each drink is combined to his satisfaction, he takes a sip and almost always whispers something like "yeah" or "that's right," apparently his stamp of approval. The cocktail that repeatedly had us singing its praises was the Vieux Carré, a Manhattan-like cocktail invented in the 1930s by Walter Bergeron at the Monteleone hotel.
3/4 ounce rye whiskey
3/4 ounce cognac
3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
1 tsp. bénédictine
2 dashes Peychaud's bitters
2 dashes Fee Brother's Old Fashioned bitters
Combine all elements together, add ice, and stir approximately 40 to 50 times. Strain the ice and garnish with a lemon peel, squeezing the essential oils over top. Wilson recommends vermouth like Punt e Mes, rather than a more overpowering Carpano Antica. He also recommends the Rittenhouse bonded rye for the same reasons as in the Sazerac.
Bonus: Wilson's McMillain
Heather Hoch The McMillian is an homage to New Orleans mixology in flavor and name.
Lucky for cocktail lovers, Wilson is in Chandler for now, slinging drinks and telling stories like any good bartender would do. Some of his favorite spots in town to drink include Crudo, Last Drop Bar, Mabel's on Main, and Blue Hound. However, back in New Orleans, Wilson loved going to Bar Tonique, Tivoli, Cain and Table, and Bellocq. While working at Loa, he made this cocktail in homage to his Southern mixology mentor, Chris McMillian, which got him in Gaz Regan's 101 Best Cocktails of 2013.