Happy hour in the French Quarter: Day Two!

After a wonderful breakfast at Willa Jean, we walked back towards the French Quarter. As luck would have it, we had to pass by the historic Roosevelt Hotel. Well, we planned to go here ahead of time. The hotel and lobby are breathtaking. It’s been a hotel under different names for 125 years. The detailing and golden era theme is present everywhere. There is a magnificent time piece in the lobby that was displayed at the Paris Exhibitions of 1867 and 1878. It is an absolute must visit when you are in New Orleans. Inside the Roosevelt Hotel, there is another historic must see, the Sazerac Bar.

The Sazerac Bar is named after what some consider to be the world’s first mixed drink. The ingredients in a Sazerac are rye whiskey or cognac, absinthe, a sugar cube and Peychaud bitters. If you have never tried it before, I recommend it. It’s a wonderful, historic cocktail. The bar is on one of the most beautiful we have ever visited. There are wonderful murals throughout, and the wood bar is African walnut. It’s absolutely gorgeous.

We got here right when they opened so we had the place to ourselves. Our wonderful bartender, Matthew, was incredibly nice. Of course, the first cocktail we ordered was the sazerac. It was strong but delicious. Eric had a second one but I decided to order a cosmopolitan. I use this drink as a measuring stick to see just how good a bartender is at their craft. It’s an easy drink to make, but some make it too sweet. If I get a perfect cosmopolitan, then I know the bartender knows what they are doing! My drink was perfect. It wasn’t syrupy sweet. It had the right balance of flavors.

We were having such a wonderful time. We didn’t want to leave, but the day was young, and there were other bars we needed to visit. We finally parted ways but we will definitely be back next time we are in New Orleans.

 

We were back in the French Quarter, and headed to another wonderful historic hotel and bar. The Hotel Monteleone houses the Carousel Bar and Lounge. Yes, it’s a real carousel that seats 25 people and rotates every 15 minutes. It’s a fun place and one that you have to visit. When we arrived, the carousel bar was packed so we got a table in the beautiful lounge.

We just ordered one cocktail each. I got the Brazilian Punch, which was made with Amburana, Nocello, fresh lime juice, pineapple juice, agave nectar, and Fee Brothers Aztec chocolate bitters. It was delicious! All these flavors just blended together so well. Eric ordered the Vieux Carre. It is the signature cocktail of the Carousal Bar, and was created in 1938. Eric loves history, and when you can mix cocktails with history, he is all in! His was made with sazerac rye whiskey, Pierre Ferrand 1840 cognac, Berto red vermouth, Benedictine, angostura and Peychaud bitters. It was amazing. Another cocktail with so many ingredients, but it all worked and it was delicious.

The hotel and bar is a must see when you go to New Orleans. If you want a seat at the carousel bar, you have to go early because it fills up quickly. The service and staff were super friendly. The lounge area was beautiful. This is another place we will definitely visit again when we go back.

 

Our next stop was yet again another historic bar and restaurant. That’s the thing we loved about New Orleans. The amount of history here is amazing, and it’s everywhere. It was time to visit the birthplace of the Grasshopper. Welcome to Tujague’s.

Going to Tujague’s is like stepping back in time. I could write an entire article just about the history of this place, but please make sure you visit their website and see for yourself. The Grasshopper is a sweet, mint-flavored after-dinner drink. The name of the drink is from the green color, which comes from the crème de menthe. The cocktail originated at Tujague’s in 1918, and was invented by its owner, Philip Guichet.

Needless to say, the Grasshopper was the first thing we ordered. It was everything we expected and more. It was minty, sweet and delicious. When you are at the birthplace of a drink, the standards need to be high. Tujague’s did not disappoint. At this time, we were getting a bit hungry and decided to get a snack. We ordered their charbroiled oysters and their gumbo.

The oysters were good but could have been cooked just a bit longer. The gumbo was fantastic. It was full of flavor and spice. It was perhaps the best gumbo we had so far on our trip. Would we come here again? Absolutely! Tujague’s is a New Orleans must place that you visit. It’s cozy and the history is very prevalent. Make sure you put this on your list of places to visit when you go to New Orleans.

 

We had one more bar to visit before dinner. If you love history, cocktails, and bars, you absolutely have to visit this next place. Located in Bourbon Street, it is the oldest bar in America. Welcome to Lafitte’s Blacksmith Bar.

Lafitte was a pirate and a hero of the Battle of New Orleans. I’ll leave it up to you to read up on him. Please make sure you do so. He had a colorful past, and I’m sure you will enjoy reading about him. The bar was built between 1722 and 1732 by Nicolas Touze, and is reputed to be the oldest structure used as a bar in the United States. If you love bars, this is a place you have to visit.

Lafitte’s Bar is located on Bourbon Street about several blocks above the epicenter of the Bourbon Street craziness. It’s located in a quieter section of Bourbon Street but when you get there, you will be glad you made the journey. The decor inside is very minimal. There is a lot of exposed wood and brickwork. The lighting was very low to add to the charm and history of the place. It’s a very old structure and the bar kept to that theme. We loved it! We got one drink, since it was getting late, we had to get back to our hotel and get ready for dinner. We were venturing outside the French Quarter for dinner tonight, but for a good reason. We were dining at a very famous chef’s restaurant. Stay tuned for our fantastic, Masterchef?!, dinner….

 

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