New Orleans is famously a drinking town, so what better place to celebrate World Cocktail Day?
Best Cocktail Bars in NOLA
There are plenty of incredible cocktail bars to visit on May 13, but here are a few to add to your bar crawl agenda.
Manolito is the go-to spot for scrumptious Cuban food and cocktails. The menu has a long list of both frozen and classic Cuban libations with six frozen daiquiris to choose from, including banana and guava-flavored. A fun twist on a classic, the house amaretto sour is served frozen and straight out of the blender. In the non-frozen department, the “Hotel Nacional,” named after the eponymous Havana hotel, uses the house rum blend, apricot brandy, lime, and pineapple. No trip to Cuba would be complete without a mojito, and Chris Hannah’s recipe with a mix of rums, mint, sugar, soda, and bitters is a wonderfully refreshing way to toast World Cocktail Day.
The Warehouse District has a Parisian oasis perfect for toasting to World Cocktail Day. Bar Marilou partners with Paris-based Quixotic Projects to bring some of the most well-rounded beverages to New Orleans. The partnership has launched the “Taking Flights” series, which takes guests to a new city every month through a flight of three cocktails. May is dedicated to the vibrant cocktail scene of Mexico City. The regular menu will also whisk guests away to exotic locales like Japan in the “Tokyo Record” made with Japanese whiskey, sherry, elderflower, lemon, and vanilla. The designated driver can get in on the action with one of three non-alcoholic creations. The “Blind Serpent” features grapefruit spiced cordial, cucumber, lime, basil, and tonic.
Take yourself on a spirited vacation at Beachbum Berry’s Latitude 29. The island vibes and tropical ingredients will set you at ease. The eponymous cocktail uses eight-year Demerara rum, passion fruit, a house-made Madagascar vanilla syrup, orange, pineapple, and lemon. It’s also serving classic tiki libations like “Missionary’s Downfall,” a 1948 invention with mint, diced pineapple, honey, lime, peach brandy, and your choice of light rum or vodka. Latitude 29 has even resurrected a forgotten Don the Beachcomber recipe from the notes left to his maître d’ Dick Santiago. “Nui Nui” is a super silky rum punch that thankfully was not lost to time.
Cure was the 2018 James Beard Award-winner for their outstanding bar program. It has also been included on best bar lists in Esquire and Food & Wine. The Freret Street bar has largely been credited with bringing the craft cocktail movement to New Orleans and continues offering innovative libations to the area. Cure does the classics right, as evidenced in its “Old Pal” (rye, Campari, and dry vermouth) and its “Bramble” (London dry gin, blackberry, lemon). The house reserve cocktail menu has even more exciting libations but will put a more considerable dent in your wallet. The “1980s Martini” will set you back more than $60 and is made with vintage Plymouth gin from the ’80s, a blend of vermouths, and a twist of lemon. The seasonal cocktail menu showcases the skills of talented bartenders like Gina Hoover’s “Trap Door,” which is a kiwi white negroni with the silky body of a gimlet and notes of herbs and gentian.
Victory is nestled right in the heart of downtown New Orleans, and the talented team brings the artistry of bygone cocktail days back to life. The seasonally shifting menus are endlessly creative and are sure to impress. The classics section is dedicated to New Orleans staples like the labor-intensive “Ramos Gin Fizz,” a frothy mix of gin, egg white, sugar, cream, citrus, orange flower water, and soda shaken until the last of the ice melts away. The wildly creative “So Pho-king Good” bring soju, lime, mint, jalapeño, and chives together with the addition of house-made pho syrup. Rarely has umami in a cocktail worked so well.
If you're looking for delicious craft cocktails without the fuss, Bar Tonique is for you. The neighborhood spot has been a favorite haunt for cocktail drinkers since 2008. No matter which day of the week you come in, there will be some sort of drink special. On Sundays, mai tais are only $6 and on Fridays Tullamore D.E.W. shots are just $3. The cocktail menu strongly favors classic cocktail recipes from across the flavor spectrum. Keep it light with southsides and palomas or go boozier with a Philadelphia fish house punch or whiskey mint julep. The line of phosphate sodas and cream sodas are excellent for those abstaining from alcohol.