Vieux Carré and bitters

Vieux Carré - A Cocktail from the French Quarter in New Orleans

By Timo Torner / Last updated on July 29, 2022 

First published on September 5, 2021 

Vieux Carré is a creation coming from the old French Quarter in New Orleans. It is a truly delightful mix of Cognac and Whiskey.

The famous French Quarter of New Orleans is home to many influential cocktails in the history of mixology. And one of them is the Vieux Carré. 

The refined cocktail contains Cognac, Whiskey, and Vermouth and is full of flavor.

The Vieux Carré is a short drink and comparable to the Manhattan cocktail. However, the Vieux Carré is a lot more complex. 

The base of Rye Whiskey and Cognac might be nothing new, but the additional ingredients are what make this cocktail so unique: 

Sweetened with Vermouth, herbal notes from D.O.M. Bénédictine, and two different cocktail bitters the Vieux Carre has a rich and deep flavor profile.

History of the Vieux Carré

New Orleans is home to many famous cocktails. And the Vieux Carré is certainly one of the more popular ones. 

It was back in 1937 in the legendary Carousel Bar where Walter Bergeron mixed up the very first version of it. Located inside Hotel Monteleone, the Carousel Bar was one of the most popular spots in the French Quarter at that time. 

However, maybe you already realized, despite the hotel being in the French Quarter, the name is Italian. And this mix of heritages reflects in the cocktail, as well.

The Vieux Carre Cocktail

The components of the Vieux Carre are French Cognac, French Brandy, American Rye Whiskey, and sweet Italian Vermouth. A brilliant representation of the diverse American society in the early 20th century.

The Vieux Carré is an intense, boozy, and bold mix. It's sweet, bitter, smooth, and very alcoholic. And its simple yet refined classiness is a principal reason why this cocktail is still on many cocktail menus all over the country.

What does Vieux Carré mean?

Vieux Carré literally translates to Old Quarter. Vieux means old, and Carré quarter or square. And common nickname for the French Quarter was Old Quarter.

The French Quarter in New Orleans is probably the most famous part of the town. And as the name very much implies, it was under strong French influence. And the cocktail pays a well-deserved tribute to it.

How does a Vieux Carré taste?

If you're familiar with both Manhattan and Sazerac, you can look at the Vieux Carré Cocktail as a mix of these two. If that does not give you an idea, I provide some more detail:

The cocktail contains a bold mix of intense and flavorsome ingredients. The drink's base is a blend of Rye and Cognac, and both of those spirits are able to unfold their aroma. 

The spicy notes from Rye Whiskey blend amazingly well with the smooth fruity and floral notes of the Cognac.

The richness of sweet Vermouth combined with the herbal notes from D.O.M. Bénédictine brings a broad mix of herbs, spices, and botanicals.

And to round off the drink, two different cocktail bitters add depth of flavor. Plus, the beloved Angostura bitters and Peychaud's also bring a bit of structure to the Vieux Carré.

Other cocktails from New Orleans

Many different classic cocktail recipes are coming from New Orleans. The most famous creations are the Ramos Gin Fizz, the Brandy Crusta, and the city's official cocktail - the Sazerac. That makes for a great party, I'd say.

Sazerac Cocktail
The Sazerac

Other Cognac Cocktails to try

If you like the Vieux Carré and want to try more cocktails based on Cognac, how about the Horse's Neck with a kick? An initially alcohol-free ginger beer drink that, over time, evolved into a gingery Cognac cocktail with an innovative orange peel garnish. 

Or if you like something minty, try the Stinger Cocktail. It combines Cognac with Creme de menthe. 

Another fabulous option is the French Connection, an elegant mix of Amaretto and Cognac. More Cognac drinks are the Between the Sheets, the Sidecar Cocktail, or the Suffering Bastard.

Vieux Carré and bitters

Vieux Carré

A short and boozy drink based on Cognac and Whiskey.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cognac, rye
Servings: 1
Calories: 160kcal
Cost: $3.10

Ingredients

  • 0.75 oz Rye Whiskey
  • 0.75 oz Cognac
  • 0.75 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 1 bsp D.O.M. Bénédictine
  • 2 dashes Peychaud's bitters
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters

Instructions

  • Add all ingredients into your mixing glass together with plenty of ice.
    0.75 oz Rye Whiskey, 0.75 oz Cognac, 0.75 oz Sweet Vermouth, 1 bsp D.O.M. Bénédictine, 2 dashes Peychaud's bitters, 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Stir until well-chilled and strain over ice into a chilled cocktail glass.

Nutrition

Serving: 2.75oz | Calories: 160kcal | Carbohydrates: 6.11g | Protein: 0.04g | Potassium: 0.25mg | Sugar: 6.11g | Iron: 0.05mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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