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 complex cocktail contains Cognac, Whiskey, and Vermouth and is packed full of flavor.
The Vieux Carré is a short drink and is 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 create 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. And maybe your 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 components are Cognac, French Brandy, American Rye Whiskey, and sweet Italian Vermouth. A brilliant representation of the diverse American society in the early 20th century.
But now, back to the cocktail. The Vieux Carré is an intense, boozy, and bold mix. It's sweet, bitter, smooth, and very alcoholic. And that is a major 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.
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.
How does a Vieux Carré taste?
If you're familiar with both Manhattan and Sazerac, you perhaps figured the Vieux Carré is a mix of both. For those of you who are not, I will explain the drink in more detail.
The cocktail contains a bold mix of intense and flavorsome ingredients. The base of the drink is split between 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 bring 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.
- 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
- Add all ingredients into your mixing glass together with plenty of ice.
- Stir until well-chilled and strain over ice into a chilled cocktail glass.
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? A initially alcohol-free ginger beer drink that, over time, evolved into a gingery Cognac cocktail with a innovative orange peel garnish. Or if you like something more boozy, try the Sazerac. It combines 4 different high proof spirits with just some bitters and a splash of lemon.