Vieux Carré

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Cocktail History

The Vieux Carré is a classic cocktail that was created by Walter Bergeron at Carousel Bar inside the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans, Louisiana. Similar to the Sazerac, another drink inspired by The Big Easy, it’s made with whiskey and Creole bitters, but it splits the base spirit with brandy and adds sweet vermouth, Bénédictine, and aromatic bitters for more complexity.

Cocktail Ingredients

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Rye: This is a type of whiskey made with at least 51% rye grain, malted barley, corn, and water. We used Heaven Hill Distillery Rittenhouse Rye because it has a rich and clean taste with notes of nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, cocoa, and citrus. For a mocktail version of this drink, try The Gospel Responsible Rye Non-Alcoholic Whiskey in place of the whiskey.

Cognac: This is a type of brandy made in Cognac, France with distilled white wine. We used Courvoisier VSOP Cognac because it has a rich mouthfeel and a delightful brandy spice with notes of peach, almond, and cinnamon. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Escape Mocktails Non-Alcoholic Cognac Alternative in place of the brandy.

Sweet Vermouth: This is a fortified wine made with grapes, sugar, botanicals, herbs, sugar, and alcohol. We used Dolin Vermouth de Chambery Rouge because it’s a high quality vermouth with notes of herbs, coriander, hyssop, rhubarb, and citrus. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic Apéritif Rosso in place of the sweet vermouth.

Bénédictine: This is a liqueur made in France with twenty-seven herbs and spices, sugar, and alcohol. For a mocktail version of this drink, try homemade black tea, honey, and thyme syrup in place of the Bénédictine liqueur.

Peychaud’s Creole Bitters: This is a food product made with gentian root, anise, medicinal herbs, sugar, and alcohol. For a mocktail version of this drink, try All The Bitter Non-Alcoholic New Orleans Bitters in place of the Creole bitters.

Aromatic Bitters: This is a food product made with botanicals, herbs, and alcohol. We used Angostura Aromatic Bitters. For a mocktail version of this drink, try All The Bitter Alcohol-Free Aromatic Bitters in place of the aromatic bitters.

Orange Peel: This the peel of an orange that has been cut into a strip.

Bartending Tools

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following bar tools:

Jigger: This is used to measure and pour ingredients. We used the Japanese jigger from the A Bar Above 14-Piece Silver Bar Set.

Mixing Glass: This is used to hold the ingredients while they’re being stirred. We used the Viski 17 oz Cocktail Mixing Glass.

Bar Spoon: This is used to stir ingredients. We used the Barfly Stainless Steel Teardrop Bar Spoon.

Julep Strainer: This is used to strain out ice and solid ingredients after the cocktail is stirred. We used the A Bar Above Julep Strainer.

Peeler: This is used to remove the garnish peel from the citrus. We used the OXO Good Grips 2-Piece Peeler Set.

Tasting Notes

The Vieux Carré has strong aromas of sweet orange zest, then begins with the spicy taste of rye followed by the vermouths muted sweetness, and is lead out by a pleasant herbal finish that tingles in the throat.

Our Opinion of This Cocktail Recipe: Thanks to its bitter, spicy, and boozy profile, this cocktail’s not fit for every palate (like Kendall’s). Alex though loved every spicy second of it, despite usually being lukewarm on sweet vermouth.

Which of our palates is yours most like?
Find out if your palate is most similar to Alex’s or Kendall’s by answering five questions.

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Which of our palates is yours most like?
Find out if your palate is most similar to Alex’s or Kendall’s by answering five questions.

Take Our Quiz →

Alex’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐
“I’ve had the Vieux Carré a few times before and always enjoyed it, much more than the classic Manhattan that it’s based on. It combines a few of the great tastes of Louisiana, and it has a definite lingering herbal spice as well as Bénédictine, both of which I love. Admittedly, I would take the Sazerac over this or the De La Louisiane over both, but this is a great pick if you’re feeling a little Americana and want some seriously bold flavors and booziness.”

Kendall’s Take: ⭐⭐
“I could tell from the first whiff that I wouldn’t care for this drink, and judging from the way I visibly winced while tasting it, I was right. Although I’ve appreciated the chance to taste the three most famous New Orleans-inspired cocktail recipes (the Sazerac, De La Louisiane, and now the Vieux Carré), all three are just too bitter for my palate. I almost always choose gin or vodka drinks over a whiskey base, but if I were going to drink whiskey, I much prefer bourbon recipes—more specifically ones that balance bourbon’s spiciness and burn with tangy citrus juice or a sweeter liqueur.”

Recipe

This cocktail recipe was adapted from The Essential Cocktail Book: A Complete Guide to Modern Drinks by the editors of PUNCH and Megan Krigbaum.

Sale
The Essential Cocktail Book: A Complete Guide to Modern Drinks with 150 Recipes
The Essential Cocktail Book: A Complete Guide to Modern Drinks with 150 Recipes
Hardcover Book; Editors of PUNCH (Author); English (Publication Language); 352 Pages – 09/05/2017 (Publication Date) – Ten Speed Press (Publisher)
$13.05 Amazon Prime

AuthorThe Essential Cocktail Book

Yields1 ServingPrep Time5 mins

Ingredients
 2 oz Rye
 1 oz Cognac
 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
 ¼ oz Bénédictine
 2 dashes Peychaud's Creole Bitters
 2 dashes Aromatic Bitters
 1 Orange Peel

Method
1

Add rye, brandy, Bénédictine, sweet vermouth, bitters, and cubed ice to a mixing glass.

2

Stir for 30-45 seconds.

3

Strain into a lowball glass.

4

Garnish with orange peel.

Ingredients

Ingredients
 2 oz Rye
 1 oz Cognac
 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
 ¼ oz Bénédictine
 2 dashes Peychaud's Creole Bitters
 2 dashes Aromatic Bitters
 1 Orange Peel

Directions

Method
1

Add rye, brandy, Bénédictine, sweet vermouth, bitters, and cubed ice to a mixing glass.

2

Stir for 30-45 seconds.

3

Strain into a lowball glass.

4

Garnish with orange peel.

Vieux Carré

Make It a Mocktail: Use The Gospel Responsible Rye Non-Alcoholic Whiskey in place of the whiskey, Escape Mocktails Non-Alcoholic Cognac Alternative in place of the brandy, Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic Apéritif Rosso in place of the sweet vermouth, homemade black tea, honey, and thyme syrup in place of the Bénédictine liqueur, All The Bitter Non-Alcoholic New Orleans Bitters in place of the Creole bitters, and All The Bitter Alcohol-Free Aromatic Bitters in place of the aromatic bitters to try a booze-free version of this drink.

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More Rye Cocktails

If you like this rye whiskey-based cocktail recipe, here are a few others we’ve tried that you may enjoy:

De La Louisiane Cocktail Recipe

De La Louisiane: A rye cocktail made with Bénédictine, sweet vermouth, absinthe, Peychaud’s bitters, and a cherry

Falling Leaves Cocktail Recipe

Falling Leaves: A rye cocktail made with Amaro Montenegro, toasted fig syrup, chocolate bitters, and an orange slice

Brooklyn Cocktail Recipe

Brooklyn: A rye cocktail made with dry vermouth, maraschino liqueur, and Amer Picon

Mott & Mulberry Cocktail Recipe

Mott & Mulberry: A rye cocktail made with Luxardo Amaro Abano, apple cider, lemon juice, Demerara syrup, and apple slices

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