Holiday Cocktails in the French Quarter and Nearby

Holiday Cocktails French Quarter

New Orleans is rife with culinary traditions — all 300 years’ worth of them. One of those wonderful traditions is Reveillon. For a few years now the increasing number of restaurants (68 this year) is participating in bringing special Reveillon menus to the table.

Alongside the turtle soups, the oysters, and the foie gras some of the best restaurants in the city are also happily pitching in for Reveillon on the Rocks. Each year local bartenders create both classic and original cocktails to celebrate the Reveillon with holiday-themed sippers. Some of those are offered as lagniappe on the Reveillon menus, others can be enjoyed as a standalone.

Here are the highlights of the most enticing concoctions for this holiday season in and around the French Quarter, plus the most dazzlingly festive bars to enjoy your holiday-themed cocktails.

Sparkle in the bar

 The Hotel Monteleone lobby is a place to marvel at for the tall, impressive tree and, depending on time of day, caroling choirs from some of the local schools. The city’s only revolving bar, the magical Carousel Bar & Lounge located in the hotel’s lobby, is the next logical spot for getting your holiday spirit on with the specialty and the classic New Orleans cocktails.

Among the holiday cocktail specials this season are the Holiday Sparkle and Holiday Nog. Holiday Sparkle contains ginger liquor, orange bitters and sparkling wine. The main spirits of the Nog are Drambuie and Dewars, with dashes of chocolate bitters, vanilla, and half and half.

One of the to-do items on the holiday bucket list for visitors and locals alike is strolling the dazzling lobby of the Roosevelt Hotel. The block-long display of thousands of lights in the gilded, marble-floored Waldorf Wonderland Lobby is fantastic, setting off with the annual lighting ceremony on Tuesday, November 27.

While you enjoy the display in the lobby, stop by The Fountain Lounge for some festively sophisticated ambiance and this year’s featured holiday cocktail, Mistletoe Collins. This Collins is made with vodka, cranberry cordial and lemon juice, and topped with champagne.

Holiday sippers for Reveillon

 A handful of local restaurants that offer a multi-course, prix fixe Reveillon menu throw in a holiday-themed specialty cocktail as lagniappe. Vacherie’s deliciously decadent four-course Reveillon menu is once again complemented with Poinsettia, a sparkling wine cranberry cocktail. SouBou’s four-course Reveillon menu includes a lagniappe shot of house-made coquito, a Puerto Rican-style eggnog. Brennan’s is offering brandy milk punch with its three-course Reveillon menu; The Pelican Club, bourbon-spiked egg nog; and Gumbo Shop serves up Café Brûlot, the always exciting crowd pleaser.

Standalone standouts

These holiday cocktails aren’t part of the Reveillon menu and can all be enjoyed as a standalone treat. Stop by anytime at The Bombay Club for its classic and delicious brandy milk punch. The 364 Days cocktail at Longway Tavern is a Christmasey concoction of gin, lime, honey, allspice, and rosemary. Longway’s another special this year, called Chimney Sweep, is made with Chartreuse, Milk Porter beer, and the Czech herbal bitters, Becherovka. The third offering, called Feeling Good Lewis, is a citrusy mix of cognac, bitters and Applejack, a strong apple brandy.

Galatoire’s 33 Bar and Steak’s Idunn Cocktail cannot get more festive with ice cider (apple ice wine) and sparkling wine. Another special, called Mara Cocktail, is served with nutmeg. Besides Calvados (apple bandy), another main ingredient is B&B Liquor, a blend of French brandy and Benedectine. To fight the chill, such as it is in New Orleans, Mississippi Mudslide at Cafe Beignet is just the thing — with Baileys, vodka, milk, and coffee liquor, topped with whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate.