Vieux Carre – The Perfect Way to Celebrate Fat Tuesday
Earlier this week, I was fortunate to join many of New York’s cocktail twitterati for a celebration of Mardi Gras at one of my favorite new bars, Rye House. At an event hosted by the Time Out Dining & Libation Society, we were lucky to find proprietor and master mixologist Lynette Marrero behind the bar furiously shaking and stirring the classic cocktails of New Orleans, including the Sazarac, the French 75, and my favorite of the evening – the Vieux Carre.
I was introduced to this cocktail during my trip down to New Orleans last year for Tales of the Cocktail – it’s a mainstay at the Carousel Bar in the Hotel Moteleone (which is where Tales takes place). As Ted Haigh tells it in his book Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, the name comes from the local term for the French Quarter – le Vieux Carre, meaning “the Old Square.” The cocktail was invented sometime prior to the 1937 publication of Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix Them, by Walter Bergeron, who worked behind what would eventually become the Carousel Bar. It fell out of favor for years, but I loved the one I had in New Orleans last year, and I really loved the… let’s just say more than one… I had at Rye House this past week.
Here’s what you’re going to need:
1oz rye whiskey
1oz sweet vermouth
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
2 dashes Peychaud Bitters
The preparation is simple: combine all the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice, stir well, and strain over fresh ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with a simple lemon twist.
The result is a smooth yet complex cocktail, sure to transport you directly to Bourbon Street.