From eggnog to a snowball old fashioned
It wouldn’t be Christmas in New Orleans without a few magical cocktails and bar experiences to match! Here’s our guide to drinking your way into the holiday spirit this season.
The Roosevelt Hotel
Perhaps the only thing that could make the wonderment of the Roosevelt’s illuminated lobby even more dazzling would be to experience it with a themed cocktail in hand. Luckily, all three lobby bars have you covered. The Sazerac Bar and Fountain Lounge both offer the delightfully alliterative Candy Cane (Rumple Minze, crème de cacao, raspberry swirl, cream) and Christmas Cookie (Stoli vanilla vodka, brown sugar syrup, vanilla extract, cream) cocktails. Domenica is offering a Hazy Sour (bourbon, hazelnut orgeat, lime, nutmeg) and an Egg Nog spiked with brandy, spiced rum, and amaretto.
Miracle of Miracles!
“Miracle” is a holiday pop-up that began in New York in 2014 and has since spread to a wide variety of domestic and international locations. This year, New Orleans is lucky to boast not one but two Miracle locations: Longway Tavern in the Quarter, and Barrel Proof in the Lower Garden District. Miracle describes itself as “a Christmas-themed pop-up cocktail bar that serves holiday cocktails in a festive setting. With kitschy holiday décor, professionally developed cocktails and the nostalgic energy of the best office party you’ve ever been to, Miracle is sure to get even the grouchiest grinch in the holiday spirit.” Whether you opt for the Christmapolitan (vodka, elderflower, dry vermouth, spiced cranberry sauce, rosemary, lime, absinthe mist), Christmas Carol Barrel (Blanco tequila, coffee liqueur, cocoa nib-infused orange & cognac liqueur, iced hot chocolate, Mexican spices), Snowball Old-Fashioned (caramelized pecan bourbon, spiced molasses syrup, wormwood bitters), Run Run Rudolph (prosecco, London Dry gin, mulled wine puree, lemon, cane syrup), or one of the six other specialty cocktails, you’re in for a tasty holiday treat in an absolutely darling piece of glassware.
There’s also the unaffiliated Miracle on Fulton Street experience, with a gorgeously lit-up walkway guiding visitors down Fulton Alley to the enormous Christmas tree that’s sprouted up between Grand Isle, Manning’s, and Ernst Café. And don’t forget to check out the nearly 12-foot tall gingerbread houses– replicas of two historic New Orleans homes– in the Harrah’s Hotel lobby. They’re made of 600 pieces of gingerbread cemented together with 800 pounds of royal icing, and took 450 hours to make!
Sippin’ Santa at Latitude 29
We may be fortunate enough to miss the snowstorms some of our northern neighbors face at this time of year, but if the holidays in New Orleans aren’t quite tropical enough for you head to Latitude 29 in the French Quarter for a Tiki-inspired kiki. A ‘companion pop-up’ to Miracle, Sippin’ Santa offers similarly thoughtfully crafted holiday cocktails with a Polynesian twist. Try favorites such as the namesake Sippin’ Santa (aged Demerara rum, amaro, lemon juice, orange juice, gingerbread mix), the Shaka Kalikimaka (London Dry gin, allspice dram, orange & cognac liqueur, lime juice, falernum, cranberry syrup, herbsaint; served frozen), the Rudolph Shoots the Curl shot (herbal mint liqueur, amaro, dark chocolate liqueur), or if you’re in a sharing mood, the Jingle Bowl (Jamaican & Demerara rums, apple brandy, amaro, lemon juice, orange juice, pineapple juice, maple & cinnamon syrups, angostura bitters; in a bowl that serves 2-4).
Christmas at Barcadia
If you meander down Tchoupitoulas in the CBD, it’s hard to miss the flashy Christmas at Barcadia extravaganza, with its plethora of pulsing lights and larger-than-life inflatable polar bear protruding through the façade. Inside you’ll find tinsel galore and a nod to the alphabet wall from Stranger Things (because Christmas lights, of course). More importantly, they have a nine-item holiday menu featuring selections such as the White Christmas (brandy, crème de cacao, cream, sugar), Frisky Whiskey (bourbon, Branca Menta, Christmas spice, bitters), Naughty or Spice (rum, lime, pineapple, Christmas spice), and Feliz Navidad (tequila, Averna, Christmas spice, bitters). If you want to really ramp up the festivities, you can purchase a holiday mug for your libation and get half off your first refill.
Gris-Gris is offering a four-item 2019 holiday drink menu and they are all on our NICE list (but don’t blame us if they leave you feeling a little naughty!). There’s the Hot Buttered Rum (butter, vanilla, and rum combined with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and brown sugar), Apple Cider Sour (apple cider, bourbon, fresh lemon juice and Gris-Gris cayenne liqueur, finished with amaretto and a house-made autumn syrup), Zombi Nog (classic egg-based milk punch frozen and perfectly spiced with a secret recipe), and Kernion Cordial (fresh cranberry reduction with red wine, sugar and brandy). If you’re having trouble choosing just one, they offer the Apple Cider Sour, Zombi Nog, and Kernion Cordial as a flight.
A hallmark of any good Rèveillon dinner is a flaming cup of Cafè Brûlot, a Yuletide after-dinner drink invented at Antoine’s Restaurant right here in New Orleans. Like its cousin-from-another-restaurant-family Bananas Foster, the spiced (and spiked!) coffee concoction is prepared tableside and set ablaze before your eyes, just for a little extra warmth on those cold winter days. In addition to Antoine’s, Cafè Brûlot can now also be found at other storied Creole restaurants in the Quarter such as Galatoire’s, Arnaud’s, and Gumbo Shop.
Cajun Eggnog Daiquiris
If flaming drinks aren’t your thing, there’s always a frozen daiquiri to meet your needs in the Big Easy. Head to any New Orleans Original Daiquiris location to try their famous Cajun Eggnog Daiquiri, spiked with bourbon and blended to perfection.
Snake & Jake’s Christmas Club Lounge
And if all you want to do is drink cheap beer in the diviest of dive bars, we’re here to remind you that Snake & Jake’s Uptown is technically a Christmas bar all year round!