Cocktail of the day: The Vieux Carré

One of my favorite bars in New Orleans is the Carousel Bar at the Monteleone Hotel. There’s a piano bar in the back with comfy booths, and a faux-starlit sky on the ceiling — very nice atmosphere. My favorite spot in here is actually at the bar, which is built from parts of an actual old carousel (or “flying horses”, as we used to call them as kids in New Orleans) and the barstools revolve around the circular bar. Not to worry, it’s slow enough that you won’t get dizzy, unless you have way too much to drink.

As I think every good bar should, this bar has a signature cocktail. I always find it amusing that the last several times I went to the Carousel, the cocktail waitresses seem not to be familiar with the drink, but all the bartenders know how to make it, and one said that he gets at least a half-dozen orders for it every shift. It was invented in 1938 by the man who was then their head bartender, Mr. Walter Bergeron (11 years before this particular bar was built), and he named the drink for the French name for the French Quarter. In New Orleans you say “French Quarter” if you’re speaking English, but if you’re speaking French it’s not “le Quartier Français”, it’s called “le Vieux Carré” (the Old Square). In New Orleans we say “VOO ka-RAY.”


1 ounce rye whiskey.
1 ounce Cognac.
1 ounce sweet vermouth.
1 teaspoon Bénédictine D.O.M.
2 dashes Angostura bitters.
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters.

Half-fill a double Old Fashioned glass with ice, add ingredients
and stir to mix. Garnish with a stemless cherry.

It’s mighty, mighty good. If you can’t find Peychaud’s Bitters in your area, order some (click “Food,” then “Mixes”) — they’re cheap. If you’re serious about cocktails, your bar is not complete without them.

2 Responses to “Cocktail of the day: The Vieux Carré”

  1. Drink of the Month- Vieux Carre Cocktail : Pin Curl Magazine said:

    Aug 31, 10 at 4:36 pm

    […] 0 The people of New Orleans sure know how to mix a drink!  This recipe was invented in 1938 by Walter Bergeron, who named the drink after the French name of the French Quarter.  Recipe taken from Looka […]

  2. Drinking New Orleans, Part 1: The Vieux Carré « Tempered Spirits said:

    Mar 01, 12 at 11:00 am

    […] For decades, though, the once-signature drink was not offered at the Carousel Bar (that and the waitresses didn’t seem to know about it) but thanks to recent cocktail revival and to Tales of the Cocktail, you can now enjoy a […]