I don’t know much history on this one, or if it has an association with New Orleans, but it seems to fit in, at least. You can see ingredients in common with the Vieux Carré.
We loved the spiciness and herbal notes of this one, so we made sure to use a spicy rye and a top-shelf vermouth. We also used the Torani Amer.
The Creole Cocktail
1-1/2 ounces rye whiskey.
1-1/2 ounces sweet vermouth (Carpano Antica Formula or Punt E Mes, please).
1 barspoon Bénédictine D.O.M. liqueur.
1 barspoon Amer Picon (substitute Torani Amer or Boudreau’s Amer Replica).
Combine with ice in a shaker; stir for 30 seconds and strain. Lemon twist garnish.
This one’s made it into the regular rotation.
At Cure in New Orleans, they do a variation of this featuring Luxardo’s Amaro Abano instead of the Picon or Torani Amer (impossible and almost impossible to obtain in New Orleans, respectively). It works beautifully, and so would Amaro Ramazzotti if you have it on hand.
The Creole Cocktail
(Adapted by Cure, 4905 Freret St. at Upperline, New Orleans)
1-1/2 ounces Sazerac Rye, 6 year.
1 ounce sweet vermouth. (Cure uses Cinzano Rosso)
1/4 ounce Bénédictine D.O.M. liqueur.
1/4 ounce Luxardo Amaro Abano.
Stir with cracked ice until well-chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon twist.
There are different versions of this cocktail, some so different that I wonder why the other one didn’t just get its own name. Here’s one of the other ones we enjoyed:
We enjoyed this particular variation, though.
The Creole Variation
or, Creole Cocktail No. 2
1-1/2 ounces Bourbon whiskey.
1/4 ounce orange Curaçao.
1 dash Peychaud’s Bitters.
1 dash Angostura Bitters.
Pastis or absinthe.
Coat the inside of a cocktail glass with the pastis or absinthe. Combine the remaining ingredients in a mixing glass with ice, and stir for 30-40 seconds. Strain into the coated glass. No garnish specified.
We opted for the absinthe for a little more complexity, and Jade Liqueurs’ Nouvelle-Orléans, natch. Thing is, I thought this recipe, although perfect for the classic 2-ounce cocktails of the Golden Age, was a little too small for our needs last night. I tripled the recipe (4-1/2 Bourbon, 3/4 Curaçao and 3 dashes each bitters) and split that into 2 glasses, which gave us each a slightly more than a 3 ounce cocktail and was perfect.
It’s amazing how much flavor you can get from a mere rinse, especially with a complex, funky absinthe like Nouvelle-Orléans. It’s also quite a strong drink — not a lot of amelioration of the Bourbon by vermouth or juices or liqueurs, and you’re at a 6:1 ratio of base spirit to liqueur. A good long stir helps smooth that out, and the flavor modifiers gave it a nice complexity. This is a first cousin to a Sazerac, and if you were to switch the base spirit to rye it might even be a sibling. That’s Creole enough for me.