The Gunshop Fizz

Here’s one of many fantastic drinks I had during my first evening at Cure back home in New Orleans, finally getting there about four months after they opened.

We started off the evening with the wonderful Angostura Sour, which taught us that aromatic cocktail bitters could actually be the base spirit for a cocktail. Now, thinking that it is indeed possible to make a drink in which the only base spirit is a high-alcohol, supposedly non-potable aromatic bitters, how would they give it a local twist? Well, Peychaud’s bitters, of course, and giving it “the Pimm’s Cup treatment.” May I present their creation (to our mutual amazement)?


(by Kirk Estopinal and Maksym Pazuniak, Cure, New Orleans)

2 ounces Peychaud’s bitters.
1 ounce lemon juice.
1 ounce simple syrup.
2 strawberries.
3 cucumber slices.
3 swaths of orange peel.
3 swaths of grapefruit peel.

Add all ingredients but the Sanbittèr to a mixing tin. Muddle thoroughly and let stand for 2 minutes for the flavors to blend. Shake hard with ice, and double strain over fresh ice in a Collins glass. Top with Sanbittèr and garnish with a cucumber slice.


This drink is incredibly light and refreshing, with a bitter edge that kicks in a while after the initial finish, and slaps your palate in the best possible way. The cherry, anise and spice flavors of the Peychaud’s harmonize beautifully with everything else, and one extra little edge of bitterness from the Sanbittèr on top. (In case you’re not familiar with it, it’s a San Pellegrino product, a bright red soda sold in 50ml bottles that’s like a non-alcoholic Campari and soda.) And look at that color! It’s a bit labor-intensive (try to avoid ordering six of these on a night when they’re three-deep at the bar), but very much worth the effort. Bravo, y’all.

And the name? Antoine Amadie Peychaud’s pharmacy where he made his family bitters recipe was at 437 Royal Street in the French Quarter, which is currently occupied by James M. Cohen’s antique gun and sword shop.

If you’re going to drink a tall, bright red drink in New Orleans, this is the serious one.

Cure itself is in a reclaimed firehouse, elegantly designed, a nice long bar plus tables and a few booths, and one bit of intensely New Orleanian décor that I’m not sure too many other food-and-drink establishments have had the stones to hang in the bar.


Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it’s the national bird of New Orleans, Periplaneta americana, the American cockroach. I don’t know about y’all’s, but the ones in New Orleans fly. They tend to like to aim for your face. Guaranteed to make a grown man scream like a girl.  Or at least this one.  (*shudder*)

Okay, back to the drinks …