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What to Drink This Weekend: Vieux Carré

What to Drink This Weekend: Vieux Carré

Looking for a new cocktail to try out this weekend? Want to wind down with a fresh new drink? We’ve got you covered. Here’s what you should drink this weekend.

We’re settling in this weekend with a stone-cold classic. New Orleans has a rich cocktail history and while we’re often drawn to the unassailable Sazerac, we’re going to focus on the Vieux Carré. Dating back to the 1930s, the Vieux Carré is named for the city’s French Quarter and can still be found at some of New Orleans’ best bars. There are dozens of ways to riff and remix this classic, but the base always stays the same. Rye and cognac combine for a drink that’s boozy, refined, and infinitely sippable.

Vieux Carré Recipe

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Rye – If you wanted to opt for a high rye bourbon, we won’t bat an eye. But purists maintain that a Vieux Carré requires rye. Go for Michter’s, Old Overholt, or WhistlePig if you can.
  • Cognac – Another essential component of the Vieux Carré is cognac. We’d recommend Rémy Martin VSOP but Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac is a good option as well.
  • Sweet Vermouth – We’ve seen folks sub in a dry or (even better) bianco vermouth, but we prefer a sweet vermouth here. Go for a classic like Martini & Rossi or Carpano Punt e Mes or opt for something modern like Lo-Fi Apertifs or Flora.
  • Bénédictine – A splash of this French herbal liqueur is called for in almost every version of the Vieux Carré we’ve come across. In a pinch, some light and herbal Amari or possibly even Yellow Chartreuse might work as a substitute.
  • Angostura Bitters – The O.G. You’ve got to have Angostura on hand for most every cocktail.
  • Peychaud’s Bitters – Not as widely used as Angostura, but still a classic bitters. If it’s not accessible, don’t fret. Swap in some more Angostura or any bitters you’re feeling.
  • Lemon Peel – Garnish with some citrus like a lemon or orange peel. For an extra fancy rendition, light a match and flame your citrus peel.

In a mixing glass, add equal parts rye, cognac, and sweet vermouth along with a quarter ounce of Bénédictine and a few dashes each of your bitters. Add ice and stir until chilled. Strain over one large ice cube into a rocks glass. Garnish with your citrus peel and enjoy!

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