What is a Vieux Carrè?
Meaning ‘Old Square’ in French, referring to the French Quarter district in New Orleans, the Vieux Carrè was created by bartender Walter Bergeron in 1938 at the Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone.
You can thank the Carousel Bar for the invention of the Ramos gin fizz and brandy milk punch, two classics in their own right.
The entire French Quarter has been designated a National Historic Landmark with some buildings dating back to the very late 18th century.
The city absolutely glows with character and this is accurately reflected in the drinking scene there.
New Orleans has a rich cocktail history and still remains as one of the greatest cities in the world for nightlife and drinking culture.
Legendary bars dot the town such as Pat O’Briens Bar, where the Hurricane was invented, and French 75 bar and lounge, named after the famous cocktail cited in The Savoy Cocktail Book.
New Orleans’ vibrant history is characterised by countless sensations that blessed the city over the years. Creole and Cajun food. Jazz. Incredible cocktails.
The Vieux Carrè is a New Orleans staple and should be celebrated!
You’d be forgiven for mistaking the flavour profile of this Vieux Carrè recipe for a classic Manhattan.
Although they are very similar, the ratios used in the Vieux Carrè allow for a floral note to stand out.
This light, herbaceous note is thanks to the wonderful addition of Benedictine, a french herbal liqueur with a history spanning back into the 16th century.
An important question with any Vieux Carrè order. Bourbon or Rye?!
This is really just down to your preference. Whichever bottle you have lying around will work great.
But we think the spiciness of the rye works oh so well with the delicate nature of cognac.
The Vieux Carrè recipe is an easy one to make, however whenever using cognac, be sure not to ‘over-stir’ your drink.
If anything, the Viuex Carrè requires a lighter hand than most cocktails.
How do I make the Vieux Carrè recipe?
Vieux Carrè recipe ingredients
25ml – Rye Whiskey
25ml – Cognac
20ml – Sweet Vermouth
10ml – Bennidictine
2 dash – Peychaud’s bitters
1 dash – Angostura bitters
Add all your ingredients to your mixing glass/tin then fill with ice
With a bar spoon, stir for 30/40 seconds until the outside of the vessel is frosty and ice cold
Fill your rocks glass with ice and strain your cocktail in (sometimes we also enjoy using a coupè and serving the drink straight up)
Lemon zest twist
Peel your lemon over your mixing glass after you’ve finished stirring your drink!
By doing this, when you strain your cocktail into your glass, it’s going to pick up more of those lovely lemon peel oils.
Agitating these oils enhances their aroma, so when you go to take the first few sips of your drink you’ll find delicate, complex notes.
Don’t forget to express the peel over your finished drink, of course. It’s like spraying your cocktail with perfume!
If you want to show off, try expressing the peel over your drink as you strain it into your glass from a height.
A little bit of flair goes a long way in the satisfaction of enjoying your own cocktail.
What to Drink After the Vieux Carrè?
Another sensational stirred down drink is the Sazerac.
These cocktail cousins have a lot in common, both born in New Orleans and featuring bourbon and peychaud’s bitters.
However, the Sazerac boasts a longer history, as one of the oldest cocktails ever recorded, in 1838!
It’s a must-drink for classic cocktail enthusiasts – so check out our Sazerac recipe here.