MxMo XXIX–Vieux Carré Cocktail


One of my favorite New Orleans cocktails, after the Sazerac, is the Vieux Carré Cocktail.

According to Stanley Clisby Arthur in his book, “Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix ‘Em,” the cocktail was invented by, “Walter Bergeron, head bartender of the Hotel Monteleone cocktail lounge,” and especially to honor the Vieux Carré, or old square, section of the city of New Orleans.

Clisby Arthur gives the recipe as follows:

1/2 teaspoon Benedictine
1 dash Peychaud bitters
1 dash Angostura bitters
1/3 jigger Rye whiskey
1/3 jigger Cognac Brandy
1/3 jigger Italian Vermouth

The Benedictine is used as a base and also for sweetening the cocktail. Dash on the bitters, then add the rye, brandy, and vermouth. Put several lumps of ice in the barglass. Stir. Twist a slice of lemon peel over the mixture. Drop in a slice of pineapple and a cherry if you wish and serve in mixing glass.

Personally, I tend to like the cocktail “up” instead of over ice, but follow his instructions as closely or as loosely as you prefer.

Now the fun thing about this cocktail is it is an example where two spirits work together beautifully.

It can be fun to experiment with your own variations, the only real rules being to include benedictine, bitters, and equal parts of two spirits and vermouth.

Here are a couple I’ve been pleased with:

Vieux Carré Variation 1

1 oz St. James Ambre Martinique Rhum
1 oz Laird’s Bonded Apple Brandy
1 oz Punt e Mes
Dash Benedictine
Dash Peychaud’s

Stir, Strain into cocktail glass.

The scent of the apple brandy and earthiness of the rhum agricole are quite interesting. Very complex libation. I’m omitting the Angostura, as I’m using the more bitter Punt e Mes vermouth.

Vieux Carré Variation 2

1 oz Highland Park 12 Single Malt Scotch Whisky
1 oz Calvados Roger Groult, Réserve 3 years old
1 oz M&R Bianco Vermouth
Dash Benedictine
Dash Angostura
Dash Peychaud’s

Stir, strain, grapefruit peel twist.

And here’s a double taboo for you. Not only does this cocktail contain two spirits, one of them is a Single Malt Scotch Whisky! Horrors!

Vieux Carré Variation 3 was something of a disaster. Gin and Wheat Whiskey. I still swear it is salvageable, maybe with Oude Genever. One of these days I’ll get back to it.

Vieux Carré Variation 4, I present for your amusement.

Vieux Carré Variation 4

1 tsp Benedictine
1 dash Peychaud’s Bitters
3/4 oz Batavia Arrack von Osten
3/4 oz Tequila Corralejo Reposado
3/4 oz Cocchi Aperitivo Americano

Stir, strain, dust with freshly grated nutmeg.

I’ve been thinking about some way to combine Tequila and Batavia Arrack for a while now without much success. This cocktail is the closest I’ve come to a success so far. Maybe a bit single noted. Definitely a work in progress, but I find the interaction between the spice, tequila, and arrack promising.

Corpse Reviver Cocktail (No. 2)

Corpse Reviver Cocktail (No. 2)

Corpse Reviver (No. 2)

1/4 Wine Glass Lemon Juice (3/4 oz Fresh Lemon Juice)
1/4 Wine Glass Kina Lillet. (3/4 oz Cocchi Aperitivo Americano)
1/4 Wine Glass Cointreau. (3/4 oz Cointreau)
1/4 Wine Glass Dry Gin. (3/4 oz Bombay Gin)
1 Dash Absinthe. (Verte de Fougerolles)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

Note: Four of these taken in swift succession will unrevive the corpse again.

Ahem, well, going by the rules of a “Wine Glass” equaling 2 oz, I should have used 1/2 oz portions. However, the previous evening’s celebrations had left this corpse badly in need of Revivifaction.

The Cocchi Aperitivo Americano is actually quite nice here, lending a bit more complexity than Lillet Blanc. So far I have yet to find a Savoy cocktail where I prefer using the modern Lillet to the Americano. On the other hand, the Cocchi Americano was downright horrible in The Pegu Club’s White Negroni, a cocktail obviously created with the character of the modern Lillet in mind.

Bombay Gin is another new player. I’ve been wanting to give the regular Bombay a try for a while now, and now that I finished off the Boodles, I picked up a bottle. A bit mild, but not bad at all.

Patrick Gavin Duffy has a slight variation on the Corpse Reviver No. 2 in his “Official Mixer’s Manual”, which is sometimes reproduced in modern cocktail collections. In it he substitutes Swedish Punsch for the Lillet.

Corpse Reviver Cocktail (No. 2)

1/4 Dry Gin (3/4 oz Bombay Dry Gin)
1/4 Cointreau (3/4 oz Cointreau)
1/4 Swedish Punch (3/4 oz Carlshamm’s Flaggpunsch)
1/4 Lemon Juice (3/4 oz fresh lemon juice)
1 Dash Pernod (Dash Verte de Fougerolles Absinthe)

Shake well with ice and strain into glass

This is tad bit sweeter than the Lillet based affair. The flavor of the Swedish Punsch really dominates the cocktail.

Both are really quite nice, mild cocktails. If I had to give either the nod, I’d say the Savoy no. 2 made with Cocchi Americano is slightly more well balanced. Though, recently a friend told me they had really been enjoying the Swedish Punsch version with the bottled Underhill Punch I made for Tales. Maybe I need to revisit this with the homemade.

Gotta give a shout out to friend Trott. When he mentioned last summer that he was going to visit family in Sweden, he did not balk when I said, “Your mission, should you choose to accept: Bring back Swedish Punsch.” And he did! Well, it turned out not to be that hard, as his family there made a habit of consuming it as an after dinner drink. Still, very cool.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.