top ten must try drinks in New Orleans best Signature cocktails
top ten must try drinks in New Orleans best Signature cocktails

Top Ten Must Try Drinks In New Orleans:

As much as we love the authentic food and live music in New Orleans, your experience isn’t complete without trying some of the signature drinks!  To get with the spirit of the Big Easy there are a few of the best cocktails you need to know about to drink like a local.  We have included famous drinks invented in New Orleans, unique styles of coffee, local beer, and a few twists on some timeless cocktails.

One of the coolest thing about drinking in New Orleans is that drinking in public has been legal since the 1980s so you can walk around town with your cocktail in hand.  You can even buy from a bar and walk right out into the street as long as if isn’t in a glass container.  Make sure to check out these top ten drinks in New Orleans along with our suggestions of favorite places to try them!


Also Read:
 Top 10 New Orleans Must Eats

Top Ten Must Try Drinks:

1. Sazerac (Sazerac Bar):

top ten must try drinks in New Orleans best Signature cocktails - Sazerac
top ten must try drinks in New Orleans best Signature cocktails - Sazerac

About Sazerac: In the mid-1800s a Creole man named Antoine Peychaud started selling his own medicinal elixir with the promise of health benefits.  Made with Cognac, bitters, sugar, and herbsaint, Sazerac (Saz-er-ack) quickly became a hit and has turned into the Official Drink of New Orleans.  Today most of the places in New Orleans use rye whiskey instead of Cognac but you can order it either way.  Whiskey is made from grains while Cognac is made from grapes but they are both strong.  If you like Old Fashions we recommend the Cognac version as it is more or less smoother extra distilled Brandy with hints of oak.

While you can order it at most bars, we like to get ours at the Sazerac Bar in the art deco style Roosevelt Hotel.  The bar feels like a movie set as the Roosevelt Hotel (opened in 1893) thrived in the 1920s Jazz boom in New Orleans.  The original Sazerac Bar was located in the Merchants’ Exchange Alley off Royal Street during Prohibition, before being revived at the hotel in 1949.  Another great place for Sazerac is Sylvain Tavern (625 Chartres Sreet, website) in the heart of the French Quarter which is an old carriage house from 1790.

Sazerac Bar Location: 130 Roosevelt Way (Roosevelt Hotel).  Hours: Daily 11am-Late.  Website: here.







2. Daiquiri (Gene’s Curbside & Fat Tuesdays):

top ten must try drinks in New Orleans best Signature cocktails - drive through Daiquiris fat tuesdays Genes Curbside
top ten must try drinks in New Orleans best Signature cocktails - drive through Daiquiris fat tuesdays Genes Curbside

About Daiquiris: Daiquiris are everywhere in New Orleans from walkout shops and even drive-throughs.  Yes, you really can get booze-filled daiquiris without leaving your car at drive-throughs in the Big Easy.  Daiquiri drinks became really popular in New Orleans as early as the late-1700s while pirates frequented the city.  While they weren’t blended as smooth as the daiquiris today, the vitamin c rich limes and other fruit used in the drinks were a way to prevent scurvy.  Most daiquiris are served as a blended mix of ice, strawberries, and rum, but also come in dozens of other flavor combinations.

The local king of the Daiquiris is Gene’s Curbside near Frenchmen Street which is by far the main place you should try to visit.  Gene’s is a cornerstone of the drinking scene in New Orleans and strolling out with your styrofoam cup filled to the brim with blended goodness is like a badge of honor, plus we recommend visiting Frenchmen Street anyway (more info).  You can also find places everywhere up and down Bourbon Street selling daiquiris and some of the nicer places even have a wide range of fancy creamier ones.  The most unique way to sample this must try drink in New Orleans is the get one at a drive-through.  Yes, you can get a daiquiri without leaving your car at a drive through!  Our favorite drive-through is Fat Tuesdays (website) which has 7 stores located between the Airport from the French Quarter.

Gene’s Curbside Location: 1034 Elysian Fields Avenue (Frenchmen Street).  Hours: Daily 10am-Midnight.  Fat Tuesday’s Location: A dozen total with 7 drive-throughs and our favorite is at 6830 Veterans Blvd, Metairie.  Hours: Monday-Thursday 11am-Midnight; Friday-Sunday 10am-Midnight.  Website: here.

3. Hurricane (Pat O’Brien’s):

top ten must try drinks in New Orleans best Signature cocktails - Hurricane at pat obriens
top ten must try drinks in New Orleans best Signature cocktails - Hurricane at pat obriens

About The Hurricane: Jimmy Buffet once famously sang “Pour me something tall and strong. Make it a hurricane, before I go insane.”  The drink he was referring to is the famous Hurricane invited at Pat O’Brien’s Piano Bar in New Orleans.   The powerful tropical drink is made with rum, fruit juice, syrup or grenadine, and is topped with a cherry and orange slice.  The curved glass is quite iconic and it is hard to drink them in moderation.

Pat O’Brien’s Bar is not only the original home to the Hurricane, but it is also one of the best overall places to visit in New Orleans.  There is daily live dueling piano music and the establishment is steeped in history.  The roots of the brand go back to a popular Probation-era speakeasy (600 Bourbon Street) which Pat O’Brien’s bought in 1933 and quickly grew.  After expanding in its current location in the 1940s, Pat O’Brien’s has become a legendary bar in New Orleans powered by its live music and their signature cocktail.  The bar is featured in our free French Quarter walking tour and they even serve authentic Cherry Bombs, which is a cherry soaked in Everclear.

Pat O’Brien’s Location: 718 Saint Peter Street.  Hours: Monday-Thursday Noon-Close; Friday-Sunday 10am-Close.  Dueling Piano Music: Often daily during the day but the main times are Monday-Thursday 6pm-Close; Friday-Sunday 2pm-Close.  Cup Deposits: Included in the price of your Hurricane drinks is a deposit on your stylish glass which you can keep to bring home (they can package it) or turn it in for a refund.  Bar Website: (HERE).

4. Vieux Carré (Carousel Bar):

top ten must try drinks in New Orleans best Signature cocktails - Vieux Carre
top ten must try drinks in New Orleans best Signature cocktails - Vieux Carre

About The Vieux Carré: One of the oldest signature drinks in New Orleans is the Vieux Carre (Vue Ca-Ray) which was first created in 1938.  The drink is made with made with equal parts of whiskey, Cognac, and sweet vermouth plus bitters and a twist of lemon.  The Vieux Carre (meaning Old Square) was named after the original name for the French Quarter from the 1700s.  For the name alone this cocktail needs to be on your must try drinks in New Orleans for at least one round, but likely many.

The coolest place to order this signature cocktail is the Carousel Bar inside the Hotel Monteleone.  The old school bar centers around a large vintage 25-seat rotating carousel where you sit to have your drinks.  It takes roughly 15 minutes to make a rotation and it makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in time.  The name of the drink paired with the taste and the classic carousel setting make for a timeless experience.

Carousel Bar Location: 214 Royal Street (Hotel Monteleone).  Hours: Daily 11am-2am, get there early to avoid a long wait for your turn on the 25-seat carousel.  Bar Website: (HERE).

5. Hand Grenade (Tropical Isle):

top ten must try drinks in New Orleans best Signature cocktails - Hand Grenade tropic isle
top ten must try drinks in New Orleans best Signature cocktails - Hand Grenade tropic isle

About Hand Grenades: Invented in 1983 by Tropical Isle owners Pam Fortner & Earl Bernardt, the Hand Grenade is a green concoction meant to knock you on your ass.  The strong neon green drink is super sweet and comes served in a yardstick style tube with a hand grenade base.  During our first visit to New Orleans we sat down to drink with the owner Pam and she opened our eyes to how awesome this drink really is.  They sneak up on your, but the Hand Grenade are well worth the hangover!

You’ll see tourists carrying hugemungous Hand Grenade cups all over the French Quarter not only for the novelty but because Tropical Isle has four locations on Bourbon Street alone.  Each location is a little bit different plus the company owns the Funky Pirate which has a lot of live Blues music.  After visiting all the Tropical Isles a couple times, our favorite spot to get a Hand Grenade in New Orleans is at the location at 721 Bourbon Street which has daily live music and fun games.  If you decide to bring one of the giant plastic cups home as a cheap souvenir you can also buy the official mix to re-create the drink after your trip.

Tropical Isle Location: Our favorite is at 721 Bourbon Street, but the original location is at 600 Bourbon Street.  Bar Hours: Daily Noon-2am (3:30am on Friday & Saturdays).  Bar Website: (HERE).



6. Café Brûlot Diabolique (Antonie’s Annex):

top ten must try drinks in New Orleans best Signature cocktails - Cafe Brulot Diabolique flaming coffee Antonies Restauarnt Annex cafe
top ten must try drinks in New Orleans best Signature cocktails - Cafe Brulot Diabolique flaming coffee Antonies Restauarnt Annex cafe

About Café Brûlot Diabolique: After it opened in 1840, Antonie’s Restaurant quickly became the place in New Orleans for locals to get their bourbon whiskey and black coffee drink called Café Brûlot.  As variations popped up in the 1890s, Antonie’s owner Jules Alciatore created a new flaming concoction of the famous coffee using brandy and spices he called the Café Brûlot Diabolique.  This new version of Café Brûlot quickly became a huge hit and grew even more popular during Prohibition as a great way to disguise alcohol in the drink.  We LOVE this signature drink which produces a thicker and sweeter coffee with only hints of the brandy, plus the firey showmanship while they make it is awesome.

Not only is Antonie’s the original home for the flaming version of this coffee, but it is also a really cool place to go for nicer lunch or dinner.  There are 14 different dining room areas all with their own unique personality and history that are woven throughout the massive complex.  Because of how the drink is prepared in a double batch you have to order two Café Brûlot Diabolique even if you are by yourself, but it is worth it.  The experience of a flaming tableside show is a New Orleans experience you won’t forget.  If you can’t fit in their sit down semi-formal restaurant, they also have the Annex Cafe & Deli around the corner which has great coffee plus takeaway food items.

Antonie’s Location: Restaurant at 713 Saint Louis Street and cafe at 513 Royal Street.  Annex Cafe Hours: Daily 8am-7pm.  Restaurant Hours: Lunch Monday-Saturday 11:30am-2pm; Dinner Monday-Saturday 5:30-9pm; Jazz Brunch Sundays 11am-2pm.  Website: (HERE).

7. Crawdad Bloody Mary (Daisy Dukes):

top ten must try drinks in New Orleans best Signature cocktails - Crawdad Bloody Mary Daisy Dukes
top ten must try drinks in New Orleans best Signature cocktails - Crawdad Bloody Mary Daisy Dukes

About Crawdad Bloody Marys: New Orleans is a huge city for brunch which obviously goes hand-in-hand with Bloody Marys. Even better there is an amazing Cajun twist on the drink called the Crawdad Bloody!  Made with a unique blend of spices and topped with a whole chilled crawdad hanging out of your glass, this drink is definitely photo-worthy.  Also known as Crawfish and Crawlers, Crawdads basically look like mini lobsters are one of our top ten must eat foods in New Orleans.  It is also common to order Crawdads boiled by the bucket full, but there’s no cooler way to have them served a crayfish peeking over the rim of your Bloody Mary.  When you go to eat your shelled Crawdad, remember to twist the tail off, suck juice from the head, then pull the meat from the tail, and never call them ‘Crayfish’ in New Orleans.

The famous restaurant Daisy Dukes is not only the best place in town to get Crawfish meals, but is also the king of the Crawdad Bloody!  Daisy Dukes is renowned for their Southern breakfast food, crawdad & corn boils, award-winning Cajun Bloody Marys, and they are open 24 hours a day.  We love the added value that their Bloody Marys are bottomless with free refills as you eat!

Daisy Dukes Location: 121 Chartres Street.  Hours: Sunday-Thursday 10am-6pm; Friday 10am-6:30pm; Closed on Saturdays.  Restaurant Website: (HERE).

8. Absinthe House Frappé (Old Absinthe House):

top ten must try drinks in New Orleans best Signature cocktails - Old Absinthe House Barfrappe
top ten must try drinks in New Orleans best Signature cocktails - Old Absinthe House Barfrappe

About The Absinthe House Frappé: The allure and mystery of the fabled alcohol known as Absinthe will either tempt you or scare you away.  This almost neon green, black licorice-flavored booze isn’t for everyone but is a drink you really need to try while in New Orleans.  Infused with the herb wormwood, Absinthe is best known in pop culture as the drink that popular artists in France like Picasso would consume to see green fairies as it is often considered a hallucinogen.  We had had it in both the South of France and New Orleans and never experienced any mind-altering properties which are mainly stories rooted in folklore.

The novelty of Absinthe is what we like the most as it is served in a short glass below a sugar cube on a slotted spoon which is dissolved into your drink by lighting it on fire.  This is known as the Prague method as in France the cube is integrated into Absinthe with a slow water drip.  When the sugar cube is fully dispersed into your glass it is time to drink it.

Like most drinks in New Orleans, this one got a local twist when the Absinthe House Frappé was invented in 1874.  This iced variation of Absinthe also includes soda water, simple syrup, and mint leaves which makes the black licorice flavor a million times more pleasant.  The Absinthe House Frappé became so popular that there was even a song featuring it in the 1904 Broadway play entitled It Happened in Nordland.  Absinthe was banned in the United States in 1912 out of misguided hallucinogenic fears and Herbsaint had to be substituted until the ban was lifted locally in 2007.

The best place to try Absinthe is at the Old Absinthe House which is one of the most historically important bars in New Orleans.  This institution opened in 1807 and is where Andrew Jackson and the pirate Jean Lafitte planned their victory in the Battle of New Orleans over the British.  Other historic celebrities to often grace the bar included Mark Twain, Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau, Oscar Wilde, P.T. Barnum, General Lee, and Edgar Allen Poe.  The bar is open super late and is featured on our free French Quarter walking tour.  The Old Absinthe House is small but we love the atmosphere with the ceiling covered in football helmets and the walls covered in business cards.

Old Absinthe House Location: 240 Bourbon Street.  Bar Hours: Daily 9am-3am (Thursday-Saturday until 5am).  Bar Website: (HERE).

9. Shark Attack (Tropical Isle):

top ten must try drinks in New Orleans best Signature cocktails - Shark Attack tropical isle
top ten must try drinks in New Orleans best Signature cocktails - Shark Attack tropical isle

About The Shark Attack: Like the Hand Grenade, the touristy Shark Attack drink was invented at the Tropical Isle Bar, but it may be the most fun drink to order on Bourbon Street.  As you lay your money down, warning lights flash around the bar and everyone is put on notice that there is a “shark in the water“.  Your bartender sounds the bells and blows their whistle as a rubber shark literally attacks your drink, leaving behind a pool of blood (grenadine).  It is a bit gimmicky and the drink only tastes okay, but ordering a Shark Attack for the spectacle alone is a must while visiting New Orleans.

Out of the four Tropical Isle locations on Bourbon Street, the one at 721 is the best place to order a Shark Attack.  Here the over the top decor includes a life-sized surfer being grabbed by the mouth of a shark plus the sound and light system engaged during the warning announcement are really cool.  The Shark Attach drink is silly and touristy but honestly is something you will really remember from New Orleans.

Tropical Isle Location: Our favorite is at 721 Bourbon Street, but the original location is at 600 Bourbon Street.  Bar Hours: Daily Noon-2am (3:30am on Friday & Saturdays).  Bar Website: (HERE).







10. Abita Beer (Abita Brewery):

top ten must try drinks in New Orleans best Signature cocktails - Abita Beer Brewery
top ten must try drinks in New Orleans best Signature cocktails - Abita Beer Brewery

About Abita Beer: Established in 1986, Abita Brewing Company is proud to be the oldest and largest craft brewery in the Southeastern United States and one of the oldest craft breweries in the country.  With 9 variations, Abita has been as much the official beer of New Orleans and Miller Beer is to Milwaukee, Wisconsin or Guinness is to Dublin, Ireland.  You can find Abita beer sold across the entire country now as their flavors have really caught on.  Our favorite Abita beers are the Amber and Purple Haze which has a cool talisman label.  Abita also has an amazing Imperial Stout which is aged 100% in Bourbon barrels plus a very popular non-alcoholic Root Beer.

You can get Abita all over New Orleans, but if you really want the full experience you should take their brewery tour located 1 hour North of town.  Every craft brewery we have visited has their own twist on production and an interesting back story, and Abita is no exception.  Sitting just across Lake Pontchartrain, the brewery is one of our top day trips from New Orleans and is a refreshing break from the chaos of the Cresent City.

Abita Brewery Location: 166 Barbee Road, Covington (1 hour North).  Tours: Daily you can reserve spots on a 1 hour long guided tour leaving every 30 minutes or do a limited self-guided tour plus the tap room.  Website: (HERE).

Honorable Mention Must Try Drinks:

11. Voodoo Blend (Jean Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar):

About The Voodoo Blend: In line with the Daiquiri spirit is a purple frozen blend made with Everclear called Voodoo.  This drink mainly makes our top ten list because of the atmosphere of the bar you find it in, Jean Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop.  Built in 1722, this old world structure is the oldest continuously operated bar in the United States.  It has no electric lighting, making the evening with candlelight and an open fire places magical.  The bar was once the hideaway for Jean Lafitte (Zhan La-Feet) and his band of Caribbean pirates.  It is also where Lafitte became a hero as he worked on plans with General Andrew Jackson to defeat the British in the Battle of New Orleans in 1815.

12. Ojén:

About Ojén: This unique liqueur called Ojen (OH-hen) hails from Southern Spain and is the official drink of Mardi Gras.  It would be higher on our list but it is almost impossible to find as they stopped making it in the 1990s as it fell out of favor in Spain.  In the late 2000s, Martin Wine Cellar in New Orleans convinced the company to do a private 600 bottle back which sold out in 2009.  There are still some bottles here an there at French Quarter bars if you can find it.

13. Bourbon Neat:

About Bourbon Neat: While it’s not really a mixed drink, there is something symbolic about a double shot of Bourbon of the rocks while drinking on Bourbon Street.  Feel free to sub in an Old Fashion for the Bourbon Neat which has the added flavors of bitters, orange, and cherry.

14. Chicory Root Coffee (Cafe de Monde):

About Chicory Root Coffee: The only non-alcoholic drink to make our list of New Orleans must try drinks is the locally popular Chicory Root Coffee.  The unique blend of coffee grounds mixed with the bitter chicory root of the endive plant was made popular after the Civil War thanks to local merchant Henry Lonsdale.  Coffee was scarce during those times, and they found that chicory added body and flavor to the brew.

The Chicory Root Coffee is usually served Au Lait, meaning mixed half and half with hot milk, and adds an almost chocolate flavor.   Henry Lonsdale is also famous for his large mansion in the Garden District of New Orleans making the Still Perkin Cafe another obvious choice to try the unique coffee out, but we prefer Cafe de Monde in the French Quarter.