New Orleans: These 5 Places Will Shake Your Cocktail Right

Clockwise: Dive gone good Twelve-Mile Limit, mixing at SoBou, Neptune's Monsoon at Port Of Call.

At last month's Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans I had the chance to try a few of the new cocktail spots that have opened in the 12 months. The Nola shake-stir scene, as it turns out, is at a really interesting juncture. A pair of hotel bars have stepped up their games with deep-pocketed owners recruiting bartenders from as far as New York City to run their programs. Also, I found a dive bar that mixes a mean $5 drink. Trouble.


New York City vets Neal Bodenheimer and Kirk Estopinal, partners at award-winning bar Cure in Freret, were asked to bring a cocktail lounge concept to the newly remodeled Hotel Modern located on the edge of the Central Business District. And bring a bar they did with a menu that focuses on the art of the Cobbler. (Plus an insane dedication to amaro and vermouth.) Cobblers are typically sherry-based, but Estopinal stirs his with left-field bases like Sauternes and Chartreuse. Plus, make sure to ask for their latest bottled cocktail. I sipped an excellent pisco punch on my visit. 936 Saint Charles Avenue New Orleans 70130 504-962-0911

Twelve-Mile Limit

The About section on the Facebook page (there is no website) for this Mid-City dive lists four areas of expertise: cocktails, barbecue, cupcakes and good times. On my late-night visit, I found half of the promise ringing true (the kitchen was closed for the night, though I hear they serve tater tots loaded all Midwest-like). The $6 namesake cocktail is made with white rum, rye, brandy, pomegranate and lime. They also do a Moscow Mule variation mixed with bitters and Zwack — a Hungarian digestif. It's called the Good Idea, which is pretty accurate. The Boudin (also $6) mingles bourbon, lemon, honey and hot sauce. That will wake you up, as will the crash from a nearby game of 2 x 4 Jenga. 500 Telemachus St. New Orleans 70119 504-488-8114


SoBou, a newly opened restaurant and lounge in the W Hotel in the French Quarter, is from the family behind Commander's Palace, a legendary name in a legendary restaurant town. While the cooking is inspired by both Creole kitchens and more ethnic-oriented street carts, the drinks menu (by vets Abigail Gullo and Lu Brow) is a little more adventurous. Sure, you can order a textbook Vesper or Negroni. But you also can also travel to another planet with Dale's Daiquiri (rum, lime, cinnamon, grapefruit, star anise) or a margarita made with mint and lavender. Fun stuff. 310 Chartres Street New Orleans 70130 504-552-4095


It's late and the punch bowls are out on the bar at Sylvain, a French Quarter industry bar turned celebrity haunt run by Sean McCusker and Robert LeBlanc. (Read our profile of McCusker). I dropped by late and downed a glass of McCusker's Champagne punch chased with a textbook Sazerac (Sazerac Rye Whiskey, Herbsaint, Peychaud's bitters). A clearer mind would have lead me towards some of his more creative drinks like the Fuzzy Nudge (made with soju, apricot liquer, Luxardo, ginger syrup, lemon) or a rye, Green Chartreuse and ginger drink called the Superfly Snuka. There's thoughtful, slightly upscale French-Creole cooking going down as well. 625 Chartres Street New Orleans 70130 504-265-8123

Szarac Bar At The Roosevelt Hotel

Our cocktail columnist wisely pointed out the brilliance — and history — behind the Ramos Gin Fizz in a recent story. It's a frothy, heavenly marriage of Old Tom gin, citrus, heavy cream and egg whites. It was invented at the wood-paneled Sazerac Bar at The Roosevelt Hotel. You must go there, order a couple of these and that's it. No food, no other drinks. Just the Ramos in all its glory. You will not be sad. The Roosevelt New Orleans Hotel 123 Baronne St. New Orleans 70112

And a few lines about Port Of Call

The best kind of dive. Off the path a bit. Filled with locals. Limited menu. Good music. Go for two things: A grilled burger topped with shredded Cheddar cheese with a baked potato on the side and the Neptune's Monsoon. It's a mix of white rum, pineapple juice, industrial fruit punch and sour mix, served in giant plastic cups. We dare you to finish one and not fall off your stool. 838 Esplanade Avenue New Orleans, LA 70116 504-523-0120

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