A New Orleans Classic: Cocktail a la Louisiane

The first time I had the Cocktail a la Louisiane was at Hard Water in San Francisco, a must visit bar for any whiskey lover. It stood out to me on the menu because it looked like a souped-up version of one of my favorite cocktails, the Sazerac. And it had one of my favorite ingredients, Benedictine. A no brainer for me.

The History

The Cocktail de la Louisiane was published for the first time in Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix ‘Em (1937) by Stanley Clisby Arthur. In his book, Arthur says the recipe, “Is the special cocktail served at Restaurant de la Louisiane, one of the famous French restaurants of New Orleans, long the rendezvous of those who appreciate the best Creole cuisine. La Louisiane cocktail is as out-of-the-ordinary as the many distinctive dishes that grace its menu.”

The Recipe

  • 1 ounce rye whiskey
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • ¾ ounce Benedictine
  • 2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
  • 1 dash absinthe

Combine all ingredients into mixing glass with ice and stir. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

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I prefer a variation of the original recipe because I believe it’s smoother and better balanced. Also, the Benedictine feels a little too strong and syrupy (it’s a thick liqueur) in the original.

  • ¾ ounce rye whiskey
  • ¾ ounce sweet vermouth
  • ¾ ounce Benedictine
  • 3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
  • 3 dashes absinthe

Prepare the drink the same way.

The Execution

Here are a few tips to help perfect the cocktail:

  • Sazerac 6-year old rye works really well in this cocktail. It’s a whiskey made by Buffalo Trace and named after New Orleans’ classic cocktail.
  • The original recipe calls for Herbsaint, a hard to find anise-flavored liqueur. Absinthe is a good substitute if you can’t find a bottle. If you happen to find yourself in New Orleans, try this cocktail (and the Herbsaint Frappe) with the original Herbsaint.

I’m not big on spicy food but I can see why this drink was created to help tame the spice of creole food in the Restaurant de la Louisiane. The next time you need to tame your fiery tongue, or you just want a classic whiskey forward cocktail with lots of character, turn to the Cocktail a la Louisiane.

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to comment below, email, or hit us up on social media. No question is too basic!