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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Vieux Carré cocktail puts you squarely in New Orleans

The Vieux Carré was invented during the 1930’s in the French Quarter of New Orleans (where the physical Vieux Carré is found) at the Hotel Monteleone by bartender Walter Bergeron.  To experience one at the Carousel Bar is said to be quite a treat.  A cocktail with six ingredients might seem to be a little contrived to some, but since two of the ingredients are bitters, it may pass muster.  Vieux Carré recipes generally call for equal amounts of Rye, Cognac, and Vermouth, with half that of the Benedictine and a dash each of Peychaud’s® (what’s a New Orleans cocktail without Peychaud’s?) and Angostura® bitters.  Experienced mixologists will know that this does not mean equal amounts of the two bitters: the bottle of Peychaud’s in my bar puts out a lot more bitters per dash – several drops more, anyway –  than does the Angostura bottle.  If that bothers you a little, think back to how well the Peychaud’s and Rye went together in your last Sazerac.  If you give the Vieux Carré a try, it’s almost sure to end up on your short list of cocktails.

Vieux Carré

3/4 oz Rye Whiskey
3/4 oz Cognac or good Brandy
3/4 oz sweet Vermouth
(a short) ½ oz Benedictine
1 dash Peychaud's bitters
1 dash Angostura bitters

Pour the Whiskey, Cognac, Benedictine and Vermouth into a mixing glass full of ice and shake in the bitters.  Stir well for 20-30 seconds, then strain into an old-fashioned glass half-full of ice (or strain into a pre-chilled cocktail glass).  Twist a slice of lemon peel over the glass and drop it in.  Savor this cocktail while dreaming of Mardi Gras.


  1. Have you been able to find Benedictine DOM in Utah's State Liquor stores? So far, I've only found B&B, a brandy pre-mix.

    1. Hi Al,
      Benedictine DOM is coded "Limited, high end product (sold at select stores)." I have seen it in larger liquor stores (stores of the same size seem to have identical inventories). The "high end" products also tend to be stocked at the wine specialty stores, so you can try there. The current stock list I have only shows 375ml bottles (CS# 064414).
      I recommend you call a store and ask what is the closest store to you that stocks it (they're usually helpful). Ask for it by stock (CS#) number, though. Twice when I asked for Benedictine, I have had employees say "you mean B&B," so they might say they have it when they really don't if you don't use the number.