LPs & Libations: Vieux Carré
LPs & Libations is a new, ongoing feature series detailing beverages we like to indulge in while enjoying life.
Alcohol and music have gone hand-in-hand for millions of years, so not being one to disrupt such a storied tradition, I also like to occasionally imbibe when spinning a few records.
While I love a hoppy beer or full-bodied glass of wine after a long day, nothing quite beats a delicious cocktail. I usually veer toward drinks where whiskey, mezcal or gin is the dominant ingredient, and more times than not, bourbon ends up being the victor. A couple months ago, my wife and I were grabbing dinner at one of our go-to neighborhood spots, and I wasn't feeling any of their signature offerings, so I took a gamble and asked the bartender to whip up something simple and spirit-forward. A dealer's choice, if you will.
First off the shelf is a bottle of fine rye whiskey. Great start. Vermouth and bitters follow. Keep talking my language. Next up is cognac and bénédictine... and now I'm lost. I waited anxiously as the flavors were carefully married together and was pleasantly surprised after taking the initial sip. There was that familiar Manhattan bite but with herbal and anise undertones. It was fantastic. I immediately asked the bartender what this nectar of the gods was, and he not-so-simply said, "Vieux Carré."
Having never heard of a Vieux Carré (VEE-euh kah-RAY), I was curious of its origins. After a little research, I found it's one of those the cocktails that has a definitive birth. The drink was invented in New Orleans by the head bartender at Hotel Monteleone, Walter Bergeron, and is named after the French term for what we call "The French Quarter", le Vieux Carré ("Old Square").
So if you like your drinks boozy, and why wouldn't you, then definitely give the Vieux Carré a whirl the next time you find yourself pulled up to a cozy bar with a capable mixologist at the helm. Or if you have a fancy bar cart at home, here's what you'll need:
- Rocks glass
- Mixing glass
- Bar spoon
- Double jigger
- Large ice cube
- 3/4 ounce Bulleit Rye Whiskey
- 3/4 ounce Pierre Ferrand Cognac
- 3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
- 1 bar spoon Bénédictine
- 2 dashes Peychaud's Bitters
- 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
- Luxardo Cherries
Pour all ingredients into a mixing glass. Add ice and slowly stir with bar spoon for 30 seconds. Strain over a large ice cube into a rocks glass and garnish with a Luxardo Cherry.