Nouvelle Orleans


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Welcome to the world of the Nouvelle Orleans, a cocktail that embodies the spirit and complexity of its namesake city. This drink is a symphony of rye whiskey, absinthe, and aromatic bitters, creating a taste that’s as vibrant and dynamic as New Orleans itself. Whether you’re a cocktail aficionado or a curious newcomer, the Nouvelle Orleans is a must-try.

The Nouvelle Orleans cocktail is not just a drink; it’s an experience. Its herbal and spicy notes are a nod to the city’s rich culinary and mixology heritage. If you’re looking for a cocktail that tells a story with every sip, you’ve found it.

Join us as we delve into the essence of this classic cocktail, exploring its flavors, history, and the art of crafting it to perfection. Let’s raise a glass to the Nouvelle Orleans!

Key Facts About the Nouvelle Orleans

  • Alcohol Content: Approximately 28% ABV
  • Calories: Approximately 160 calories
  • Glass Type: Old-fashioned glass
  • Garnish: Lemon peel

Interesting Facts about the Nouvelle Orleans

The Nouvelle Orleans cocktail is a twist on the classic Sazerac, one of the oldest American cocktails. Its use of both Peychaud’s and Angostura bitters gives it a unique flavor profile that sets it apart from its predecessor.

Authenticity is key in this cocktail. True connoisseurs recommend using high-quality rye whiskey and genuine absinthe to capture the true essence of the Nouvelle Orleans.

The cocktail’s name itself is a tribute to the rich cultural tapestry of New Orleans, reflecting the city’s French heritage and its storied history in the world of spirits and mixology.

Nouvelle Orleans Cocktail

Tasting Notes

The Nouvelle Orleans cocktail is a harmonious blend of sweet, spicy, and herbal notes. The rye whiskey provides a robust base with a hint of pepper, while the absinthe adds a touch of anise. The bitters contribute a floral and slightly bitter undertone, making for a complex and intriguing palate.

This cocktail is perfect for those who appreciate depth in their drinks. It’s suited for a quiet evening at home, a celebratory toast, or as a sophisticated choice for a dinner party. The Nouvelle Orleans is versatile and always in good taste.

Its bold flavors make it an ideal drink for the colder months, but its refreshing herbal qualities are equally enjoyable on a warm summer night. It’s a drink that transcends seasons and occasions.

History of the Nouvelle Orleans

The Nouvelle Orleans cocktail is steeped in history, with its roots deeply embedded in the cocktail culture of New Orleans. The city’s love affair with spirited concoctions dates back to the 19th century, and the Nouvelle Orleans is a modern homage to this legacy.

While the exact origins of the Nouvelle Orleans are not well-documented, it’s clear that the drink is a celebration of New Orleans’ cocktail renaissance. It represents a new wave of mixologists’ respect for tradition, coupled with a desire to innovate.

Anecdotes from local bartenders suggest that the Nouvelle Orleans was born out of experimentation and a deep appreciation for the classic Sazerac. It’s a testament to the city’s enduring influence on the world of cocktails.

Nouvelle Orleans Ingredients

  • Rye Whiskey (2 oz / 60 ml): The backbone of the cocktail, providing warmth and a spicy kick.
  • Sugar Cube: Adds a touch of sweetness to balance the strong flavors.
  • Peychaud’s Bitters (2 dashes): A New Orleans staple that imparts a signature red hue and complex flavor.
  • Angostura Bitters (1 dash): Adds depth with its herbal and woody notes.
  • Absinthe (1/4 oz / 7 ml): Lends an aromatic anise flavor and a hint of mystique.
  • Lemon Peel: The garnish that brightens the drink with a citrusy zing.

Did you know? The Nouvelle Orleans cocktail’s use of absinthe pays homage to the city’s historic love affair with the “Green Fairy.”

Ingredients for Nouvelle Orleans Cocktail

Nouvelle Orleans Method

Chilling the Glass

Start by chilling an old-fashioned glass to create the perfect cold environment for the cocktail. This can be done by placing the glass in the freezer or filling it with ice water while you prepare the drink.

Muddling the Ingredients

In a separate mixing glass, muddle the sugar cube with Peychaud’s and Angostura bitters. This process dissolves the sugar and allows the bitters to infuse their flavor, creating a sweet and aromatic foundation.

Adding the Whiskey

Once the sugar and bitters are muddled, add the rye whiskey to the mixture. The whiskey’s boldness will be tempered by the sweetness and spice of the other ingredients.

Stirring and Straining

Fill the mixing glass with ice and stir the mixture until well chilled. This not only cools the drink but also dilutes it slightly, making it smoother. Strain the mixture into the chilled, absinthe-rinsed glass for a clean presentation.

Garnishing with Lemon Peel

Finally, express the lemon peel over the drink to release its essential oils, then rub the peel around the rim of the glass for an aromatic accent. Drop the peel into the drink as the finishing touch.

Serving Suggestion

The Nouvelle Orleans is traditionally served in an old-fashioned glass, which allows the drink’s aromas to concentrate and enhances the sipping experience. The glass’s sturdy base and wide brim make it ideal for this potent cocktail.

Garnishing with a lemon peel is not just for aesthetics; it adds a fresh, citrus note that complements the drink’s herbal qualities. Be sure to twist the peel over the glass to release the oils before adding it to the drink.

Elevating the Nouvelle Orleans

  • Use Premium Ingredients: Opt for high-quality rye whiskey and genuine absinthe to ensure the best flavor profile.
  • Proper Ice: Use large, clear ice cubes for stirring the cocktail, as they melt slower and minimize dilution.
  • Master the Stir: Stir the cocktail with a bar spoon for about 30 seconds to achieve the perfect temperature and dilution.

These professional tips will take your Nouvelle Orleans from good to exceptional, impressing even the most discerning cocktail enthusiasts.

Elevated Nouvelle Orleans Cocktail

Substitutions and Alternatives for the Nouvelle Orleans

If you’re missing an ingredient or want to experiment, consider these substitutions:

  • Bourbon: If rye whiskey isn’t available, bourbon can be a sweeter alternative.
  • Herbsaint: A traditional substitute for absinthe, Herbsaint offers a similar anise flavor.
  • Simple Syrup: If you don’t have a sugar cube, simple syrup can be used to sweeten the cocktail.

Similar cocktails include the Sazerac and the Vieux Carré, which share some ingredients and the New Orleans heritage.

Add a Twist

Here are a few ways to put a new spin on the Nouvelle Orleans:

  • Orange Peel: Use an orange peel instead of lemon for a different citrus note.
  • Maple Syrup: Swap the sugar cube for maple syrup for a richer sweetness.
  • Smoked Glass: Smoke the glass with wood chips before making the cocktail for a smoky aroma.

Preferred Liquors for the Nouvelle Orleans

For the best Nouvelle Orleans experience, consider these brands:

  • Rye Whiskey: Rittenhouse or Sazerac Rye are excellent choices for their spicy profile.
  • Absinthe: Pernod Absinthe or St. George Absinthe Verte are recommended for their authentic flavors.

Using these specific liquors will enhance the cocktail’s traditional taste and authenticity.

Similar Cocktails to the Nouvelle Orleans

If you enjoy the Nouvelle Orleans, you might also like:

  • Sazerac: The ancestor of the Nouvelle Orleans, with a similar rye and absinthe base.
  • Vieux Carré: Another New Orleans classic, with the addition of cognac and sweet vermouth.
  • Manhattan: A whiskey-based cocktail that also uses bitters and a sweet element.

These cocktails share the Nouvelle Orleans’ complexity and are perfect for those who appreciate a well-crafted drink.

Food Pairings to go with the Nouvelle Orleans

The Nouvelle Orleans pairs well with:

  • Charcuterie: The spiciness of the rye complements the savory flavors of cured meats.
  • Dark Chocolate: The bitterness of dark chocolate balances the cocktail’s sweetness.
  • Spicy Nuts: A snack with a kick to match the drink’s boldness.

These pairings are ideal for enhancing the cocktail’s flavors and creating a memorable tasting experience.

Nouvelle Orleans FAQs

Can I use a different type of whiskey? Yes, bourbon can be used, but it will alter the flavor profile, making it sweeter.

Is there a non-alcoholic substitute for absinthe? Non-alcoholic anise-flavored syrups can mimic the flavor without the alcohol content.

How important is the garnish? The lemon peel garnish is essential for adding a fresh aroma and a hint of citrus to the cocktail.

Can I make a batch of Nouvelle Orleans in advance? It’s best made fresh, but you can pre-mix the whiskey and bitters and add the absinthe and garnish when serving.

What’s the best way to chill the glass? Placing the glass in the freezer is most effective, but using ice water works if you’re short on time.

Nouvelle Orleans_001

Nouvelle Orleans

The Nouvelle Orleans is a sophisticated and aromatic cocktail that captures the essence of New Orleans with its complex blend of absinthe, aromatic bitters, and rye whiskey. It's reminiscent of the classic Sazerac with a few twists that bring out a unique herbal profile.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
0 minutes
Course Cocktail
Cuisine New Orleans
Calories 160 kcal


  • Old Fashioned glass
  • Mixing glass
  • Muddler
  • Bar spoon
  • Jigger
  • Strainer


  • 2 oz Rye Whiskey
  • 1 sugar cube
  • 2 dashes Peychaud's Bitters
  • 1 dash Angostura Bitters
  • 1/4 oz Absinthe
  • Lemon peel for garnish


  • Chill an old-fashioned glass by placing it in the freezer or filling it with ice water and setting it aside.
  • In a separate mixing glass, muddle the sugar cube with both Peychaud's and Angostura bitters until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Add the rye whiskey to the bitters and sugar mixture.
  • Fill the mixing glass with ice and stir the mixture until well chilled.
  • Discard the ice or water from the chilled old-fashioned glass and pour the absinthe into it.
  • Swirl the absinthe around to coat the inside of the glass, then discard the excess.
  • Strain the chilled whiskey and bitters mixture into the absinthe-rinsed glass.
  • Express the lemon peel over the drink by twisting it to release the oils, then run the peel around the rim of the glass and drop it into the drink as garnish.


The Nouvelle Orleans cocktail is often associated with the Sazerac, which is one of the oldest known American cocktails. For an authentic experience, use a high-quality rye whiskey and genuine absinthe for the best flavor profile.
Keyword absinthe, aromatic bitters, classic, Herbsaint, Nouvelle Orleans, Peychaud's Bitters, Rye Whiskey, Sugar Cube

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