Sippin' Thru the Season!

November 05, 2018
If there is any city in America that can truly claim to be an international city, it is New Orleans. The confluence of just about every nationality on earth meets here, in the most unlikely of places, a town at or below sea level, located at the southern portion of the greatest river on the North American continent. It’s an infamous place up for outrageous festivities, and all wrapped up in a neat package that is unto itself, yet respectful of the cultures of the many nations that have contributed to its heritage.

New Orleans celebrates and presents her cultures side-by-side. The French Quarter is historically Spanish in architecture. Grand restaurants of international renown serve award-winning fare alongside fascinating, highly rated bars with superstar bartenders.

During our city’s special attention to its annual Creole Christmas celebration, the usual parties are scheduled, and the customary meet-ups for drinks, the happy hour traditions at favorite watering-holes continue. It never seems to not be Christmas or Mardi Gras, or Sugar Bowl, or maybe, it’s just Wednesday in New Orleans!

The following fabulous quartets of drinking places–all located in French Quarter hotels--are awaiting your presence.

Bistreaux, Maison Dupuy Hotel, 1001 Toulouse St., New Orleans, LA (504) 586-8000

Bistreaux, Maison Dupuy’s bar and casual dining locale, is one of the French Quarter’s hidden gems. A first look inside at the mural-covered walls, reproductions of famous French artist Toulouse Lautrec’s 1800s-era dazzling Paris paintings, creates an immediate ambiance that is “tres” appealing and so apropos in New Orleans’ French Quarter.

But there’s much more entertaining experiences ahead for Bistreaux’s guests. Executive Chef Matt Regan makes magic in the kitchen preparing exceptional cuisine. Whether it’s bar bites, jazz brunch, a grand dinner, or happy hour snacks, Chef Matt can please guests’ palates while satisfying their expectations.

The restaurant’s dining and wine program is supported by Josh Harmeyer, the hotel’s food and beverage director; Yon Davis, bar manager; Joshua Matassa, head bartender; and the entire superb service staff of the hotel’s team.

Bistreaux’s bar has a very special happy hour with “booze, beer and bites” and wine for bar guests every day from 2-6 p.m.

A range of super cocktails are available for $6 during happy hour, such as Bistreaux’s signature Lucy Broussard with Pama, St. Germain and sparkling wine. Other happy hour favorites are the Moscow Mule, Pimm’s Cup, and an original daiquiri. A selection of wines is available at $6 per glass and Carafes of Sangria Rosado to share are $12.

Local beers are $3, including several Abitas, NOLA Blonde Ale, Urban South Paradise Park, Tim Roof Juke Joint and several Great Raft selections. Food specials include Crab and Corn Hand Pies ($2 each), Crispy Potatoes with Pimento cheese and bacon ($6), Crispy Confit Chicken Wings ($5), Glazed Pork Belly Sliders ($2 each), Fried Boudin Balls with pickles and Honey Mustard Dip, three per order ($6)

As for seasonal news, Bistreaux’s highlighted holiday cocktail is Spiked Cranberry-Apple Cider Punch, a delicious bourbon based drink with apple cider, cranberry juice, and ginger ale with a splash of orange juice with a festive garnish.

The drink will also be featured as the specialty cocktail in one of the most exciting hotel parties of the year, the annual “Sippin in the Courtyard,” Christmas tree lighting on Friday, November 30, 5-8 p.m.,

The event is free and entertainment will be performed by NOCCA’s classical vocal department. Attendees can purchase raffle tickets to win prizes such as overnight stays, dinners, bar tabs, and wine gift baskets, benefitting the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. A pop-up holiday market is available for some early Christmas shopping.

Also, in the holiday spirit, Bistreaux will be serving a wonderfully tasty Réveillon Dinner during the month of December, with an optional fine wine pairing.

Bourbon O, Bourbon Orleans Hotel, 730 Bourbon St., New Orleans (504) 571-4685

Bourbon O is a hip bar experience located on Bourbon street central that no one would want to miss, or ever forget!

Managed by “THE” Cheryl Charming, this cocktail diva has authored more books on adult beverages than anyone else on the planet. Charming is a marvelous mixologist and mentor to many others who wish to succeed in the trade.

In fact, Charming worked an enjoyable stint on a Disney Cruise Ship, and afterwards joined the Orlando Walt Disney World training team, teaching new employee training course, Quest for the Best. She is also a charming hostess, a great storyteller and was acclaimed by New Orleans Magazine as 2014 “Mixologist of the Year.”

At the hip Bourbon O, both craft and classic cocktails are prepared along with some newbie creations from Charming and her staff. “Newly seasonal drinks on our fall/winter menu are as fun to toy with as they are to consume,” teases Charming.

The main spirit and seasonal theme is associated with Aviation American Gin, owned by American actor Ryan Reynolds. Bourbon O is the #1 seller of the brand in Louisiana bars. In addition, Bourbon O Bar was chosen to host an Aviation American Gin party at New Orleans’ “Tales of the Cocktail 2019”.

While the recipes were not procured, it is known that some Aviation winter cocktail names include: You’re So Fly, A Supersonic Gin & Tonic, Mile High Club, Come Fly With Me, Cockpit Queen and Just Plane Awesome. In addition, some cocktails will include: hollow ice spheres, holiday paper airplanes, stainless steel cocktail glasses, mini hand-held fans (propellers), action paratroopers, mini airplane bottles of Aviation gin and recycled Aviation gin bottles that are cut and sanded to create large 25 oz. drinking vessels.

Charming also noted that “there are 13 long glass ridges on the Aviation bottle, and we will bring it ‘New Orleans Style’ as a mini washboard – thimbles included!”

Other holiday drinks on the menu include a Torched Rosemary Bloody Mary with Reyka Vodka, house made bloody mix, torched rosemary spring with optional muffuletta slider on top.

A French Quarter Float is served in a frosty mug with Flor de Cana Rum, vanilla bean ice cream and Abita root beer. The lush hot buttered rum ingredients are Flor de Cana five-year-old rum, house made buttered rum mix, and house whipped cream and fresh nutmeg.

This fall Cheryl is publishing her sixteenth book, The Cocktail Companion, A Guide to Cocktail History, Culture, Trivia, and Favorite Drinks. Congrats!

Bombay Club, Prince Conti Hotel, 820 Conti St., New Orleans (504) 577- 2237

Residing in the Prince Conti Hotel, a name that reflects French royalty, is the Bombay Club, conjuring images of the gentility of Great Britain. To make matters even more unusual with a French-English mash-up, the bar at the Bombay Club is renowned for serving spot-on martinis, proper Gin & Tonics, a stunning Margarita, a classic Tom Collins, or a Manhattan so perfect you would swear you are just off Times Square.

The menu at the Bombay Club is also up to any gourmet challenge: Fish & Chips, of course; a melt-in-your-mouth Hanger Steak; a daily feature of the freshest of Gulf fish; Pappardelle; or the infamous Ginger Beer-Braised Short Ribs.

There is a clubby atmosphere, and this being in the heart of New Orleans, there has to be a courtyard. There is one-- a delightfully decorated cozy area with tropical plants and seating areas, which promote either conviviality or private moments.

The Bombay Club‘s happy hours are some of the best in town, serving cocktails, wine, beer and bar snacks 7-days a week, 4-7 p.m. Mon.- Fri. and 3-7 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. The Bombay Club also presents live music nightly.

Observing the bartenders, their verve, and the cocktails produced so quickly, yet so painstakingly perfect, is mesmerizing… and the center of attraction.

For drinks this season, Bombay’s bar manager, Aleks Petrashek, created several intriguing charmers. The bar serves up a storm with Aleks’ Black Magic, a cocktail consisting of Old Overholt Rye, Zucco Amaro, Angostura bitters, and incorporating pecan smoked wood chips.

“Using the chips,” said Aleks, “exhibits warmth and compliments the Amaro with sweet and smoky flavors and aromatics that increases the intensity of the drink’s flavor profile.”

Aleks’ spirited concoction of a Hot Apple Toddy consists of Lairds Apple Brandy, fresh lemon juice, honey simple syrup, Cynar Amaro and hot water. The hot toddy is garnished with fanned Granny Smith apple slices and torched cinnamon.

Another smooth, seasonal beverage, Hot Buttered Rum, scores points. Aleks called it, “a really great fall weather winter warmer.” Served neat, Fernet Branca and Café Branca fall into the same category, garnished with brown cacao and whipped cream.

The Bombay Club is also featuring a terrific Réveillon Dinner during the month of December.

Patrick’s Bar Vin, Hotel Mazarin, 722 Bienville St., New Orleans, LA (504) 200-3180

For more bar tales, visit Patrick’s Bar Vin within its own space in the Hotel Mazarin. Just steps from the fun of Bourbon Street or the strolling mecca of Royal Street, Bar Vin sits between the two very different experiences.

Patrick’s is entered through iron gates and the first area is a delightful, inviting oasis, complete with outdoor seating, where the sounds of Bourbon Street are still in the air, but the guests are out of the madness. The next space is a large, couch-lined living room space, quieter and within the air-conditioned comfort of the Bar Vin offerings.

Here you are likely to be greeted by Patrick Van Hoorebeck, your one-of-a-kind host and owner of Bar Vin. This transplanted, stylish Belgian, gracious and knowledgeable “New Orleanian,” yet still the European bon vivant, has embraced this town and all that it allows.

If you keep moving towards the interior of Bar Vin, you then come to what appears to be a private club area (it’s not) where the bar is located, along with cushy seating areas, ideal for resting and conversation among friends.

Your drink choices are expansive and often intriguing.

Patrick’s is always restocking fabulous Champagnes and other sparkling wines. Some are from fellow European-almost American, always fashionable Jean-Charles Boisset (JCB), who could likely be the next “James Bond” if he wasn’t so engrossed in his role as a fabulous winemaker, and now, spirits producer, both in his native France, and California.

Among the four distilled JCB Sprits, Patrick recently introduced Boisset’s “perfect elixir:” Burgundian Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes fermented into wine and distilled slowly seven times into pure, refined, sophisticated vodka and gin. One of the JCB Vodkas is infused with caviar and another with truffles. These two JCB distilled spirits are now being poured at Patrick’s.

Be the first or even the hundredth to try the one or more of the JCB cocktails being premiered this fall at Patrick’s: Caviar Gibson, Millionaire Martini, Agent 69 Martini and Truffle Vesper.

After you have made your drink selection from the excellent mixed drinks and wines, either settle into one of the many sofas or chairs, or step out the double-doors to an historic, authentic French Quarter courtyard, complete with patio-style table seating surrounding an impressive fountain, and sip and savor these hand-crafted, luxurious spirits!