Blooming flowers and seasonal showers ensure that the flora of New Orleans is flourishing — and that local mixologists are taking advantage of the bounty.
Baru Bistro & Tapas
For over 15 years, Baru has caused locals to swoon with Chef Edgar Caro’s Latino-Caribbean flavors, but it wasn’t until recently that the popular tapas bistro flaunted its cocktail prowess. Located on the corner of Magazine and Amelia streets, this neighborhood gem features a crudo and cocktail bar where one can gorge on spectacular local seafood, while quaffing the latest Caribbean concoction. Hop up to the bar or kick it outside on the spacious balcony and experience the herbal flavors of spring with an El Pepino Picoso (made with Astral Blanco, cucumber water, agave and a house-made serrano pepper/cilantro tincture) or pair a plate of Ostras Crudas with a Paloma (made with Mezcal Anejo, grapefruit juice, fresh basil and agave). 3700 Magazine St., (504) 895-2225, barutapas.com
Located inside Broussard’s, a classic New Orleans restaurant that’s almost a century old, one will discover Empire Bar. With skilled head bartender Paul Gustings behind the stick, a man who has been hailed in publications like The New York Times and Esquire, your cocktail experience will most definitely be a memorable one. Sidle up to the long, marble-topped bar and travel back in time to enjoy a classic Ramos Gin Fizz, the favorite drink of Louisiana’s infamous governor Huey P. Long, featuring Martin Miller’s 80 proof gin, Combier Liqueur d’Orange, powdered sugar, orange flower water and egg whites. 819 Conti St., (504) 581-3866, broussards.com
On Frenchmen Street, music floats from open doorways luring passersby with everything from thrumming Latino rhythms to the knee-slapping sounds of bluegrass. It’s here, on this iconic New Orleans street, that one can discover a wealth of well-crafted cocktails (not to mention incredible food) at the Three Muses. Owners Sophie Lee and Chef Daniel Esses have created a hugely popular music venue that offers mouth-watering cuisine and, thanks to the skill of bartender Kimberly Patton-Bragg, superior cocktails. Stop in and listen to the folksy blues songs of Luke Winslow King or the traditional New Orleans dance-hall jazz of the Shotgun Jazz Band, while swilling an herbaceous Earl Grey Gardens (made with Cathead Honeysuckle Vodka, Earl Grey syrup and fresh thyme). Or switch gears for something a bit heavier with a Spaghetti Western (made with Bulleit Bourbon, house-made rosemary syrup and a Campari-soaked orange slice) — it pairs perfectly with Esses’ falafel-crusted fresh mozzarella. 536 Frenchmen St., (504) 252-4801, 3musesnola.com
Salon by Sucré
Although the name is synonymous with decadent gelato, amazing macarons and other confectionery delights, Salon by Sucré also offers stellar savory dishes and heavenly herbal cocktails. Located in the historic French Quarter above one of Sucré’s sweet boutiques, Salon features concoctions like a Maud Flower (made with Chamomile Gin and honey), a Lulu White (made with hibiscus, rum, sorrel and blackberry) or a Kate Townsend (made with jasmine-infused Cocchi Americano Bianco, vodka, lime and fresh mint). 622 Conti St., (504) 267-7098, restaurantsalon.com