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Vieux Carré at Pignic Pub & Patio

Fat Tuesday Favorites

Swig New Orleans’ finest at these local watering holes.

Looking for a historic drink for your Mardi Gras celebration on Feb. 16? These Reno establishments have reputations for filling glasses with New Orleans-inspired cocktails all year long, and we’ve got the lowdown on some favorite can’t-miss concoctions to get you in the party mood. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Vieux Carré
(courtesy of Pignic Pub & Patio in Reno. Serves 1)

According to Stanley Clisby Arthur, author of Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix ’Em, the original recipe dates back to Hotel Monteleone, located in New Orleans’ French Quarter — or Vieux Carré. The cocktail still is a classic in NOLA, and guests can order one at Monteleone’s Carousel Bar and take a few rotations at the spinning bar while they sip. But Reno-Tahoe locals can find them right in Downtown Reno at Pignic Pub & Patio, which serves a delicious rendition.

¾ ounce Sazerac Rye
¾ ounce Hennessy Black Cognac
¾ ounce Dolin Rouge vermouth
¼ ounce Bénédictine liqueur
1 dash each Angostura and Peychaud’s bitters

Lemon twist

Chill a Nick and Nora or large coupe glass. Combine ingredients (except for the garnish) in mixing glass. Add ice and stir for 20 revolutions. Strain with cocktail strainer into chilled glass, add lemon twist, and serve.

 

Sazerac
(courtesy of Pignic Pub & Patio in Reno. Serves 1)

It’s believed this cocktail dates back to pre-Civil War New Orleans, and it has been heralded as the first known American cocktail. It was named for the Sazerac de Forge & Fils brand of Cognac that once was its main ingredient. But as you can see, things have changed a bit over the centuries. Serve a Sazerac either up or over.

Herbsaint liqueur, for rinse

2 ounces Sazerac Rye
¼ ounce simple syrup
1 dash Angostura bitters
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Lemon twist

If serving up, chill a Nick and Nora or small coupe glass. Add Herbsaint to glass, swirl to coat inside, and pour out. Combine all ingredients (except garnish) in mixing glass, add ice, and stir for 20 revolutions. Strain with a cocktail strainer into chilled glass, add lemon twist, and serve. You can also serve it down, which means poured into a double old fashioned glass over a big ice cube.

 

Brandy Crusta
(courtesy of Pignic Pub & Patio in Reno. Serves 1)

Italian bartender Joseph Santini invented this New Orleans classic while working at the Jewel of the South bar in NOLA. Dubbed the brandy crusta for the crust of the sugar on the rim of the glass, it was one of the city’s first true calling-card cocktails, even predating the infamous rye whiskey-based Sazerac. Today, it is experiencing a revival.

1½ ounce Hennessy Black Cognac
¼ ounce Lazzaroni Maraschino Liqueur
½ ounce Ferrand Dry Curacao
2 dashes Angostura bitters
¾ ounce lemon juice

This drink is served up. Rim a glass with sugar and chill down glass. Combine all ingredients in a shaker, add ice, cap, and shake vigorously for 8 seconds. Double strain through a fine strainer into chilled glass.

 

French 75
(courtesy of Beaujolais Bistro in Reno. Serves 1)

Somewhere along the way, the French 75 became a beloved New Orleans cocktail, despite the fact it was invented in Paris, France. The story is a long one involving a racehorse and a frail boy from Indiana, but one way or another, the recipe made its way to NOLA and became one of the city’s signature cocktails. There is some debate over whether it should be made with Cognac or gin, but Beaujolais Bistro in Reno serves it with gin.

2 ounces Champagne or sparkling wine
1 ounce Lillet Blanc
1½ ounces City of London gin
1 ounce lemon juice
1 ounce simple syrup

Shake ingredients and strain over ice into a Collins glass. Top with 2 ounces Champagne or sparkling wine. Garnish with a lemon twist.

 

The Grasshopper
(courtesy of The Emerson in Midtown Reno. Serves 1)

The origin of this sweet after-dinner drink named for its green color dates back to 1918, when Philip Guichet, owner of the New Orleans restaurant Tujague’s, claims he invented the first version. The Emerson Bar in Midtown Reno serves its own grasshopper on special request. It’s not always on the menu, but it’s so popular that the bartenders usually are willing to whip one up anyway. And for Mardi Gras, they plan to be mixing up quite a few.

½ ounce crème de menthe
1 ounce crème de cacao
1 ounce vodka
½ ounce heavy cream

Pour all ingredients into shaker, shake well, and double strain. Pour into glass of choice and top with fresh chocolate shavings.

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Beaujolais Bistro
753 Riverside Drive, Reno
775-323-2227 • Beaujolaisbistro.com

Pignic Pub & Patio
235 Flint St., Reno
775-376-1948 • Pignicpubandpatio.com

The Emerson
955 S. Virginia St., Reno
775-433-1995 • Theemersonreno.com

Nora Heston Tarte is a longtime Reno resident living on the south side of town. In addition to searching out the best food spots in Reno, her interests include wine, hiking, yoga, and travel. She graduated from California State University, Sacramento with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and is pursuing her master’s degree in professional journalism. Follow her local exploits and travel adventures on Instagram.

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