New Orleans. A lot of things come to mind anytime I think about the city: the hustle and bustle of Canal Street, the revelry and noise of Bourbon Street on a Friday night, Mardi Gras, the aquarium, museums, architecture, the fantastic live music, and multitude of restaurants.
Of course the cocktail culture in this city is beyond compare, after all there is a reason this is the home of the annual Hospitality Industry Conference Tales of the Cocktail.
For the spirited Rum traveler, this city has some outstanding opportunities to explore day or night and hopefully this guide will provide you some ideas for when you decide to visit this lovely historic city.
A Taste of New OrleansOne of the first pieces of advice I received when planning a visit to the city was: enjoy the food, explore the bars, but for heaven’s sake get out of the French Quarter at least once.
For the curious Rum explorer the path outside the quarter could lead to the Celebration Rum Distillery. Founded in 1995, they proudly state they are the oldest continually operating craft Rum distillery in the country. They offer tours daily, seven days a week, and if you book the tour online, have a free shuttle from the French Quarter.
The company makes all of the Spirits in the Old New Orleans Louisiana Rum portfolio along with three ready to serve bottled cocktails. The distillery has a pretty unique set up compared to other operations you might encounter and is worth carving out a couple of hours of your trip to visit.
Jewel of Canal StreetAs a person who loves to learn the history of the places I visit, the newly minted Sazerac House on Canal Street offers a unique opportunity for visitors to do just that.
This four story interactive museum, event space, and bitters and Rye Whiskey distilleries have something for everyone curious about New Orleans' historic love affair with cocktails and Spirits.
During your self guided tour you will be able to sample cocktail classics like the Old Fashioned, Jamaican Rum Punch, and the iconic Sazerac as well as a range of bitters.
They recommend allocating an hour per visit, but when we took the tour it was a lot closer to two hours as my wife and I enjoyed taking our time exploring the exhibits and savoring the experience.
They have a large gift shop and in it you will find three limited edition Wulf and Jung Rum expressions featuring proprietary releases from Trinidad, Guyana, and Barbados.
Are you a member?Across the street and down the block from the Sazerac House is The Palace Café the official home of the New Orleans Rum Society.
The restaurant serves exquisite cuisine throughout the day (and night) as well as a menu of classic and modern cocktails downstairs (mmm Barrel Aged Rum Old Fashioned), and some pretty special offerings upstairs in the Black Duck Bar with modern Rum riffs on New Orleans Cocktail classics like the Sazerum, Mint Drulep, and Old Rum, New Fashioned.
It is also worthy of note that the establishment offers 10 Rum flights with themes such as “Tour of the Bermuda Triangle”, “The French Connection”, and “Finished in Wine”.
Members of the Rum Society receive a passport and have the opportunity to sample the official Rum of the month such as Venezuelan Ron Santa Teresa. If you visit the city often enough, you may want to consider becoming a member of the Society.
Taste of Cuba in the QuarterWhile you are exploring the historic Jackson Square area and your path takes you on Dumaine Street, you will have the opportunity to visit Manolito. This unassuming bar and restaurant is inspired by and a tribute to Havana’s famous bar the El Floridita (A favorite spot of Ernest Hemingway).
It offers some of the best Cuban food you will find in the quarter and the cocktail menu is loaded with Cuban Rum classics such as the Hotel Nacionel, El Presidente, and Mojito. The Daiquiri selection is inspired by both Cuba and New Orleans themes like the Floridita and Jazz Daiquiris - a personal favorite made with Bacardi 8.
Another area of the quarter that is always fun to visit is the French Market. Stroll through and visit the shops, street artists, and when you are standing in front of BB Kings Blues Club, look across the street and you will find the restaurant and bar called Cane and Table.
It was consistently recommended to me for its Caribbean inspired cuisine and next level cocktail program and it did not disappoint.
The cocktail menu has something literally for anyone’s palates and the Rum cocktails from the Hashtag Mai Tai to the Hurricane and Table are fun riffs on well known classics. If you decide to dine at this establishment reservations are recommended.
In Tiki we trustOur final stop on this Rum tour of New Orleans brings us to what is usually one of my first, as well last, stops anytime I am in the Crescent City. That is Tiki Godfather and Sage of Rum Jeff Beachbum Berry’s Latitude 29.
After researching and writing about lost and forgotten Tiki cocktails Jeff and his wife and managing partner Annene Kaye-Berry opened up this Tiki bar and restaurant on North Peter Street of the French Quarter at the Bienville hotel.
The menu is loaded with classic (think Mai Tais, Zombies, Rum Barrels oh my…) and original Tiki libations that involve an outstanding variety of Rum that make this bar one that any Tiki or Rum enthusiast must-visit while in New Orleans.
The food is some of the best Tiki inspired cuisine you will find anywhere on your travels and always goes nicely with whatever Rum cocktail you choose. TIP: For first time visitors I recommend starting with a Latitude 29 cocktail, then figuring out your meal and next cocktail choice.
As we wrap up this Rum Odyssey of New Orleans I think it is important to say that I have indeed visited all of the bars and restaurants that I have listed as a regular patron and was in no way compensated by them for mentioning them in this article.
New Orleans has so much to offer that after visiting several times in the past five years and I am nowhere close to visiting all the places I want to see. Do you have any must see Rum destinations in New Orleans? If so, please share them with the Flaviar community.