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Vieux Carré


The Vieux Carré is a classic New Orleans cocktail. Pronounced “voo car-ray”, the Cocktail’s name means “old square” and refers to the original name of the French Quarter.

A Vieux Carré is a spirit-forward blend of rye whiskey, cognac, Bénédictine, sweet vermouth, and bitters.

The history of the Vieux Carré

The Vieux Carré was invented by Walter Bergeron in the French Quarter in the late 1930s. Bergeron was the head bartender at what would become the famous Carousel Bar inside the Hotel Monteleone.

Fun fact: The Carousel Bar was a popular hang out for many famed authors including Ernest Hemingway and Truman Capote.

The Vieux Carré first appeared in print in Stanley Clisby Arthur’s 1937 Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix ‘Em.

Looking for more classic New Orleans cocktails for Mardi Gras? Try a Sazerac, Ramos Gin Fizz, Absinthe Frappé, or Hurricane!

What ingredients are in a Vieux Carré?

The classic Vieux Carré does require a few pretty specific ingredients. The average homebartender doesn’t start out with every type of liqueur or bitters, but it’s great cocktails like this that help you expand your collection, little by little.

You can use any bottle of rye whiskey or cognac here. For sweet vermouth, use what you have on hand, but I highly recommend picking up a bottle of Carpano Antica for the most flavorful classic cocktails.

Remember to store your opened sweet vermouth in the refrigerator and use it within 3 to 6 months.

You can find Angostura and Peychaud’s bitters at most liquor stores, some grocery stores, and of course on Amazon.

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more.

The Vieux Carré is made with:

What does the Vieux Carré taste like?

It’s a bit like a Manhattan (whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters), with an extra dose of bitters and a touch of the spice-forward French liqueur Bénédictine.

Bénédictine is a very unique liqueur made with a blend of 27 botanicals. It’s flavor leans to honey and baking spices, in my opinion, although it has layers of herbal and fruity flavors that open up in depending on the cocktail it’s used in.

The traditional garnish for a Vieux Carré is either a lemon twist or a cocktail cherry – I opted to use both.

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more.

Pick up some Luxardo cherries if you want a truly exceptional garnish for your Vieux Carré and other classic cocktails!

How strong is it?

The Vieux Carré is a fairly strong cocktail, with each ingredient contributing to its overall potency. I updated this recipe in 2021 to have more moderate and a bit more balanced 3/4 ounce measures of rye, cognac, and sweet vermouth (rather than 1 ounce each).

If you prefer a stronger version of the classic, go with 1 ounce measures of those three ingredients and keep the other specs the same. And as always, drink responsibly!

Want more whiskey cocktails?

Try a classic Remember the Maine, an easy Whiskey Smash, or a Gold Rush.

Want more brandy cocktails?

Try a Jack Rose with Calvados (a French apple brandy) or a Brandy Alexander.


Vieux Carre

Amy Traynor
The Vieux Carre is a classic New Orleans cocktail made with rye whiskey, cognac, sweet vermouth, Bénédictine, and two kinds of bitters.
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Prep Time 5 minutes
Course Drinks
Servings 1 cocktail


  • ¾ oz rye whiskey
  • ¾ oz cognac
  • ¾ oz sweet vermouth
  • ½ oz Bénédictine
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 2 dashes Peychaud's bitters


  • Add all ingredients to a mixing glass and fill 3/4 with ice.
  • Stir until chilled, about 30 seconds. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice (or over one large cube).
  • Garnish with an expressed lemon twist or a cocktail cherry.
Keyword Angostura bitters, Benedictine, cognac, Peychaud’s bitters, rye whiskey, sweet vermouth
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