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 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.
What ingredients are in a Vieux Carré?
The classic Vieux Carré is made with:
- Rye whiskey
- Sweet vermouth
- Angostura bitters
- Peychaud’s bitters
The Vieux Carré is a bit like a Manhattan (whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters), with an extra dose of bitters and a touch of the 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. Pick up some Luxardo cherries if you want a truly exceptional garnish for your Vieux Carré and other classic cocktails! Disclosure: This post includes Amazon affiliate links, which means that if you click through and make a purchase, I will earn a small commission at no cost to you.
- 1 oz rye whiskey
- 1 oz cognac
- 1 oz sweet vermouth
- 1/4 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.