[Photograph: Robyn Lee]
As one of the cities associated with the cocktail’s earliest origins, New Orleans has its share of enduring classic drinks, from the Sazerac to the Vieux Carre to the Ramos Gin Fizz. But not all of the city’s mixological creations date back decades or even centuries; New Orleans also has a few of the more creative bartenders working today, who are refreshing New Orleans’ reputation as one of the best cities in the world for good drinks.
The Bywater is an original cocktail by Chris Hannah, a bartender at Arnaud’s French 75 Bar. Named for the city’s Bywater neighborhood, this cocktail matches the vanilla notes of good aged rum with the richness of Averna, an Italian amaro, and is given an elaborate touch through the inclusion of the vibrant herbal Chartreuse and the spicy citrus flavor of falernum, a rum-based Caribbean syrup.
I had the good fortune to be served one of these by Chris when I was in New Orleans last summer. Thankfully, his recipe appears in Food & Wine Cocktails 2009, so you can try his distinctive drink at home. But if you’re in town, swing by the French 75 and order a drink from Chris, one of the bartenders who’s keeping mixology fresh and alive in New Orleans.
- 1 3/4 ounces aged rum (Chris recommends Cruzan Single Barrel)
- 3/4 ounce green Chartreuse
- 1/2 ounce Averna
- 1/4 ounce Velvet Falernum
Combine ingredients in a mixing glass and fill with cracked ice. Stir well for 20 seconds and strain into chilled cocktail glass or coupe.
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