If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know I prefer cocktails to wine. That means when we travel, we seek out the best mixologists in town. Before our trip, GQ posted the article, The 25 Best Cocktail Bars in America. No 16, Arnaud’s French 75 was our first stop in New Orleans. I was in for a surprise when I crossed the threshold. Set in the heart of the French Quarter, this bar was an oasis from the Halloween/Steelers chaos out on the street. There is an refined, old school feel to the decor and the white jacketed bartenders. The photo below illustrates a fundamental dichotomy inside the Quarter: wingtips & slacks or flip-flops and pajama pants?

There was no question, I had to order one of my favorites: a French 75. Except there was another surprise in store. I always assumed the French 75 was made with gin, but in colder weather, the bartenders at Arnaud’s make the switch to cognac.

On Saturday night before dinner at Le Foret, we watched the Halloween parade and met Lisa for cocktails at Iris. The presentation was beautiful and the offerings on the menu quite creative.

Below is Bar Uncommon located inside the Renaissance Pere Marchette in the Central Business District.  Here, we found the master mixologist himself. New Orleans native Chris McMillian (center) will chat you up, while preparing his signature mint julep.

We also made a late night stop at loa in the International House (Central Business District), where I put a bartender to work whipping up my gin fizz. Sorry, no photos… it was too dark. Sadly, we never made it to the classic Sazerac Bar inside the Roosevelt Hotel and Cure, the Uptown cocktail bar that looks a like a little slice of NYC in New Orleans.

We were only in town for 3 nights so, so I’m sure we missed many other wonderful spots. Do you have any suggestions for our next trip? I’m sure we’ll return, I love a city filled with great food and cocktails!