Summertime and the living is easy. Or easier. Because whatever shit you have flying at you is a little less shitty when the birds are chirping and the sky is blue and people duck out of work at 3pm on Fridays. Also, when you’re buzzed.
Real talk: You might tease drinks with umbrellas in them in February, you can mock sipping out of coconuts in December but in June, July, and August those drinks bring joy. And only a fool argues against joy. What is fun to argue about are the varying degrees of joy. If we’re all on the same giddy page — that summer cocktails are generally good — then we can bicker over them for hours while seeming to do work.
“Yes, Ted, I’m busy right now. I’m busy with a seven paragraph response to @Wordweary about why a daiquiri is the one true drink of summer. Also, it’s almost three. So… probably gonna leave soon.”
We asked our staff to make strong cases for their favorite summer drinks. They did not disappoint.
New Orleans is famous for many things and — if you believe popular cocktail legends and myths — it’s the place where the modern cocktail was actually invented with the creation of the Sazerac in the 1830s or so. Over the years, countless other popular cocktails have been birthed by the city’s bartenders — the Ramos gin fizz, the Vieux Carre, and the Hurricane, just to name a few. So it’s undeniable that New Orleanians love their cocktails.
That being said, you may have heard that it gets a little hot in New Orleans during the summer. So it should probably come as no surprise that the most popular cocktails in New Orleans during the summer are the ice-cold kind — I’m talking about daiquiris — frozen cocktails that come streaming out of big, humming, swirling iron machines. We love daiquiris so much in Louisiana that we legalized drive-thru establishments that serve them, because God forbid you actually have to get out of a car and expose yourself to the oppressive heat just to obtain a frozen, sugary treat laced with rum and grain alcohol. The humanity! It’s hot down here, y’all!!!
Daiquiris are so popular, in fact, that it’s not uncommon to see a local drinking a daiquiri while wearing a t-shirt that in some way expresses that person’s love for daiquiris.
With all that being said, here’s where to find the best daiquiris in New Orleans.
St. Lawrence: This bar on the outskirts of the French Quarter is a stone’s throw from the Mississippi River and their Pimm’s Cup daiquiri will make you want to run home to tell your mama all about it.
Compere Lapin: One of the more celebrated newer restaurants in New Orleans, Compere Lapin is the baby of former Top Chef contestant Nina Compton and is housed inside the Old ’77 hotel in the Warehouse District. The restaurant’s bar is helmed by one of America’s best bartenders, Abigail Gullo, whose rotating array of daiquiri flavors will keep you coming back to see what new, wonderful frozen concoction her brain has contrived. (FYI, Abigail also makes a fantastic punch.)
Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop: Housed in a building constructed in the late 1700s — making one of America’s oldest bars — Lafitte’s is one of the rare Bourbon Street bars beloved by locals and tourists alike. Their signature Voodoo daiquiri is known simply to locals as the “purple drink” and is a great accompaniment for a stroll or bike ride around the French Quarter. – Brett Michael Dykes