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The Vieux Carre Is The Perfect Whiskey Cocktail For The Holidays

The Vieux Carre is the best whiskey cocktail for the holidays. Boom — we’re declaring it! You heard it here! The New Orleans take on the Manhattan is easy to make, has a warming quality, and really hits the spot this time of year (thanks to a nice herbal punch).

We’ve already got into how to make a Manhattan and a Black Manhattan. This is very similar but requires a few extra ingredients — namely cognac and Bénédictine. The latter is a French herbal liqueur. With the addition of Peychaud’s Bitters as well, this cocktail sort of becomes a bridge between the world of Sazeracs and Manhattans but is somehow subtler than both.

Okay, let’s get right into making this damn-near-perfect whiskey cocktail for the holidays.

Vieux Carre

Vieux Carre
Zach Johnston

Ingredients:

  • 1.5-oz. rye whiskey
  • 1.5-oz. cognac
  • 0.5-oz. Bénédictine D.O.M.
  • 0.5-oz. sweet vermouth
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • 2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
  • Lemon peel
  • Ice

First, let’s talk about the base spirits. You really need to adhere to rye and cognac here. I’m not saying you can’t use bourbon or brandy. But the softness of a good cognac with a light and fruity nature is what you’re aiming for alongside the vanilla, spice, and stone fruit of a good Kentucky rye. I’m using Hennessy Very Special and Michter’s Single Barrel Rye respectively.

The next big bottle you’re going to have to track down is Bénédictine D.O.M. It’s a very useful herbal liqueur that you can use in a very long list of (higher end) cocktails.

Lastly, there’s the sweet vermouth (I’m using Carpano Antica), Angostura, and Peychaud’s. You really can’t get around these ingredients. They bring the sweetness, botanicals, and a touch more spice to the mix and help this really stand out as a holiday-vibed cocktail.

Vieux Carre
Zach Johnston

What You’ll Need:

  • Coupe, martini glass, Nick and Nora, or lowball
  • Cocktail mixing jug
  • Cocktail strainer
  • Jigger
  • Barspoon
  • Pairing knife or fruit peeler
Vieux Carre
Zach Johnston

Method:

  • Prechill your glass in a freezer (preferably overnight)
  • Add the rye, cognac, Benedictine, vermouth, and both bitters to the mixing jug.
  • Top up with ice and stir until very well-chilled, at least 15 to 20 seconds.
  • Grab your glass from the freezer and strain the cocktail into the glass.
  • Peel a thumb-sized piece of peel from the lemon, express the oils over the cocktail, and rub the peel around the rim and stem of the glass.
  • Slice a small slit in the peel and prop it on the edge of the glass and serve.

Bottom Line:

Vieux Carre
Zach Johnston

This is delicious. So delicious that I ended up kind of killing a whole bottle of rye and cognac making these over the weekend for myself, family, and friends. They were that big of a hit. If that’s not a good sign of a great holiday cocktail, I don’t know what is.

The whiskey shines through in the base. The botanicals, soft herbs, and sweetness from the vermouth and cognac really all just vibe together, making this very easy to drink while still feeling full-bodied.

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