Summer Spirits

Last week, I mentioned that National Geographic Traveler named New Orleans as one of 21 must-see destinations in the world for 2014. But, I didn’t tell you that Travel+Leisure recently revealed the results of its 2013 America’s Favorite Cities survey, and New Orleans ranked No. 1 in the categories of Live Music Scene, Happy Hour, People-Watching, Wild Weekends and Cocktail Lounges. So, in that vein, I decided to focus on cocktails for part two of three in a series on New Orleans. Here, some top new and revamped spots to grab a lively libation—all while taking in the active scene.

Victory
Pull up a seat at this eclectic downtown bar, and start a conversation over a made-to-perfection cocktail. A wide array of spirits and house-made syrups takes libations up to the next level. For a refreshing summer drink, try the Little Boy Blue (vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup, blueberries, sage and lavender) or the Dante (gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, fresh pineapple and ginger). And, just for the sake of the name, try the So Pho-cking Good (soju, lime juice, pho syrup, mint, jalapeno and chives). 339 Baronne St., 504.522.8664

Kingfish
This new cocktail bar is a great place to grab a delectable dinner (think chargrilled rabbit and cochon de lait pot pie) or small plates (try the alligator wings confit and bacon-wrapped stuffed jalepenos), but it’s also a happening spot to grab a quintessential summer drink. The top three selections are the Mint Julep (Maker’s Mark, mint and peach), the Blueberry Hill (blueberry Stoli vodka, lemon, sugar and blueberries) and the Pimm’s Cup (Pimm’s, lemon juice, simple syrup, club soda, seasonal berries and cucumber). 337 Chartres St., 504.598.5005

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The Pimm’s Cup at Kingfish will satisfy your summer thirst.

The Fountain Lounge
Located within the Roosevelt New Orleans, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel, is the new Fountain Lounge—a raw bar offering live music, creative cocktails and inventive small plates. The new lounge also features live entertainment with a focus on super-premium and highly sought-after wines by the glass. 130 Roosevelt Way, 504.648.1200

Restaurant Patois
A favorite fine-dining spot for locals, Patois recently starting holding a swanky Friday night speakeasy from 11:30pm to about 4am. The brainchild of co-owner Leon Touzet and general manager Lorenzo Reef, the lounge swaps out white tablecloths for more bar-friendly black, dims the lights and offers Frank Sinatra-era cocktails. It’s the perfect easy-going setting for late-night imbibers to come dressed to the nines and ready to croon along to favorite Rat Pack tunes. Specialty cocktails include the Perfect Jack (Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, water and three ice cubes) and the BBA Manhattan (Old Overholt rye whiskey, Carpano Antica, Lillete Blanc and house orange bitters). 6078 Laurel St., 504.895.9441

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Restaurant Patois’ BBA Manhattan is a must-try cocktail.

Bamboulas
Billed as “The New Beat on Frenchman Street,” Bamboulas features live entertainment, late-night bites and a happening vibe. While the bar offers typical selections, this new music venue made my list thanks to the people-watching-while-imbibing factor. Plus, they offer $3 Mimosas and Bloody Marys all day on Sundays. 514 Frenchmen St., 504.944.8461

And, if you’d rather keep things close to home, show off your mixology skills—and get the party started—with this new summer cocktail recipe from Cîroc.

Red Berry Sangria
10 oz. Cîroc Red Berry
10 oz. rose wine
5 oz. fresh lemon juice
5 oz. simple syrup
20 oz. berry tea
Fresh berries and lemon slices

Stir over ice in a 64-oz. pitcher, and enjoy!

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 Cîroc’s Red Berry Sangria is simply tantalizing.

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