If two classic New Orleans cocktails got together and had a child, that drink would be the De La Louisiane. Sometimes called A La Louisiane or even just La Louisiane, this is another classic from the French Quarter and it’s named for the restaurant at which it originated. It satisfies the urge for something boozy—those times when you are trying recall the Vieux Carré but all you can think of is the Sazerac.
In addition to having several variations of the name, there is no clear agreement on the best proportions. The original appears to call for equal proportions, but we think that version is a bit sweet. We prefer a heavier pour of the base spirit to dry it out some.
De La Louisianne
2 oz rye whiskey
.75 oz sweet vermouth
.75 oz Benedictine
3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
3 dashes of absinthe
Stir with ice until cold, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a cherry.
It’s not a difficult execution, but you might have to obtain a few items to pull it off. The rye is easy enough, so use what you like or what you have on hand. Rye often imparts a peppery bite which is important here to compete with other ingredients, so don’t think you are making it better by reaching for bourbon. That would make a good drink too though.
These days you have plenty of options when it comes to sweet vermouth. If you are not drinking yours regularly, at least store it in the refrigerator. Otherwise, pickup a fresh bottle. Given the spectrum of flavors available, we say try what you like then try something else. We have read about folks even using Punt e Mes with success. We like Cinzano because it does not break the bank and it tastes great, but you have options.
Eventually, you will want to add a bottle of DOM Benedictine to your cabinet, if not for this cocktail then for something else. It sneaks into many classics and since you rarely use much of it at a time, it should last a good long while. It also has a rich history as one of the liqueurs created by monks, so that is something. We should also mention that Benedictine is delicious, so go get some!
Like the Sazerac, this one calls for some Absinthe. We love a good frappe once in a while so we always try to have several on hand. Really good absinthe can be pretty expensive, so you can also sub Herbsaint or Pernod. It’s only a few dashes, but it is potent stuff so don’t skip it because you will lose an important flavor component.
Finally, like any decent New Orleans cocktail, Peychaud’s bitters brings it all together. If you like a Manhattan or one of the Brooklyn variants, this cocktail will agree with you. There is a bit of spice from the rye and an exotic herbal edge from the Benedictine/absinthe/bitters combo. It’s a delicious drink.