The New Orleans' Original Cocktail Walking Tour provided by Gray Line Tours is a must! It combines two of my favorite things - drinking and history. Be warned though: this is a pricey tour. We paid $29 then had to purchase all of our drinks on the tour which ranged from $8 to $15.
Our tour guide was a sassy older woman named Sandy that we instantly took a liking to. She was a straight shooter who knew her alcohol. If you do take this tour, try to get paired up with Sandy!
To start off the 2 1/2 hour tour we jumped straight into the booze with absinthe and Tony Seville's Pirate's Alley Cafe. The thought of drinking the same alcohol that probably caused Vincent Van Gogh to cut his own ear off wasn't the most appealing to me but I had to try it. Plus now that opium isn't a part of the ingredients we figured we'd be OK. Not so much. That stuff is nasty! Unfortunately I didn't get any real good pictures but you don't just drink absinthe. The green alcohol is mixed with a sugar cube in a spoon then heated with fire, turning yellow. Because the taste is similar to black licorice it was suggested that we mix in soda to give it a root beer flavor. Didn't help. The smell is much more worse than the actual taste. Tiffany and I shared one cocktail and we couldn't even finish it and ended up tossing it.
We then headed over to Antoine's Hermes Bar for sidecars. It was my first time drinking one but from what I remember I liked it, although it was strong. Much better than the absinthe. The woman behind the bar was awesome and let us get to go cups (we wanted to get a collection of souvenir cups).
Next stop was Court of Two Sisters. They specialize in a sangria that they created and it was my favorite drink of the tour. After we grabbed our drinks the group headed out to the patio/dining section which was so pretty. Unfortunately the staff was really rude to everyone and they were clearly annoyed we were there. Not sure why since our group was about 15 people and we all dropped $9 a drink. So it's not like we were loitering.
The last stop on the tour was The Bombay Club. It was a bit fancy and the drink prices were steep but it was the perfect place to relax on the patio with a stiff martini (they're martini list has a little something for everyone). I got the cucumber martini and it was refreshing although so strong I couldn't drink it all!
We ended our night at what came to be our favorite bar in New Orleans - Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar. It was built between the 1720s and 30s and according to the bar's Web site is reputed to be the oldest structure used as a bar in the United States. It was a really cool place and you could feel the history being there.
If you ever go to NOLA, I highly recommend visiting Lafitte's!
And that finally concludes my New Orleans recaps. But there's still one more post coming, written by my friend Tiffany who traveled with me.