Vieux Carre Cocktail Drink

Vieux Carré

A shot of Gavin Wrigley looking to the camera in a dimly lit room
Written by Gavin Wrigley
Andrea
Tested by
Andrea Ottaiano

If you want to make a classic cocktail, this Vieux Carré recipe has all the necessary ingredients. It’s a drink that’s as straightforward to make as it is rich in flavor.

Vieux Carré Recipe

Elevate your evening with this Vieux Carré recipe! This sophisticated cocktail is a timeless classic, crafted with rye whiskey, cognac, and a touch of Benedictine.

Prep time:

1 minute

Mixing time:

2 minutes

Servings:

1

Calories:

222 kl

Ingredients

  • 1 oz Rye Whiskey
  • 1 oz Cognac
  • 1 oz sweet Vermouth
  • 1 tsp Benedictine
  • 2 dashes Peychaud's aromatic bitters
  • 2 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters
  • Ice cubes
  • Lemon twist or cherry, for garnish, optional

Equipment

  • Old Fashioned Glass
  • Measuring Jigger
  • Stirrer or Bar Spoon

Instructions

  • Prep Glass: Fill your Old Fashioned glass with ice cubes to chill.
  • Add Bitters: Add 2 dashes Peychaud's aromatic bitters and 2 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters to the mixing glass.
  • Add Benedictine: Add 1 tsp Benedictine to the mixing glass.
  • Add Sweet Vermouth: Add 1 oz sweet Vermouth to the mix.
  • Add Rye Whiskey: Pour 1 oz Rye Whiskey into the mixing glass.
  • Add Cognac: Measure and pour 1 oz Cognac into the glass.
  • Stir Gently: Ice up the mixing glass and use a bar spoon to stir the ingredients gently.
  • Strain: Strain the mix into the Old Fashioned glass with fresh cubed ice.
  • Garnish: Place a lemon twist or cherry into the glass for garnish.

Notes

Substitutes:

  • Rye Whiskey: Bourbon works well if you don't have rye. It's sweeter and changes the profile a bit, but it's still delicious.
  • Cognac: Brandy is a good alternative, although it lacks the richness of cognac.
  • Sweet Vermouth: I've used dry Vermouth, but you'll need to add a splash of simple syrup to balance it out.
  • Benedictine: You can use an herbal liqueur like Chartreuse, but remember, it's not an exact match.

Making a Pitcher of Vieux Carré:

  • Scale: To make a pitcher that serves 8, multiply all the ingredients by 8. That would be 8 oz of rye whiskey, 8 oz of cognac, 8 oz of sweet Vermouth, and 8 tsp of Benedictine.
  • Mix: In a large pitcher, combine all the ingredients and stir well.
  • Serve: Pour the mixture into ice-filled Old Fashioned glasses, garnish, and serve immediately.

Making it Non-Alcoholic:

  • Rye Whiskey Substitute: Use a non-alcoholic whiskey alternative.
  • Cognac Substitute: Opt for a non-alcoholic brandy substitute.
  • Bitters Substitute: Use non-alcoholic bitters or a dash of fruit juice for flavor.
  • Proceed As Usual: Use these non-alcoholic substitutes and follow the original steps.

Making it Vegan:

  • Garnish: If you're using a cherry for garnish, make sure it's a vegan-friendly brand, as some use non-vegan coloring or preservatives.

Nutrition Facts

Calories
222
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
0.03
g
0
%
Sodium
 
4
mg
0
%
Carbohydrates
 
9
g
3
%
Sugar
 
5
g
6
%
Potassium
 
30
mg
1
%
Protein
 
0.1
g
0
%
Calcium
 
2
mg
0
%
Iron
 
0.1
mg
1
%

 

Vieux Carre Cocktail Drink

Vieux Carré Recipe

Gavin Wrigley Written by Gavin Wrigley
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Elevate your evening with this Vieux Carré recipe! This sophisticated cocktail is a timeless classic, crafted with rye whiskey, cognac, and a touch of Benedictine.
Prep time: 1 minute
Mixing time: 2 minutes
Servings: 1
Calories: 222

Ingredients
 

  • 1 oz Rye Whiskey
  • 1 oz Cognac
  • 1 oz sweet Vermouth
  • 1 tsp Benedictine
  • 2 dashes Peychaud's aromatic bitters
  • 2 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters
  • Ice cubes
  • Lemon twist or cherry - for garnish, optional

Equipment

  • Old Fashioned Glass
  • Measuring Jigger
  • Stirrer or Bar Spoon

Instructions

  • Prep Glass: Fill your Old Fashioned glass with ice cubes to chill.
  • Add Bitters: Add 2 dashes Peychaud's aromatic bitters and 2 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters to the mixing glass.
  • Add Benedictine: Add 1 tsp Benedictine to the mixing glass.
  • Add Sweet Vermouth: Add 1 oz sweet Vermouth to the mix.
  • Add Rye Whiskey: Pour 1 oz Rye Whiskey into the mixing glass.
  • Add Cognac: Measure and pour 1 oz Cognac into the glass.
  • Stir Gently: Ice up the mixing glass and use a bar spoon to stir the ingredients gently.
  • Strain: Strain the mix into the Old Fashioned glass with fresh cubed ice.
  • Garnish: Place a lemon twist or cherry into the glass for garnish.

Notes

Substitutes:

  • Rye Whiskey: Bourbon works well if you don't have rye. It's sweeter and changes the profile a bit, but it's still delicious.
  • Cognac: Brandy is a good alternative, although it lacks the richness of cognac.
  • Sweet Vermouth: I've used dry Vermouth, but you'll need to add a splash of simple syrup to balance it out.
  • Benedictine: You can use an herbal liqueur like Chartreuse, but remember, it's not an exact match.

Making a Pitcher of Vieux Carré:

  • Scale: To make a pitcher that serves 8, multiply all the ingredients by 8. That would be 8 oz of rye whiskey, 8 oz of cognac, 8 oz of sweet Vermouth, and 8 tsp of Benedictine.
  • Mix: In a large pitcher, combine all the ingredients and stir well.
  • Serve: Pour the mixture into ice-filled Old Fashioned glasses, garnish, and serve immediately.

Making it Non-Alcoholic:

  • Rye Whiskey Substitute: Use a non-alcoholic whiskey alternative.
  • Cognac Substitute: Opt for a non-alcoholic brandy substitute.
  • Bitters Substitute: Use non-alcoholic bitters or a dash of fruit juice for flavor.
  • Proceed As Usual: Use these non-alcoholic substitutes and follow the original steps.

Making it Vegan:

  • Garnish: If you're using a cherry for garnish, make sure it's a vegan-friendly brand, as some use non-vegan coloring or preservatives.

 

What is a Vieux Carré Cocktail?

A Vieux Carré cocktail contains rye whiskey, cognac, and sweet Vermouth with a dash of bitters and a hint of Benedictine. While the name might sound fancy, it simply means “Old Square” in French, a nod to the French Quarter, where the drink originated. This time honored classic is listed as one among “The Unforgettables” by the International Bartenders Association(IBA).

A Vieux Carre cocktail on a platform surrounded by two lemons and a jigger

What is a Vieux Carré Cocktail made of – The ingredients

Your Vieux Carré will need the following ingredients:

  • Rye Whiskey: Adds a spicy, robust base to the cocktail.
  • Cognac: Provides a rich, fruity layer that complements the rye.
  • Sweet Vermouth: Balances the drink with herbal and sweet notes.
  • Benedictine: Adds complexity with its herbal and spiced flavors.
  • Peychaud’s Bitters: Infuses a light anise and floral touch.
  • Angostura Bitters: Deepens the flavor profile with its botanicals.
  • Ice Cubes: Chills the drink for a refreshing experience.
  • Lemon twist or cherry: Serves as a garnish, adding a final aesthetic and aromatic touch.

Rye Whiskey, Cognac, Sweet Vermouth and Benedictine laid out on a white bar table

How do you make a Vieux Carré?

To start mixing your own Vieux Carré, follow our step by step instructions:

1
<p>Start by filling your Old Fashioned glass with ice cubes to prep it for the cocktail.</p>

Start by filling your Old Fashioned glass with ice cubes to prep it for the cocktail.

2
<p>Add to a mixing glass 2 dashes of Angostura Bitters to deepen the overall flavor profile with its array of botanicals.</p>

Add to a mixing glass 2 dashes of Angostura Bitters to deepen the overall flavor profile with its array of botanicals.

3
<p>Infuse the mix with 2 dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters for light anise and floral touch.</p>

Infuse the mix with 2 dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters for light anise and floral touch.

4
<p>Add 1 oz of Benedictine to introduce a nuanced blend of herbs and spices.</p>

Add 1 oz of Benedictine to introduce a nuanced blend of herbs and spices.

5
<p>Follow with 1 oz of sweet Vermouth to balance the flavors with its herbal and sweet notes.</p>

Follow with 1 oz of sweet Vermouth to balance the flavors with its herbal and sweet notes.

6
<p>Pour 1 oz of rye whiskey over the ice, establishing a spicy base for the drink.</p>

Pour 1 oz of rye whiskey over the ice, establishing a spicy base for the drink.

7
<p>Measure and add 1 oz of cognac into the glass, layering in a rich, fruity complexity.</p>

Measure and add 1 oz of cognac into the glass, layering in a rich, fruity complexity.

8
<p>Ice up the mixing glass.</p>

Ice up the mixing glass.

9
<p>Stir the ingredients gently using a bar spoon, ensuring they meld together seamlessly.</p>

Stir the ingredients gently using a bar spoon, ensuring they meld together seamlessly.

10
<p>Strain the mix into the old fashioned glass with fresh ice.</p>

Strain the mix into the old fashioned glass with fresh ice.

11
<p>Squeeze a lemon peel over the glass</p>

Squeeze a lemon peel over the glass

12
<p>Run the lemon twist over the rim of the glass.</p>

Run the lemon twist over the rim of the glass.

13
<p>Place the lemon twist into the glass, adding a final aromatic and visual flourish.</p>

Place the lemon twist into the glass, adding a final aromatic and visual flourish.

14
<p>Enjoy your Vieux Carre!</p>

Enjoy your Vieux Carre!

What is the difference between a Vieux Carré Cocktail and Old Fashioned?

The Vieux Carré and the Old Fashioned belong to the family of classic cocktails, but they differ in several ways. First, the Vieux Carré incorporates a blend of rye whiskey, cognac, and sweet Vermouth, while the Old Fashioned sticks to a single base spirit, usually bourbon or rye whiskey. Second, the Vieux Carré adds complexity with Benedictine, a herbal liqueur, and uses two types of bitters—Peychaud’s and Angostura. In contrast, the Old Fashioned uses only Angostura bitters and skips herbal liqueurs altogether.

Best Cognac for Vieux Carré Cocktail

When choosing the best cognac for your Vieux Carré, you’ve got some solid options. Hennessy VSOP offers a balanced profile with a mix of fruit and spice that complements the rye whiskey well. If you’re looking for something more luxurious, Rémy Martin XO brings a rich, complex flavor that can elevate your cocktail to the next level. Courvoisier VS is another reliable choice, offering a floral and fruity profile that doesn’t overpower the other ingredients. But if you ask me, Pierre Ferrand 1840 Original Formula strikes the perfect balance. It’s specifically designed for mixing and brings a full-bodied, aromatic experience. It pairs exceptionally well with the herbal notes of Benedictine and the spiciness of rye, making it my top pick for a standout Vieux Carré.

A Vieux Carre cocktail, shot from above on a platform placed on a wooden brown background surrounded by two lemons and a jigger

Variations

The Vieux Carré is a solid classic and does not have a direct variation, however if you want something similar we can recommend one of these three cocktails:

  • Boulevardier: This classic mixes whiskey, sweet vermouth, and Campari, creating a rich and slightly bitter taste. The whiskey lays a strong foundation, while the Campari brings in a distinct bitterness. I really like how the sweet vermouth balances the warmth of the whiskey, making it a well-rounded choice.
  • Sidecar: This one combines cognac, orange liqueur, and lemon juice, striking a perfect balance between citrus and spirit. The smoothness of the cognac goes wonderfully with the zesty orange liqueur. The lemon juice brings a refreshing sharpness, which I always find energizing, especially for a fun night out.
  • Sazerac: This mixes rye whiskey or cognac with absinthe, sugar, and Peychaud’s bitters. The absinthe introduces a hint of anise flavor, which goes well with the spicy rye or the rich cognac. The Peychaud’s bitters add a floral and slightly sweet touch. I’m especially fond of how the herbal notes of absinthe make the drink more complex.

History and Origins of the Vieux Carré Cocktail

The Vieux Carré cocktail is rooted in New Orleans, specifically in the famed French Quarter. “Vieux Carré” translates to “Old Square” in French, a direct nod to the historic district where the drink was born. Walter Bergeron, the head bartender at the Hotel Monteleone, created this classic cocktail in the 1930s. The hotel’s Carousel Bar, a revolving bar and a New Orleans landmark served as the original home for this iconic blend. Bergeron aimed to capture the diverse cultural influences of New Orleans in a glass, combining French cognac, American rye whiskey, and Italian Vermouth with a dash of local Peychaud’s Bitters and the herbal notes of Benedictine.

A Vieux Carre cocktail on a wooden table with two lemons and a jigger around

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FAQ

How many calories are in a Vieux Carré?
A typical serving has around 200-220 calories, depending on the brands of alcohol and the garnish used.
How strong is a Vieux Carré in terms of ABV and proof?
The drink usually has an ABV of around 35-40%, translating to 70-80 proof, depending on the specific alcohols used.
What types of alcohol are used in a Vieux Carré?
The cocktail features rye whiskey, cognac, sweet Vermouth, and Benedictine and bitters.
In which glass is a Vieux Carré typically served?
The cocktail is traditionally served in an Old Fashioned glass.
What does a Vieux Carré taste like?
The drink offers a complex blend of spicy, sweet, and herbal flavors, complemented by fruity and botanical notes.
What is the ratio of the ingredients?
The Vieux Carré generally follows a 1:1:1 ratio for rye whiskey, cognac, and sweet Vermouth, with smaller amounts of Benedictine and bitters.
How is the Vieux Carré served in terms of ice?
The cocktail is usually served over ice in an Old Fashioned glass.
Is the Vieux Carré similar to a Manhattan?
Both drinks use rye whiskey and sweet Vermouth, but the Vieux Carré includes additional ingredients like cognac and Benedictine.

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