Eat + Drink

No Pumpkin Lattes Here: Best Fall Cocktails to Try in New Orleans

 The king of New Orleans cocktails, the sazerac, is also a great fall cocktail. (Photo: Getty Images)

Cramming pumpkin into every coffee and cookie on the shelf has become an odd harbinger of fall. If Crest made a pumpkin-spice toothpaste, we’d probably give it a try or an @mention. Not to buck the zeitgeist, but don’t let pumpkin mania dominate your beverage repertoire in New Orleans. Cocktails in the Crescent City capture the season’s essence without a hint of conformity.

Try a Hint of Nog in Your Cup

Ever wondered how awesome it would be to add booze to melted ice-cream at the bottom of the pint? Yeah, us neither (cue the nervous laughter). But just in case you’re curious, Dickie Brennan’s Bourbon House churns homemade gelato with nutmeg and whiskey in a vintage daiquiri machine. The resulting eggnog-ish delight is everything.

The details: Dickie B’s is on 144 Bourbon, so expect a wait. The Boozy Bourbon Brunch on Saturday is worth it though, and makes “If you’ll have one, I’ll have one” convos obsolete. A cocktail is included.

Try a Taste of Autumn in the Tropic of Cancer

Before proceeding on your New Orleans cocktail quest, we need to talk bananas. Enough fruit shaming. No, autumn’s not the time for tiny umbrellas, but fall in the Tropic of Cancer at Three Muses tastes like a slice of homemade banana bread (if grandma was a Jim Beam gal). Spiced banana cordial and pecans make it a fall fixture amongst some seriously creative company.

The details: Three Muses is between The Quarter and artsy Bywater at 536 Frenchmen. They’ve become an incubator of grassroots music, so expect to hear that New Orleans sound from acts like Tom McDermott and Joe Cabral.

Sample a Sweet Potato Pie-Flavored Margarita

When you need a drink to usher in the fall season, but you’re not ready to trade in your flip-flops, turn to the mad scientists at Tiki Tolteca. They’ve taken a summer-centric staple (the margarita), tweaked an ingredient (smoked agave), and transformed it into a robust, fall masterpiece – it tastes like sweet potato pie!

The details: Pre-game for a night out on Bourbon Street at Tiki Tolteca on 301 N. Peters. It’s walking distance from luxe accommodations and perfect for New Orleans cocktails that march to the beat of their own kettledrum. The aptly named “Mai Time” happy hour is 5-7 p.m.

Sip an Always Seasonal Sazerac

We’ve been thinking outside the pumpkin patch, but don’t overlook New Orleans classics. The sazerac is America’s original cocktail from the days when ingredients for such zany experiments included booze and more booze. You’ll know it’s time for one when you see the first Mid-City hipster in a T-shirt and scarf. Rye whiskey and bitters warm you up for serious people watching at Twelve Mile Limit.

The details: You might spot the elusive New Orleans native at the dive on 500 S. Telemachus. Twelve Mile Limit hosts GOT trivia nights, so they can’t overcharge locals for artisanal New Orleans cocktails. That’s a rule.