Vieux Carré Cocktail Recipe

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Vieux Carré Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The Vieux Carré cocktail, which translates to 'Old Square' in French, was created in the 1930s by Walter Bergeron, the head bartender at the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans. The cocktail is named after the French Quarter, also known as the Vieux Carré. This classic cocktail is a favorite among whiskey lovers and those who appreciate the rich history of New Orleans.

  • The Vieux Carré is a classic New Orleans cocktail
  • It was created in the 1930s by Walter Bergeron
  • The name refers to the French Quarter of New Orleans

How Vieux Carré Tastes?

The Vieux Carré is a complex and well-balanced cocktail with a smooth, rich taste. It has a hint of sweetness from the cognac and herbal notes from the Bénédictine. The rye whiskey adds a spicy kick, while the vermouth and bitters provide a slightly bitter undertone.

Interesting facts about Vieux Carré

  • The Vieux Carré is often considered a cousin to the Manhattan and the Sazerac
  • The Hotel Monteleone, where the cocktail was created, is home to the famous Carousel Bar
  • The Vieux Carré is a popular choice for whiskey enthusiasts


Rye Whiskey

0.75 oz of rye whiskey provides a spicy, grain-forward base that anchors the cocktail. It's not a Vieux Carré without rye's distinctive kick; using less might make the drink too mild, while more could overpower the other ingredients.

Mary Mitkina


Adding 0.75 oz of cognac brings warmth and a touch of fruitiness. Cognac's subtle sweetness helps to balance the rye, and skipping it would strip away the cocktail's soul.

Alex Green

Sweet Vermouth

Used in a 0.75 oz measure, sweet vermouth adds an herbaceous complexity and a hint of bitterness, which counteracts the spirits' sweetness. Skimping on vermouth can leave the drink feeling one-dimensional.

Emma Rose


At 0.25 oz, Bénédictine provides a whisper of herbal sweetness and mystery. It's the secret handshake of the recipe. Too little, you miss its whisper; too much, and the drink loses balance, overpowered by Bénédictine's loud voice.

Mary Mitkina

Peychaud's Bitters

Just 2 dashes of Peychaud's offer a subtle floral and anise backdrop. They're like the spice in your grandmother's secret recipe—skip them, and something intangible but crucial is missing.

Alex Green

Angostura Bitters

2 dashes of Angostura bring a complementary botanical bitterness and a layer of complexity. These bitters are like a touch of salt in cooking; without them, the cocktail is left wanting.

Emma Rose

Lemon Twist

The lemon twist, often seen lounging on the rim, adds a zesty aroma which brightens the cocktail, and without it, that top note of fresh citrus is achingly absent.

Mary Mitkina

Garnish: Cherry

The cherry is the ruby jewel in the crown, adding a dash of color and a hint of fruitiness if one decides to indulge after the last sip.

Alex Green

Recipe. How to make Vieux Carré Drink

  1. Fill a mixing glass with ice
  2. Add rye whiskey, cognac, sweet vermouth, Bénédictine, Peychaud's bitters, and Angostura bitters
  3. Stir well until chilled
  4. Strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice
  5. Garnish with a lemon twist and a cherry

Pro Tips

  • Rye Whiskey: Use a high-quality rye whiskey for the best flavor.
  • Stirring: Stir the cocktail gently to avoid diluting it too much.
  • Garnish: Twist the lemon peel over the drink to release its oils, adding an extra layer of flavor.

Perfect Pairings

Cheese Platter

A selection of cheeses, particularly those with bold flavors like blue cheese or aged cheddar, will complement the rich and complex notes of the Vieux Carré.


Cured meats such as prosciutto or salami can stand up to the strong flavors and bring out the savory notes of the cocktail.

Dark Chocolate

A piece of high-quality dark chocolate will balance the sweetness of the Bénédictine and bring out the spicy rye tones.

Spiced Nuts

Nuts like candied pecans or spiced walnuts add a sweet and spicy profile that is in harmony with the cocktail's characteristics.

Grilled Steak

The robust flavors of a grilled steak can hold their own against a Vieux Carré, making for a satisfying pairing.

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What you could change in Vieux Carré

  • Rye Whiskey: Can be substituted with Bourbon.
  • Cognac: Brandy can be used as a substitute.
  • Sweet Vermouth: Dry Vermouth can be used for a less sweet cocktail.
  • Bénédictine: If unavailable, a mix of honey syrup and herbal liqueur can be used.

Explore all drinks starting with V here

And of course - twists🍹

Smoky Carré

  • Substitute rye whiskey with a smoky Scotch.
  • Keep the cognac, sweet vermouth, Bénédictine, and bitters.
  • Stir and strain into a rocks glass with a single large ice cube.
  • Garnish with an orange twist instead of lemon.

This twist introduces a peaty smokiness to the Vieux Carré, lifting it to a more assertive place where the Scotch’s campfire whispers mix with the existing flavors.

Boulevardier Carré

  • Use bourbon instead of rye and cognac.
  • Increase sweet vermouth to 1 oz.
  • Keep Bénédictine and bitters.
  • Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass.
  • Garnish with orange zest.

This twist marries the Vieux Carré with the Boulevardier, giving it a sweeter, more bourbon-forward profile with a citrus aroma that balances the increase in sweet vermouth.

Verte Carré

  • Substitute sweet vermouth with Green Chartreuse.
  • Stick with the original rye, cognac, Bénédictine, and bitters.
  • Stir well with ice and strain.
  • Express a lemon twist over the glass and drop it in.

This herbal overhaul offers a vibrant, herbaceous kick. The Green Chartreuse brings a unique punch, making the drink brighter and bolder.

In case you forgot basics how to make Vieux Carré

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Insert the spoon into the glass until it touches the bottom. Keep the back of the spoon against the inside wall of the glass, and stir in a smooth, circular motion. The goal is to swirl the ice and ingredients together without churning or splashing.

Learn everything on how to stir

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Vieux Carré

What is the recommended type of glassware for serving the Vieux Carré cocktail?

The Vieux Carré cocktail is traditionally served in a rocks or old-fashioned glass.

What other cocktails can I make with these ingredients?

These ingredients are versatile and can be used in various other cocktails like a Manhattan, a Sazerac or a brandy daisy.

What is the best time to serve this cocktail?

A Vieux Carré is a strong, complex cocktail. It is perfect for after-dinner or late-night sipping.

Is there any special occasion associated with this cocktail?

There's no specific occasion associated with the Vieux Carré. It can be enjoyed any time you're in the mood for a rich, strong cocktail.

Does the choice of brand for the ingredients affect the taste of the cocktail?

Absolutely. Quality of the ingredients will directly reflect on the taste of the cocktail. So, using premium liquor and fresh ingredients can enhance the taste substantially.

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