“Go, because it’s crazy, borderline dysfunctional, permissive, shabby, alcoholic and crazy.
And, because it looks like nowhere else,” the late, great Anthony Bourdain once mused on New Orleans.
At no time is New Orleans wackier than in the clutches of summer, when locals shed their inhibitions, the tourists thin out and drinks mid-afternoon become a required, celebrated respite.
From the Marigny to Magazine, from the French Quarter to St. Charles, I’ve rounded up the bracing, icy, bright and beautiful frozen cocktails of the Crescent City.
Manolito is just what you want in a tropical town like New Orleans. As the heat comes rippling off the pavement, so too come the scents of perfectly pressed, hand-sized Cuban sandwiches. The high whine of blenders battles the laughter of locals. You’ll find a lot of locals popping by this diminutive, rum-focused craft cocktail bar that seats about a total of 10 people, between a tiny bar and some scattered tables. Experiencing Manolito is more about the curb outside, where you can snag a seat and see the city from a new vantage. They’ve got a penchant for a frozen drinks here and offer a great many, both classics and festive twists.
I suggest the Manolito Swampwater to start. A mason jar arrives nearly burdened with mint tufts, and this herbaceous blended masterpiece has Green Chartreuse, fresh pineapple juice, pureed basil and fresh lime.
- Superior Seafood
We love any cocktail sold by the half or full gallon (Ahem, please bring back the Frozen Pimm’s of 2020 at Napoleon House), because the thermostat around here in summer is perpetually set to ‘Satan.’
The French 75 at Superior Seafood is an absolute must-sip for the city—whether you stop in for a glass at their lively bar or grab a gallon to-go. A few places serve a frozen 75, but this one is the best. So sweet and tart, it’s an antidote for nearly anything but a brain freeze.
It’s got a punch of premium gin and fresh lemon juice, plus the wizardry of frozen Champagne. How do you freeze something so effervescent and maintain the fizzy, heady moment of France in each icy sip? I’m not a scientist. I don’t know. But I am telling you, this is a fabulous, fun rendition of one of the city’s most regaled classic cocktail recipes.
4338 St. Charles Avenue
- Erin Rose
The Frozen Irish Coffee is on every tourist’s bucket list at this ramshackle, beloved, middle-of-the-French-Quarter dive bar. Sometimes, things are touristy with good reason. This is one of those moments, and it will knock the socks right off a hangover. Thanks, caffeine! Thanks, liquor!
The recipe is a secret, but they will divulge it is made with local dairy, local coffee, brandy and a coffee liqueur. It’s run through a soft-serve machine, giving this frozen a consistency that will likely remind you of a McDonald’s milkshake. It’s sprinkled with coffee grounds and comes in a super-cool black to-go cup, with the Erin Rose logo.
811 Conti Street
- R Bar
One of America’s great neighborhood bars, the R Bar is not quite a dive, not quite a sports bar and certainly not a cocktail bar. Yet, it has elements of each. You can watch the game, rub elbows with a cast of colorful people and get a really, really great drink here. You can also, weirdly, get a haircut on Mondays when the staff invites a stylist to come cut hair for $10 in their ancient barber chair.
They always have a frozen on tap. It originally rotated, but for a while now, it’s been the Frozen Agave Gardens—Del Maguey Vida mezcal, cucumber juice, lemon juice, jalapeño and agave syrup. It’s sweet and smoky, lightly spicy and vegetal. Like the bar, it’s just a lot of things at once…in the best possible way.
1431 Royal Street
This Cajun smokehouse serves up outstanding wings, a caloric, divine Brisket & Pimento Cheese Po-boy and a rotating array of frozen cocktails. The Mr. T Time has vodka, black tea, lemonade and a makrut-lime, Thai-styled simple syrup. The frozen G&T comes with El Guapo tonic, cucumbers, fresh mint and simple syrup. And, of course, because it’s New Orleans, they will make you a slushie version of the Hurricane, with a beautiful Earl Gray Tea Syrup.
1510 South Carrollton Avenue
Imagine this: White Peach sorbet, a Grenache/Cinsault French Rosé blend, and Ketel One Botanicals Peach & Orange Blossom Vodka, all thrown in a blender with ice and pureed to perfection. There’s a tuft of mint, a waft of summer, a full-flavor of ripe peach and the divine consistency of melting Italian ice. That’s the Fresh Peach Frosé at Gris-Gris, and it’s your mission this summer.
1800 Magazine Street