New Orleans is one of America’s favorite destinations for drinks and cocktails. Every year, millions of tourists go to New Orleans looking to explore its best venues for enjoying the city’s traditional drinks, accompanied by fresh seafood and bold blends of southern, Creole, and Cajun cuisine, as well as live music and entertainment. The Big Easy’s many tried-and-true cocktail favorites, like the Hurricane, bourbons, and the Sazerac offer visitors authentic tastes of the city’s history.

The growth in wine-focused venues in New Orleans also offers visitors unique combinations of dining, entertainment, and drinks, as well as historic fine dining establishments across the city. A modern tour of New Orleans’ best cocktail and drink venues combines old cocktail favorites and great wine together with the city’s excellent culinary and musical traditions.

Try America’s First Cocktail: The Sazerac

Dubbed America’s first cocktail and created in the French Quarter, the Sazerac dates back to 1838. If you’re a whiskey lover, you’ll definitely enjoy this specialty cocktail made with American Rye whiskey, bitters, anise liqueur, lemon peel, and sugar. Plus, you can enjoy a classy Sazerac cocktail at the city’s finest restaurants and bars like Hermes Bar in Antoine’s Restaurant. Antoine’s itself dates back to 1840 and is a must visit for New Orleans history.

Visit One of Nola’s Many Wine Bars

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Image via Flickr by Keoni Cabral

New Orleans is best known for its party and cocktail scene. However, the city also has a growing number of wine bars featuring diverse, themed indoor and outdoor venues. Bacchanal combines an outdoor patio with a wine and spirits store and features live music every night and a backyard barbecue. The store has a great selection of wines at a low price and hosts free wine tasting events. After visiting St. Louis Cathedral, you can also head over to Orleans Grapevine Wine Bar and Bistro to take a wine flight and enjoy specially crafted cheese plates in the French Quarter.

Looking for the latest in wine culture and technology? The Wine Institute of New Orleans (W.I.N.O.) offers classes and 120 wine selections from around the world available for sampling by the ounce. There’s also cheese, meat, and chocolate platters to enhance your wine tasting experience.

Take a Bourbon Tour

Dickie Brennan’s Bourbon House, located in the Astor Crowne Plaza Hotel, is home to the New Orleans Bourbon Society and features New Orleans’ most extensive collection of small batch and single barrel bourbon. Take a bourbon tour or simply enjoy some of New Orleans’ best seafood and oysters paired with white and rose wines.

Have a Hurricane at Pat O’ Brien’s

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Image via Flickr by MsSaraKelly

No visit to New Orleans is complete without a Hurricane, one of Nola’s most famous cocktails. Head over to Pat O’Brien’s for the original Hurricane, created during World War II in response to an overabundance of rum coupled with a critical whiskey shortage. Visitors to Pat O’Brien’s enjoy the fruity red rum drink served in a hurricane glass that they can purchase as a New Orleans’ souvenir.

For the most convenient access to New Orleans’ best cocktail and drink venues, hotels in the French Quarter are a great option for travelers to have great drinks, dining, and entertainment right at their hotel or just steps away.