New Orleans is renowned for its celebrations like Carnivale and Mardi Gras, St. Patrick’s Day and Jazz Fest. At the center of the festivities in the Big Easy is an abundance of music, outrageous parades and a thriving food scene. Arnaud’s has been a part of the celebrations for almost 100 years since French wine salesmen Arnaud Cazenave opened the doors in 1918 with the goal of serving authentic Creole cuisine. Today, the current owners of Arnaud’s, the Casbarian family, now in their fourth generation of ownership, share that same goal. Arnaud’s is legendary for their Creole cuisine and impeccable service as well as serving some of the best cocktails in town at the adjoining cocktail bar, French 75. Chris Hannah is at the helm of the cocktail program at French 75. He mixes the classics—a mean Sazerac and French 75—but has also developed a menu awash with inventive concoctions including his cocktail for toasting the luck of the Irish, Arnaud’s Basil Smash.
“Smashes are generally refreshing and since it is expected to be mild down here in New Orleans, the style of the cocktail is fitting, as is the color: green. I chose an Irish Whisky, for obvious reasons, which coupled with the other ingredients makes for a balanced main spirited cocktail,” Hannah says.
Arnaud’s Basil Smash
From Chris Hannah of Arnaud’s in New Orleans, Louisiana