You think you’re braced for New Orleans’ lax approach toward human frailty, but you’re probably not. Like an upper classman with a fake ID, the city encourages you to drink with little concern for the consequences. Many of us don’t need much persuasion in the first place. You already know the classics: The Ramos Gin Fizz, the Sazerac, the Pimm’s Cup, and, lower down the list (much lower), the Hurricane.
At the indispensable Tujague’s, the astute barman Paul devised something called the Green Rice. All he would reveal before we tried it was that the liquor was gin, which of course was no problem. It tasted slightly of citrus, and had an incredibly clean finish, without being bitter. The reason? Rice vinegar. Sometimes it takes vision to invent a new level of vice.
The indulgence doesn’t end at cocktail hour—the restaurant Cochon offered a dressed up pulled pork with cracklin. Stone grits to go with that? Yes please. Then finish with an Ice Box Lime Pie that’s good enough to knock you on your back foot. But you carry on to hear the late show at Snug Harbor on Frenchman Street. It’s all too much, which is to say: it’s just right. You go to sleep thinking you can’t possibly hit the gastronomic ground running again. Then the hotel brings strong coffee and fresh biscuits to your room, and you’re back in the game without missing a beat.