Chris Hannah, Arnaud’s Restaurant, French 75, New Orleans, NOLA, Louisiana, LA, French Quarter, Cocktails, Where to drink in New Orleans, Mixologist, Cocktails, Drink, Bar, Bartender,  Barman, Classics, Where to drink the classics in New Orleans, Recommended, FED Recommended, FED Stamp of Approval



- Chris McMillian of Bar Uncommon in New Orleans, LA


Chris Hannah’s recommendations for where to eat and drink in New Orleans and for which cocktail book and magazines to read.

Q & A


Q & A With Chris Hannah

Q. Please tell us about French 75: 

A. It’s a charming bar, which I hope everyone local and visiting can say they’ve sat in for a drink. Originally, it was a side dining room for Arnaud’s Restaurant and at one time an all-male grill room, until the family currently owning it, turned it into a restaurant/bar where guests can have a comfortable cocktail before dinner. 

Bobby Oaks ran French 75 for fifteen years before training me about the importance of the New Orleans cocktail culture, as well as the tradition that needs to continue pouring from this establishment, as it always has.


Q. You use something called “Gumbo Bitters.” What is it, how do you use it, and is it available to the public? 

A. We’re all making bitters, us bartenders. I just merged a couple different variations of homemade Angostura Bitters and added Sassafrass leaves and roots, as well as dried and smoked okra, the latter two ingredients are necessary for gumbo. I use it in the Creole Cocktail, as well as a Rye Kentucky Colonel. It’s not available to the public. 


Q. Do you have a “test” drink that you always order to measure a bartender’s craftsmanship?

A. I don’t test, because I can tell when I’m being tested and I never like the vibe. It’s like this, can I have a Vesper (with one eyebrow raised)? Then I make it and the comments are all the same after it’s received…and then and only then, can we commence our cocktail conversation. Don’t test, just start the conversation and order (with no eyebrows raised).

If I had a test, it would be the Negroni and The Old Fashioned

The Negroni to see if they can make it and to see if they’d ask if I want it on the rocks or not, and that’s neither here nor there.

The Old Fashioned just to see if cherry and orange are both muddled and also to see if it’s filled with soda water after that.

But that’s only if I’m testing, which I don’t.


Q. What’s your desert island drink - the one drink you never tire of making for yourself?

A. An Amertinez - it’s a Martinez cocktail with various amaros and amers instead of vermouth, or with both vermouth and amaros.

[See recipe.]

Advice / Tips

Q. The Sazerac, the Vieux Carre and the Ramos Gin Fizz are some of the well-known New Orleans classics. What defines a successful rendition of these drinks?

A. For the Sazerac - a successful rendition is another rye drink a guest will order again after having a Sazerac before it. My Rebennack is one that I do nightly.

[See recipe.]

For the Vieuxe Carre - a successful rendition is really just a Creole Cocktail or a La Louisianne, which are classic renditions and so just offering these is a rendition in itself, since no one ever orders either.

Ramos Gin Fizz... I like Maksym Pzuniac’s Gunn Shop Fizz. But to be honest, I only ever revert to the Absinthe Suissesse when making another egg cream drink for a guest.

Q. What other “classics” should be ordered when visiting New Orleans?

A. Brandy Crusta, La Louisianne, Roffignac, Grasshopper, Absinthe Suissesse.



Q. What interesting spirits are you working with that you’re excited about using?

A. Amaro and homemade Amer.

[See details.]

Q. What are your favorite resources (websites, guides, books, etc.) for keeping up with the cocktail community and what do you love about them?

A. I don’t do well online and so I am out of touch, due to not reading blogs. I’ve had a subscription to Imbibe since 2007 and I like Class Magazine

I love Imbibe Magazine because I have met or know more than one person in each issue, it includes everyone in the industry and I love the columnists.

I read books that are in the field: Punch, And a Bottle of Rum, BoozeHound, How’s your Drink.

[See details.]


Q. New Orleans offers amazing food for visitors. But as a local, where do you love to eat and what do you love about the place?

A. Too many places!

Jaques-Imo’s - the menu is as eclectic as the art in its interior, and I don’t mean framed on the walls... I mean the walls. 

Satsuma - I just love being in this room, and for its breakfast and pastries too.

Il Posto - I don’t feel this relaxed anywhere and the sandwiches and bagels are fresh and always tasty.

If I had to be honest, I really only go out on Monday nights to find free red beans and rice at poor neighborhood bars throughout the city. The First Stop has the best red beans in New Orleans, corner of Marais and Pauger.

[See details.]


Q. The obvious question... where should we go for cocktails in New Orleans?

A. Loa at the International House Hotel - I have loved coming here for over five years, great cocktail program and lovely atmosphere.


Cure - it’s still THE destination in New Orleans and the best bar to wear a costume to for no reason, they welcome costumes.


Bar Tonique - kudos to them for making good drinks late, as well as helping to change opinions of those who think Rampart can’t happen again.

Sylvain - lovely addition to the city and Quarter, solid drinks and great food.


Tujagues (on Fridays and Saturdays) - Paul is an icon in my town and even if it’s just me who thinks so. It’s my favorite sazerac in town. His Angostura Phosphate is amazing, best cocktail in town.

Victory - Daniel Victory is asking everyone who is not the “cocktail norm” to come, relax, have fun and enlighten themselves with what they’re missing. Nicely done.


Loew’s Swizzle Stick  - Lu Brow and staff are not letting lower CBD off with no watering hole... to belly up to for civilized cocktails.


Iris - Sharon Floyd is keeping New Orleans in the mix with other American cities, by pushing the boundaries in regards to challenging flavor-profiled concoctions.


Eiffel Society - Jeremy Thompson is bringing his New York roots down to this artistic establishment in the South, check him out.


Chris McMillian - the godfather of our New Orleanian cocktail mafia. It is important to have a cocktail from McMillian when in New Orleans. You’ll be able to say you have for the rest of your life, it will be one of your favorite cocktail experiences to talk to him while quaffing. 

12 Mile Limit - BBQ and cocktails, brilliant. Cole Newton is doing a good job in Mid-City.


Bombay Club - Cheryl Charming has done away with the “20 Martini List” and brought in the appropriate “cocktail list.” It’s a nice room, you owe yourself a visit.


Dominique’s - Kim Patton-Bragg is making delicious garden-to-bar cocktails. Definitely go for dinner and drinks.

[See details.]


New Orleans
City Guide

Details on Chris Hannah’s recommendations for where to eat and drink in New Orleans and for which cocktail book and magazines to read.

Cocktail Recipes

- Amertinez

- Brandy Crusta

- Rebennack


Arnaud’s French 75 - French Quarter - New Orleans, LA

Arnaud’s French 75

French Quarter

Creole, Continental, French

813 Rue Bienville

New Orleans, LA 70112

T: 504.523.5433



Daily: opens at 5:30pm


- Mixologist Chris McMillian


New Orleans
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