Tujague’s History: Historical Cocktail Recipes From America’s Oldest Standup Bar



It’s little wonder that the oldest standup bar in America is in New Orleans, the city where the cocktail was created. Elizabeth Kettenring Dutrey opened Dutrey’s Coffee Exchange with her husband, Louis, in 1867. “Coffee Exchange” was the pleasant name given to barrooms in those days, although what most patrons were drinking was a lot more spirited than coffee. Two years after Louis’s death, Hipolyte Bégué became Madame’s barkeep—then her husband—and the tradition continued. 

 

In 1914, the bar became “Tujague’s” and ownership passed to Philip Guichet and John Castet. Four years later, Philip traveled to New York City to compete in a national cocktail contest and placed second. And his creation? You guessed it: The frothy, mint-hued Grasshopper cocktail. Upon Philip’s return, the Grasshopper became a patron favorite and remains such. 

 

 

Grasshopper

¾ oz. green créme de menthe

¾ oz créme de cacao

¾ oz white créme de menthe

½ oz. brandy

¾ oz. heavy cream

¾ oz. whole milk

½ tsp. Brandy for topper

 

Combine all ingredients, except for the brandy, in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously. Strain into a champagne flute and top with brandy. 

*Please note that over the years, we have slightly adjusted this original recipe to coincide with customer preferences.

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Even the Prohibition era could not alter the tradition of Tujague’s bar. “Yeah—we tried to close for a few hours when Prohibition began, but it just didn’t work out,” Philip Guichet said in the era. In truth, the liquor never stopped flowing. The waiters spiked drinks from bottles concealed in their apron pockets. In 1931, Tujague’s made the headlines. The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported, “New Orleanian Philip Guichet was seized by a raider after serving absinthe.” Philip denied these accusations, although a Prohibition agent claimed to see him serving the absinthe to somebody below his apartment.

Once Prohibition ended, Philip continued to compete in national cocktail competitions. In 1956, he traveled back to New York City for another competition, mixing a drink for all the whiskey drinkers out there. He mixed together whiskey, cream, orange flower water, sugar, an egg, and ice. Finished with a sprinkle of nutmeg, the cocktail was served in a stemmed glass, and became known as Whiskey Punch. Philip won first place and the drink recipe has been passed down for generations.


Early times National Mixed Drink Competition, 1956


 

 

Whiskey Punch

2 o. Early Times or other bourbon whiskey

1 whole fresh egg

2 oz. heavy cream

4 drops orange flower water 

2 tsp. Sugar

Grated nutmeg

Combine all ingredients, except for the nutmeg, in a cocktail shaker filled with crushed ice. Shake vigorously for 2-3 minutes. Strain into a stemmed cocktail glass. Garnish with grated nutmeg.

Experience the History

Tujague’s still serves these famous historical cocktail recipes to their guests. Come join us in the French Quarter to experience these traditional cocktails! Call 504-525-8676 to learn more about these recipes or to reserve your table today.

For more cocktail recipes and stories about the rich history Tujague’s, check out Poppy Tooker’s Tujague’s Cookbook! In there, you can find restaurant memorabilia, ghost stories galore, and our famous drink and food recipes.