Shaken UP NOLA With Fruit-Forward Drinks: Drinks With Anna

With the New Orleans heat and humidity punishing everyone during the dog days of Summer, I always seek refreshing ways to beat the heat and enjoy a cocktail while unwinding in the pool, reading on the porch, or having dinner with friends. Summertime is also the perfect time to experiment with cocktails using fresh fruit. For the cocktails featured in this article, I used freshly ripe pineapples, mangos, strawberries, and pears. I was able to use the pears, strawberries, and mint from my garden. It brings me great joy to be able to use fruit and produce that I have grown. Also, I played with infusing different home-made simple syrups to give the cocktails a little something extra. Below are some of my favorite summer recipes.

Peach Cobbler

2 oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon
½ oz Homemade brown sugar simple
2 dashes El Guapo Holiday Pie Bitters
2 slices of peach
1oz Brut Champagne

Muddle the peach slices, fill a mixing glass with crushed ice, bourbon, simple syrup, bitters, and shake well. Pour into a rocks glass and top with a splash of champagne. Garnish with a peach slice.

Mango Mojito

2 oz Don Q Cristal Rum
1 oz Mint Simple Syrup
1 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
2 oz Mango puree
Soda Water
Mint leaves

Muddle mint leaves and limes in a mixing glass, fill with crushed ice, rum, mint syrup, lime juice, and mango puree, shake well. Strain into a Collins glass filled with ice. For a fun garnish, use a piece of sugar cane and a slice of mango.

Pineapple Gimlet

2 oz McQueen and Violet Fog Gin
1 oz Freshly squeezed lime juice
½ oz Homemade brown sugar syrup
1 egg white
Powdered sugar
3 Pineapple slices

Muddle 2 pieces of pineapple in a mixing glass, fill with ice, gin, lime juice, brown sugar syrup, egg white, and shake well. Take a lime wedge, go around the rim of a coupe glass and next dip into a bowl of powdered sugar to rim the glass, strain the mixing glass into the couple glass, and garnish with pineapple. I would advise chilling the coupe glass while making the cocktail so the drink will stay nice and cold.

Spicy Pear Margarita

2 oz Avion Tequila
1 oz Pear puree
1 oz Freshly squeezed lime juice
1 oz Freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 oz Agave Syrup
2 Slices of fresh jalapeño
2 Lime wedges
1 Orange slice

Muddle one lime wedge, orange wedge, and jalapenos in a mixing glass, fill with ice, add tequila, pear puree, juices, agave syrup; shake well. Strain into a salt rimmed rocks glass filled with ice, garnish with a lime wedge.

Strawberry Lemonade

2oz Stoli Strawberry Vodka
Simply Pink Lemonade
3 Fresh Strawberries
3 lemon wedges

Muddle 3 strawberries and 2 lemon wedges in a mixing glass, add vodka and lemonade, shake well and strain into a tall glass filled with ice. Why make the lemonade when you can easily save time using this product. It is delicious and refreshing. If you like your lemonade sweeter, add some sugar or simple syrup.

Summer Mule

2 oz Skyy Watermelon Infusion Vodka
½ oz Lime juice
4oz Ginger Beer
½ oz Soda water
Mint leaves
3 Watermelon cubes (Seedless)

In a mixing glass, muddle 2 watermelon cubes, fill with ice and add the vodka, lime juice, ginger beer and shake
well, pour into a copper cup and top off with ice and soda water, garnish with mint leaves and a watermelon cube.

Pro Tip—these cocktails all taste different using crushed ice. If you do not have crushed ice at home or the ability to crush it, the best place to get crushed ice is the RaceTrac gas station or Sonic. The drinks also last longer with the crushed ice and do not water down as fast in the heat.

Also, since it is summer in the South, it is perfectly fine to drink these in your favorite insulated tumbler or Yeti.

I hope y’all enjoy these and stay cool!

by Anna Tusa

Refreshing Drinks for the New Orleans Heat: Drinks With Anna

Trying the new pre-mixed cocktails and seltzers in a can available in our market has been the most fun and the easiest job this girl has had in a while. I partnered with Republic National Distributors to do some research on the hottest trend in the liquor industry right now. These cans went to French Quarter Fest, a crawfish boil, poolside, and Jazz Fest pre-gaming. After this was over, I truly felt like a SELTZPERT!

So, here is the low down on these delicious products:

Perfect for poolside, beach, and afternoon sipping was Malibu Cocktail: Pina Colada & Pineapple Bay Breeze. They were refreshing, light, and made with natural flavors. I did not like them straight from the can, but thought they were very delicious over ice. I even added a little more Malibu to the Pina Colada for an extra kick. Other poolside favorites were the Absolut Berry Vodkarita, which was sparkling, and Absolut Pineapple Martini, which was still. Again, these two were light and refreshing and absolutely perfect for our hot summer days. Again, they both tasted better over ice. For a quick cocktail, I muddled a few fresh Louisiana strawberries in a glass and then filled with ice and topped with the Absolut Berry Vodkarita. The muddled strawberries added a nice little strawberry touch to the drink.

Next up was boiled seafood with the Ranch Rider Spirts: Ranch Water and Tequila Paloma. The Ranch Water was refreshing, light, and offset  the spices from the boiled seafood. It is made with reposado tequila, sparkling water, and real lime juice. I liked the fact that it was a seltzer, had only 1 gram of sugar, was gluten free, and low-carb. It was the  perfect balance with all the spices from the boiled crawfish, corn on the cob, and potatoes that a girl  could want. Pro tip: this one tasted good in the can. The Tequila Paloma again was made with reposado tequila, sparkling water, and real grapefruit and lime. It too was gluten free, low in sugar, and low in carbs.  This Paloma was the perfect after-crawfish- boil drink. It was refreshing, and the acidity of the lime  and grapefruit paired perfectly with the tequila. This  drink tasted better over ice.

French Quarter Fest and pool-side afternoons  were more fun with the Onda Sparkling Tequila  Blood Orange and Onda Sparkling Tequila Watermelon. Both were made with tequila and real  juice. They had zero sugar and zero carbs. These delicious drinks can keep you hydrated, and they were light enough to enjoy throughout the day and were easy to carry because of their slim design. They easily fit into a can cooler holder, which kept it colder longer, while wandering around the French Quarter. The same thing held true to this one as well—it tasted better over ice.

Jazz Fest morning got off to the right start with the Tia Maria Cold Brew Iced Coffee Frappe on the walk to the Fairgrounds. This little delicious can packs a mighty punch. It is like an Espresso Martini or an Iced Coffee with a kick, lol. This one did not have a metallic taste while drinking from the can. I did drink another can over ice with a shot of espresso, and it was truly delicious for an afternoon pick me up.

My final cocktail experiment was the Batch & Bottle: Glenfiddich Scotch Manhattan and Monkey Shoulder Lazy Old Fashioned. These were perfect drinks. Just pour out of the bottle over ice and serve in a high ball glass. I garnished the Manhattan with a Bordeaux cherry, and for the Old Fashioned, I muddled an orange and Bordeaux cherry first before pouring over ice. These were simple and great. Best of all, they were easy when entertaining guests outdoors.

Bottom line: summertime cocktails just got easier, and there is something for everyone in today’s market. All these products can be found at Rouse’s, Total Wine, Walmart, or your favorite liquor store. Many bars with outdoor seating are also offering these cocktails, as well. I hope everyone enjoys these cocktails, and I look forward to hearing some of your favorites.


by Anna Tusa

Drinks with Anna: Spring: the Season for Beautiful Weather, Friends, and Festivals

Spring is in the air, and this is the perfect season to enjoy some light and refreshing drinks with botanicals, seasonal fruit, and GIN. Many people have a love/ hate relationship with gin. Others have a life memory involving gin. A lot of people when they think of it order the classics like gin & tonic or a gin martini; however, with the wide range of herbal ingredients and distinct styles, gin is being reimagined with a variety of cocktails. I feel like gin is making a comeback, and I decided to craft some cocktails with different brands using different botanicals and aging processes. These cocktails are perfect for crawfish boils, family gatherings, or pre-festival drinks.

  • 8 pieces of cucumber cubed
  • 2 oz McQueen Gin
  • 1 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 oz basil infused simple syrup
  • 3 dashes of Bitterman’s celery shrub bitters
  • Basil Leaf & Cucumber Slice for garnish

In a rocks glass muddle the cucumber cubes. In a cocktail shaker filled with
ice, mix the gin, lime juice, simple syrup, bitters, and 1⁄2 of the muddled cucumbers. Shake well then strain into a chilled coupe glass. Pour the remaining muddled cucumbers in. Garnish with a basil leaf and cucumber slice.

  • 2 oz of Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Green
  • 5 oz fresh brewed green tea-chilled
  • 1/2 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 dashes of chamomile bitters
  • Drop of honey
  • Lemon garnish

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice pour gin, green tea, lemon juice, chamomile bitters, and honey; shake well, and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with lemon wedge.

  • 2 oz Hendrick’s Gin
  • 4 oz Fresh squeezed ruby red grapefruit
  • Teaspoon of Absinthe
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • Grapefruit slice and cherry for garnish

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice pour gin, grapefruit juice, absinthe, and simple syrup. Shake well. Strain into a chilled martini glass (if you are feeling fancy) or a Collins glass filled with ice. Add a grapefruit slice and cherry for garnish.

  • 2 oz Monkey 47 Gin
  • 2 oz Fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon house infused simple syrup
  • 4 oz Fresh Squeezed Pink Grapefruit juice
  • Seltzer
  • Orange Slice

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice pour gin, orange juice, simple syrup, and grapefruit juice; shake well. Pour into a rocks glass filled with ice. Top off with seltzer. Garnish with an orange slice.

  • 3 oz Rabbit Hole Bespoke Gin (this gin is barrel finished)
  • 1 oz house infused lavender simple syrup
  • 1 oz house infused mint simple syrup
  • 3 dashes of Ryan’s Orange Bitters Orange slice
  • Bourdeaux cherry
  • 2 Louisiana strawberries

In a rocks glass muddle, orange slice, cherry, and one strawberry, then fill with ice. Pour gin, both house- infused simple syrups, and orange bitters; then tumble. Garnish with a strawberry slice.

TIP: If you want to cut some calories, use Swoon Simple Syrup. It has zero sugar. It can replace simple syrup, honey or agave in any drink. I infused the Swoon and made a basil, lavender, and mint syrup. It was delicious and not bitter. Swoon can be purchased online or at World Market. If you want to make your own low calorie infused simple syrups use Stevia instead of sugar.

Enjoy the beautiful spring weather and sip on some fun, easy, and refreshing cocktails that are perfect for any occasion.

by Anna Tusa

Drinks with Anna: Shaken Up NOLA Craft Cocktail Classes

The idea for Shaken Up NOLA Craft Cocktail Classes was born out of the pandemic and came to life in 2022. During the pandemic I was trying to produce fun creative ways to engage guests in a small group setting in the restaurant. I was brainstorming ideas over cocktails and thought, “Why not do craft cocktail classes over lunch or dinner?” A light bulb went off in my head… We have a ton of great food tours, cocktail tours, and ghost tours in NOLA; so why not a craft cocktail tour or class paired with a 3-course lunch or brunch?

When traveling, I certainly enjoy getting to taste the culinary delights of the city I am visiting as well as all the favorite local cocktails. I also love to learn about the culture and history of the city through the food and drinks, and the bartenders and servers you meet along the way.

So, I have produced a craft cocktail class that can include cocktails only or paired with a 3-course lunch or brunch at briquette. The class is the best of both worlds—a food tour and a cocktail tour meshed with live demonstration and education in one relaxed environment. The hectic schedule of the traditional food and cocktail tour was not appealing to me. I do not feel like I learn anything in those environments. And yes, sometimes the others in the tour group make it hard to learn anything or enjoy the experience.

I certainly want to shake up the tour scene and offer a great laid-back, fun, educational, and engaging experience. This experience is great for birthdays, corporate team building, bachelor/bachelorette parties, couples date night, and small corporate functions. My twist here is that the experience includes: one-on-one education and demonstration on making four craft cocktails, a three-course lunch or brunch of local cuisine prepared by the briquette culinary team and paired with the craft cocktails demonstrated for the class. Two necessities for me were guests being able to sit at the bar and engage with the bartender and having the menu items served with restaurant service.

Everyone in attendance will go home with a copy of all the recipes for the cocktails. Our lunch menu has two craft cocktail options. The first being Prohibition craft cocktails of NOLA, and the second option being Bougee new-school craft cocktails. These are my re-imagining of popular classic cocktails. The brunch menu is paired with bubbles and bourbon cocktails. The class is two hours long when paired with lunch which makes for a fun, leisurely afternoon. If you are having a great time, and it takes a little longer for the program, that is okay too. I want to tailor the experience to my guests’ individual tastes and needs so if you would prefer to feature different cocktails, that is certainly doable.

I was able to do a soft opening, if you will, this past fall with an excellent group
of cocktail enthusiasts for a social function during a convention, and let me tell you, it was a blast. They enjoyed every minute of it! I look forward to sharing this experience with you this year. Do not forget this is a wonderful way to celebrate any special occasion. Let’s shake it up! Book a class online at briquette-nola.com. The experience is $125 per person.

by Anna Tusa

Dreaming of Christmas Markets and Holiday Cocktails

I miss holiday travel, and especially the beloved Christmas markets that pop up in Europe this time of year.

Nothing gets you in the spirit like walking around these markets with a warm holiday cocktail, smelling the delicious aromas of traditional Christmas fare, and seeing all the smiling faces of vendors selling their cheese, sweets, and hand made goods. So, with this mind I wanted to re-create these festive memories at home this Holiday season.

Our first stop on the holiday drinking-around-the-world tour is the Christmas market in Nuremburg, Germany, home to the famous Gluhwein – German mulled wine.

This traditional German drink made by pouring red wine into a bowl heated bowl. (Think of our crawfish boil pot set up.) A metal grate is then placed over the top of the bowl and a rum soaked sugar cube is placed on top; and set on fire to caramelize into the wine. This is so amazing to see in person. Let us re-create this drink at home on your stove top or crock pot.

  • 2 bottles red wine (inexpensive; use a full-bodied wine like a Syrah or Malbec)
  • 3 star anise
  • 6 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 cloves
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 2 oranges zested
  • 10 oz apple cider

Allow the above ingredients to simmer on low heat to infuse spices with the wine and apple cider. Next once everything has infused add 10 oz of brandy still using low heat. To serve ladle into a festive glass and garnish with a cinnamon stick and orange slice.

And the best part—leftovers can be refrigerated for up to three days and re-heated on low heat.

Next up, we travel to Italy for the Bombardino: Italian Egg Nog.

This drink mixes brandy and alcoholic egg-based zabaglione to create an orange “bomb.” It is is famous in Christmas markets of Northern Italy, and ski slopes in the Italian Alps. This drink is super easy to make at home.

  • 40 ml brandy
  • 80 ml Advocaat or Zabov Zabaglione egg liqueur (if you can’t find this, use your favorite eggnog)
  • Whipped cream
  • Ground cinnamon

Gently warm the egg liqueur in a pan, but do not boil. Pour the brandy into a glass mug. Pour the warm eggy liqueur into the glass and stir. Pipe in whipped cream and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Our next stop France, and the Christmas market on the Champs Elysees where we will sip Vin Chaud: French Mulled Wine. This is also a favorite in the Christmas markets along the Rhine River in the Alsace region of France.

  • 1.5 bottles of red wine (again inexpensive, but full bodied)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • Zest 1 lemon
  • Zest 1 orange
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 cloves
  • Pinch of Nutmeg
  • 2 Tablespoons of Honey

On your stove top bring the red wine to a boil, add remaining ingredients, then simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Ladle into a glass mug. Garnish with another cinnamon stick and an orange slice. This drink is also great for parties. Do not forget that you can re-use any leftovers.

From France, we will travel to England for a Wassil. Wassil is a festive traditional drink that dates back to Medieval times when, on the Twelfth Night, villagers would run into the fields and chant as a spiritual ritual to help the apple crops thrive for spring harvest. Today, it is a holiday favorite in some of London’s nicest Cider rooms and hip bar scene.

  • 2 apples
  • 750 ml bottle of Cognac
  • 8 cups apple cider
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 15 whole cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg

Poke the whole cloves into the apples on all sides. Add all ingredients, including the apples to a large pot over medium-low heat. Bring to simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes. Remove the apples and whole cloves ladle into mugs. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and apple slice and enjoy. This one is even better re-heated the next day.

Our final stop on our holiday drinking around the world is Ireland for a Christmas Irish Whiskey Cocktail. This is a cocktail that is popular around the holidays in Ireland according to the Irish Whiskey Museum.

  • 2 oz Irish Whiskey (I am a Jameson lover)
  • 1 oz Kahlua Coffee liqueur
  • .05 oz Mint Schnapps

Pour all ingredients into a high ball glass filled with ice and stir. Garnish will a candy cane.

I hope you will enjoy all of these fun, festive, and easy drinks that help me recall my experiences in these beautiful places while enjoying the local culture (aka “Cocktails”).


Shaking Up The Classics

There are plenty of classic cocktails that are gone but not forgotten.

Everyone is serving versions of the Old Fashion and the Manhattan, but what about the others that were favorites back in the day? I decided to play around and bring some of those “old school” drinks back to life.


Loved by the college crowds in the 80s served as a shaken shot but was made famous by Brett Favre.

  • 1 oz amaretto
  • 1 oz sloe gin
  • 1 oz Southern Comfort
  • 3 ounces orange juice

Mix all ingredients in a shaker tin filled with ice and strain into a shot glass.


A drink that dates to the 20s. It’s a simple but easy favorite.

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 3 ounces grapefruit juice
  • Salt rim

Shake vodka and grapefruit juice in cocktail shaker filled with ice; strain into a salt rimmed high ball glass filled with ice.


A drink invented in New Orleans in 1918.

  • 1 oz Crème de Cacao (white)
  • 1 oz Crème de Menthe
  • 0.5 oz simple syrup
  • 1 oz fresh cream

Shake all ingredients in a shaker tin filled with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass. Sprinkle chocolate shavings as a garnish.


A fun, simple vodka cocktail created in the 50s but gained popularity during the disco era of the 70s.

  • 2 oz vodka
  • 4 oz orange juice
  • 0.5 oz Galliano

Mix the vodka and orange juice in a rocks glass filled with ice; stir and float with Galliano.


A long drink developed in Singapore in 1915.

  • 1 oz gin
  • 0.5 oz Heering Cherry Liqueur
  • 0.5 oz grenadine
  • 2 oz lime juice
  • 2 dashes of Angostura Bitters
  • Splash of club soda

In a tall glass filled with ice mix all ingredients. Garnish with an orange wheel.

While recreating these classic cocktails, I was able to reminisce about the first time I enjoyed each of them. I hope you enjoy bringing these drinks back to life with your own special twists.


Summertime Sippin’ in New Orleans

We all know by now that living in NOLA during the Summer is HOT! So, I have decided to work on some refreshing hand- crafted cocktails that are perfect for beating the NOLA heat.

All of these cocktails will use fresh berries or juices to enhance the hand- crafted cocktail experience. I will be featuring products from Sovereign Brands. Y’all, they produce the best products using high quality ingredients, and their bottles are so beautiful; true works of art on your bar.

First up McQueen and the Violet Fog Gin cocktails. McQueen has 21 botanicals; including six that are rarely found in gin. This gin is so clean that it will mix well with everything.

  • 2 oz Mc Queen and Violet Fog Gin
  • 1 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1⁄2 oz basil syrup
  • 3 oz soda water
  • 3 whole strawberries

In a rocks glass muddle the strawberries then add crushed ice, the rest of the ingredients, and stir. Garnish with a strawberry and basil leaf.

  • 2 oz McQueen and Violet Fog Gin
  • 6 large cubes of seedless watermelon
  • 4 strawberries sliced
  • 2 cups of crushed ice
  • 1⁄2 fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • Mint for garnish

In a blender, place watermelon, pulse until crushed. While blending watermelon, place your rock glass in the freezer to chill. After blending, remove your chilled glass, muddle the strawberries then add ice, McQueen and Violet Fog Gin, watermelon puree, and lemon juice. Tumble using a shaker tin, and garnish with a mint leaf.


makes 2 drinks

  • 5 oz McQueen and the Violet Fog Gin
  • 1⁄2 bottle of Luc Belaire Rare Rose
  • 2 oz St. Germain
  • 2 oz strawberry puree

Blend all ingredients in a blender filled with ice. Pour into your favorite stemless champagne flute or your favorite insulated tumbler.

Moving on to another spirit made for summertime fun…RUM! And not just any rum, Bumbu Rum. Its “X” on the bottle marks the spot for a delicious libation straight from the islands. The delicious spice in the rum makes it perfect for a naew take on some classic cocktails.

  • 2 oz Bumbu XO
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • 1⁄2 fresh banana cut in slices
  • 3 dashes of El Guapo Holiday Pie
  • Bitters
  • Cinnamon stick for garnish

Muddle bananas in a rock glass. Add ice, Bumbu, simple syrup, bitters, and stir. Garnish with a cinnamon stick. (This drink is so NOLA!)

  • 2 oz Bumbu
  • 1 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1 oz pineapple juice
  • 1 oz coconut water
  • 3 lime wedges
  • Mint
  • Soda water
  • Rock candy on a stick

In a Collins glass muddle lime and mint. Add ice, Bumbu, lime juice, pineapple juice, coconut water, and soda water. Stir, then garnish with a piece of rock candy on a stick, lime wedge and mint.

Finally, what is more French Quarter than Champagne and Cognac cocktails? The Villon cognac just released in Louisiana is so delicious and smooth that
it works so well with so many spirits.


(My French version of the Classic Lemon Drop.)

  • 2 oz Villon
  • 2 oz Limoncello (chill before using)
  • Sugar for rimming glass

In a shaker tin filled with ice combine both ingredients and shake vigorously. Take a chilled Martini glass and rim the edge with sugar and strain the shaker tin into the glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

  • 2 oz Villon
  • 1⁄2 oz St. Germain
  • 1⁄2 oz simple syrup Luc Belaire Brut

In a shaker tin filled with ice, shake the Villon, St Germain, and simple syrup. Strain into a Champagne flute, and finish with Le Belaire Brut. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Drinks With Anna: Whiskey And A Slice

During my summer staycation, I have been researching trends and pairings in the cocktail and wine industry. One trendy new idea intrigued me so much that I decided to try it out myself.

The idea of drinking whiskey, bourbon, and rye with a slice of pizza, or the whole pie, sounded both savory and delicious. So, I set out on a journey to create the most delicious whiskey, bourbon, and rye cocktails that could pair well with pizza. Pizza is a favorite of everyone. It’s comfort food, right? I know what you are thinking. Pizza and whiskey, nah! Pizza and wine, yes! After doing my research I found that whiskey, bourbon, and rye pair quite nicely with the meat, veggie, and cheese toppings found on most pizzas.Here are some of my favorite pairings. What makes this extra special was that I was able to order take out from these great local pizzerias. I love supporting our local neighborhood small businesses. These pizzas were so delicious, crispy, and the ingredients were so fresh it made cocktail crafting a breeze. Also, there is no shame in eating an extra slice! Classic Margarita Pizza by Nola Mia With a Buffalo Trace Manhattan
  • 2 oz Buffalo Trace
  • 1 oz Herring Cherry Liquor
Served on the rocks Garnish: Bordeaux cherry*The bittersweet flavor of the Buffalo Trace combined with the cherry liquor pair wonderfully with the acidity of the tomatoes and saltiness of the mozzarella cheese.
Funghi Pizza by Tavolino With a Westbank Sour
  • 2 oz Wild Turkey
  • .75 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • .05 Tempranillo wine (any full-bodied red)
Served on the rocks; wine floated on top after mixing all other ingredientsGarnish: lemon zest*Mushrooms and red wine are a match made in heaven, so creating a whiskey cocktail with red wine was easy. Whiskey and wine can stand up to the earthy mushrooms, the bite from the arugula, and the deliciousness of the truffle oil and fontina cheese.
Big Dave’s Buffalo Chicken Pizza by Theo’s With a Jack Daniels’ Strawberry Iced Tea
  • 2 oz Jack Daniels 5 strawberries
  • 5 oz iced tea
  • 1 oz simple syrup
Muddle strawberries, mix all ingredients with ice, tumbleGarnish: lemon wedge*This refreshing cocktail with muddled strawberries pairs nicely with the heat from the buffalo chicken. The richness of the cheddar makes everything even better.
Fantasy Island Pizza by Tavolino With the Irish Mule
  • 2 oz Jameson Caskmates IPA
  • 1 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 4 oz Barritt’s Ginger Beer in the bottle
Served on the rocks in a copper cupGarnish: mint sprig and lime wheel*The Jameson Caskmates IPA along with the ginger beer complement the sweetness of the pineapple, the saltiness of prosciutto, and the heat from the jalapeños.
Farmers Market Pizza by Magazine Pizza With a Weller Antique 107
  • 3 oz Weller Antique 107
  • 1 single ice cube
Highball Glass*This wheated bourbon with its complexity of full-bodied flavor and balanced palate pair well with the flavors of the pie topped with zucchini, squash, olive, spinach, bell pepper and so many more veggies. The bourbon leaves a sweet vanilla note after each sip.
Meat Combo by Pizza Delicious With a Longbranch Old-Fashioned
  • 2 oz Longbranch
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • Dash of Ryan’s Orange Bitters
  • 3 blackberries
Muddle blackberries, mix all ingredients over ice; stirGarnish: Bordeaux cherry*In the words of Matthew McConaughey, “Alright, alright, alright.” His signature bourbon pairs perfectly with the boldness of the pepperoni and pancetta, and the sweetness of the Italian Sausage.I hope everyone enjoys these combinations that are fitting for cooler fall weather and football. I have a newfound appreciation for rye and pie. Mangia Mangia!

Drinks With Anna: Quarantine Frozen Cocktail Queen

Like many of you, the stay-at-home order has unleashed in me many emotions (sometimes all in one day).

It has also taught me new things about myself. For instance, I do have a green thumb and I really do like tequila. While sweatily planting my herb garden one afternoon, I started thinking about ways to cool off in this NOLA heat. Let’s face it…we only had spring temperatures for half of March, then the heat started. As I began looking at the blooming lavender, mint, and rosemary, my mind started working creatively again, which was fun. Frozen Craft Daquiris was my “ah-ha” moment. I missed going to the restaurant and creating new cocktails. Bonding with our guests over craft cocktails was fun, engaging, and most of all exciting. I immediately grabbed lavender, mint, and strawberries from the garden, went to the kitchen, broke out the Ninja blender, and went to work.The daquiri was born in a small Cuban town in 1898, but in NOLA, it’s part of who we are. Everyone has a memory from getting their first frozen daquiri, and I think most of us got it from the drive-thru…it was refreshing, fruity deliciousness in a Styrofoam cup. Yes, those drive- thru piña coladas, jungle juices, and white Russians are delicious, but I wanted to craft frozen daiquiris using fresh fruit, herbs, and quality booze.I used my husband (my shelter-in- place partner) as my test pilot and I set out to be the “Quarantine Frozen Cocktail Queen.” Some of these drinks are my play on traditional drinks and some are pure quarantine creations.
Louisiana Strawberry Mojito
  • 6 fresh Louisiana strawberries 10 mint leaves
  • 1.5 oz simple syrup
  • 3 oz Bayou Spiced Rum
  • 4 oz soda water
  • Juice of one freshly squeezed lime
  • 10-15 ice cubes
Blend until smooth. The spiced rum gives this cocktail a little extra flavor. Garnish with a mint leaf and fresh strawberry.
Mint Julep
  • 10 mint leaves
  • 2.5 oz Woodford Reserve
  • 4 oz soda water
  • 1.5 oz simple syrup
  • 10-15 ice cubes
Blend until smooth, pour into a proper julep cup, garnish with mint leaves.(This was my Kentucky Derby/ Jazz Fest in Place Drink)
Frozen Briquette 75
  • 4 oz Mumm Sparkling Rosé
  • 1.5 oz Hendricks Gin
  • 1 oz homemade lavender syrup
  • 1 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 10-15 ice cubes
Lavender syrup: In a medium saucepan combine one-part sugar and water. Toss in lavender. Bring to a boil stirring. Allow to cool and strain into a bottle.Blend all ingredients until smooth. Garnish with a lemon zest.
Elyx Strawberry Mule
  • 6 fresh Louisiana strawberries
  • 2.5 oz Absolut Elyx
  • 1 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 4 oz Barritt’s Ginger Beer (use the one in the bottle made with real Cane Sugar)
  • 10-15 ice cubes
Blend till smooth. Serve in a copper mule cup with a strawberry garnish.
Frozen South Peters Cosmo
  • 8 fresh blueberries
  • 2 oz Skyy Vodka
  • 1 oz St. Germain
  • 1 oz Prosecco
  • 0.5 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Splash of Cranberry for color
  • 10-15 ice cubes
Blend until smooth.
Frozen French 75
  • 2 oz Martell Blue Swift
  • 1 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • 4 oz Champagne/Cava
  • 10-15 ice cubes
Blend until smooth. (This was my Jazz Fest in Place Locals Thursday drink.)
Frozen Paloma
  • 3 oz Esplon Blanco Tequila
  • 1 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 oz freshly squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice
  • 10 -15 ice cubes.
Blend till smooth. Garnish with lime. (This was my Cinco de Bayou drink.)
Frozen Creole Coffee
  • 2 oz Absolut Vanilla Vodka
  • 1.5 oz praline and cream liquor
  • 4 oz freshly brewed espresso chilled
  • 10-15 ice cubes
Blend till smooth. Garnish with a coffee bean.
Frozen Toulouse St. Milk Punch
  • 2 oz Cask & Crew Walnut Toffee Whiskey
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • 1 dash of vanilla extract
  • 4 oz whole milk
Blend till smooth. Garnish with a sprinkle of nutmeg and cinnamon. (This was my Easter morning drink.)
Yields 4-6 drinks
  • 1 750-ml bottle chilled Rosé
  • 1⁄4 cup vodka
  • 4 cups chopped strawberries
  • 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 8 cups ice
Combine half of the Rosé, vodka, strawberries, and ice. Blend until slushy, if too watery add more ice and blend again. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.(Note: When blending all drinks everyone’s ice and blender are different. You may have to tweak the amount of ice a little.) I know it looks like I drank the entire stay at home order, but it was research, right? My husband has a new appreciation for the frozen drinks after his days of pressure-washing and gardening projects with me. I cannot wait to enjoy some time on the patio with friends, social distancing of course, with one of these delicious cocktails. I hope you enjoy these crisp, refreshing, and most of all, beat-the-NOLA-HEAT drinks.

Bring On Summer Staycation With Seafood & Spirits At Briquette

New Orleans is unquestionably a food and beverage city—locals and visitors are accustomed to having their every food whim met with readily available, flavor-packed dining experiences.

The last four months, however, have delivered night after night of home-cooked (and likely microwaved) meals at the same old kitchen table. This month, the Downtown seafood and spirit specialists of Briquette are looking to change all of that.Briquette’s new Staycation Dinner Series welcomes residents tired of their own worn-out recipes to stop in for some socially distant, contemporary coastal food and fun. The series kicked off on Thursday, June 25, with a special dinner featuring Wagner Family Wines / Caymus Vineyards. On Wednesday, August 19, Briquette will host an Italian-themed wine dinner featuring wines from Italy’s sun-kissed, Mediterranean regions. The dinner is presented in conjunction with the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience (NOWFE).Meanwhile, partnerships and preparations are underway for July and September events, which Proprietor Anna Tusa guarantees will be “spirited” affairs. It’s important to note Briquette’s commitment to the safety of guests and staff—the entire restaurant has been professionally cleaned by COVID Cleaning using the PURTEQ system, which kills viruses for 90 days, according to Tusa.In addition to hosting an extensive wine collection from vineyards around the world, Briquette has also established itself as a New Orleans hub for Bourbon enthusiasts and adventurous sippers of hand-crafted cocktails. As another get-out-of-the-house, staycation offering, the restaurant is excited to add private cocktail classes to the summer schedule.“With a maximum of 10 guests and minimum of two, the intimate craft cocktail experience provides an in-depth lesson for those looking to expand their bar skills from a Briquette mixologist,” says Tusa. The classes can be paired with a meal or center on drinks alone. Perfect for small celebrations, date nights, or an outing with close friends, the private classes focus on your choice of “Traditional,” “Classic New Orleans,” or “Bad & Boujee” cocktails.While birthday, anniversary, wedding, and other celebrations have been tamped down in recent months, Briquette’s Wine Room, a private dining room, is now available to provide spaced, socially distant celebrations for small groups who are ready for a comfortable, stylish gathering place. Briquette’s Wine Room has its own entrance, restroom, and kitchen—relax knowing your guests will be the only ones in the room.Brunch, another beloved New Orleans tradition that many have missed, is back in action at Briquette’s sister restaurant, The New Orleans Creole Cookery, from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The French Quarter restaurant brought back live entertainment to its open-air courtyard to complement dinner Thursday through Saturday evenings.“The courtyard has been a popular destination in the re-opening of in-house dining, and the return of our Oyster Happy Hour from 3 – 6 p.m has been a local favorite of late,” says Tusa.Looks like sticking around for the summer won’t be so bad after all!