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Despite hailing from the Cuban town of Daiquiri in the late 19th century (so they say), the daiquiri is well established in New Orleans. However there is more than one type of daiquiri, and they are quite different specimens. First there's the classic daiquiri, a rum-lime-sugar concoction that makes a pretty mean go-cup. These you'll find at most craft cocktail bars.
Then there's the frozen daiquiri, a breed of potent, crazy-sweet (and ofter supersize) beverage popularized in New Orleans in the 1980s. These are everywhere, but especially dominate on Bourbon Street. You'll see them swirling in slushie machines behind the bar, where they mingle with many kinds of liquor other than rum (vodka, brandy, 190-proof Everclear) and every artificial flavor and unnatural hue under the sun. This category includes the iconic drive-through daiquiri—yes, those dispensed of via a drive-through in your car—and many of the city's famed daiquiri shops, some of which are open 24 hours.
We recommend you try both types of daiquiri during your New Orleans visit!
Where: A safe couple of blocks from the debauchery of Bourbon Street, St. Lawrence (219 N. Peters St., map), at the edge of the French Quarter, is celebrated for its daiquiris because its syrups are handmade with real fruit. Artisanal daiquiris? Sign us up!
Eds' note: Sadly, St. Lawrence closed during the pandemic. Please see our alternatives below.
Order: There are always two daiquiris offered here: One is a seasonal flavor and one is the bar’s signature frozen Pimm’s Cup ($9 for 16 oz; $15 for 32 oz). What’s more NOLA than a Pimm’s Cup daiquiri in a go-cup? (Ours was eventually poured into one, as we realized 16 oz of icy alcoholic beverage should not be quickly consumed.) This daiquiri—made of Pimm’s, triple sec, gin, and a lemon-lime-orange-cucumber syrup—is delicious: tart, subtly sweet, and packing a surprising punch. During our visit, melon margarita was the second daiquiri option, but depending on the season, you might see blueberry and basil, harvest pumpkin, St. Germain bourbon smash (with local strawberries and Meyer lemon), even an eggnog daiquiri.
Alternatively: You might try the counter-serve local chain New Orleans Original Daiquiris (multiple locations including 8100 St. Charles Ave., map) for that classic NOLA drive-through experience, with flavors like Crawgator, Electric Lemonade, and Mardi Gras Mash. In the French Quarter, we enjoyed the iconic Voodoo daiquiri (aka. purple drank, the deal closer, sneaky drink) at historic Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop (941 Bourbon St., map), a sweet, potent mix of bourbon, Everclear 190, and grape flavoring.
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