One thing I really, really wanted to do on our New Orleans trip was to get some inspiration from any and all of the places we visited. I had my trusty small Moleskine on me at all times along with a pen to jot down things I observed, but perhaps one of the best things we found ended up not needing that much note-taking: the Dome Patrol cocktail as found at the Carousel Bar.
While I would urge any first-timer to stick to the Carousel’s classic drink list–in particular the Vieux Carré which they invented–for those who want to mix things up a bit and try something new, venture over to their seasonal menu on the opposing page. At the end of October the focus was on game-day football favorites, and so many of the drinks featured various references to the Saints (including the Who Dat, Saint’s Milk Punch, and The Sir Saint). The Sir Saint was a favorite of mine–essentially a whiskey-based Negroni–but Michael took a particular shine to the Dome Patrol, and after a few tastes I completely understood why. A reworking on the Pisco Sour, it’s both refreshing and not too strong, which means you can enjoy a few of them while you spin around the bar or root on your favorite team even if they aren’t the Saints.
The Sunday after we came back home we went to our local wine shop to procure some pisco brandy, ginger beer, and cranberry bitters and managed to get two out of the three. Calling an audible we got some plum bitters as a substitute, and while we no longer had the bright pinkish hue of the original drink it ended up being an excellent quaff nonetheless. (We subsequently ordered some of the cranberry bitters on Amazon, so now we have a choice whenever we decide to mix up a couple of these.)
Since we’re full into the holiday season now, I would strongly urge you to make some of these for your next gathering. They’re quite easy to make and between the cranberry and the ginger give you a nice last kick of autumn flavors as we head into the Winter Solstice. An added bonus is that if you make some with plum bitters and others with cranberry, you get a bit of red and green so they even look like they belong in a Christmas-themed spread.
Inspired by The Carousel Bar
Makes 2 drinks
4 oz pisco brandy
1-2 teaspoons light agave nectar,
Several dashes of cranberry or plum bitters (I recommend Fee’s, readily available on Amazon)
1 can ginger beer like Gosling’s
Fill a shaker with ice as well as two highballs or Collins glasses to about the halfway point. In the shaker squeeze the limes, add the pisco, and then the agave nectar and the cranberry; close and shake well for about 30 seconds until cold. Strain into the glasses and top each with ginger beer and serve immediately.
If you like, you can keep adding ginger beer to your drink to keep it fizzy.