I’m not sure exactly what the folks at Absolut had in mind when they named their new flavor of vodka “New Orleans.” The bottle says it’s flavored with mango and black pepper (I think I also detect a little vanilla…), and that’s great, love the combination, but why associate it with New Orleans, a city that stocks black pepper on most, if not all, of its dining tables, sure, but probably doesn’t grow much mango or consider mango to be a staple? [NB: Absolut is donating 100% of the profits from the sale of ANO to helping to rebuild the Gulf Coast, which is STILL reeling from the catastrophic effects of Hurricanes Katrina & Rita. I'll drink to that, and you should too!] Ah, well, dig it: Absolut New Orleans has a pretty cool taste, whatever its dubious nomenclature, and I’ve decided to try to create a drink that brings it a little closer, thematically anyway. Jim Beam has a wild banana aroma, and while it’s not a New Orleans native, either, it does add a toasty, brown, caramel note that recalls well-polished bars and harmonizes very nicely with the ANO. Habenero, representing the spice inherent in many New Orleans dishes, adds some pretty color as a garnish, and after about 5-10 minutes in the glass, a bit of heat as well. 45 Tchoup is the coolest new bar in New Orleans, at 4529 Tchoupitoulas, and it’s just about the friendliest bar you could hope to find anywhere in the world. It also happens to host the nicest bartender (and owner) I’ve ever met, Debbie Shatz. Check out the bar itself: her husband Jeremy built it from salvaged storm debris (he’s a furniture maker & he makes all of his stuff from salvage). Darts, foosball, nice people, cold beer, shade, and more. Check it out! 45 Tchoup. (BTW, for folks not too familiar with N.O. street pronunciations, that last word is pronouced “chop,” as in “Chop-a-too-liss, dawlin.’”)
4 parts Absolut New Orleans
1 part Jim Beam
1/2 habanero chile pepper
Combine liquors and ice in shaker; shake until chilled. Strain into the biggest martini glass you have, then add the pepper. Put some Dr. John on the stereo and chillax.