This drink was named after the location that is more commonly known as the “French Quarter”, this was the name the original french settlers gave the area of New Orleans. Here is an early printing referencing this name:
Vignaud pamphlets: Louisiana in 1818
“The Vieux Carre, as the French Quarter is called, lies north of Canal Street, covering now an area approximately only thirteen squares long and six squares wide; but it contains enough of interest to first attract the thousands”
The drink does not appear in print until over a century later, it seems surely someone would have named a drink after this location before then, but this is not the case. Stanley Clisby Arthur author of Famous New Orleans drinks and how to mix them credits Walter Bergeron, Head Bartender of the Hotel Monteleone cocktail lounge.
Walter was a bartender at Hotel Monteleone at this time and the drink does not appear to be in print prior to Arthur’s book, does this mean he created it? Not exactly, but it is likely he did. The recipe has been somewhat of a debate over the years, Stanley Arthur published many recipes, that while were mostly accurate, he applied many trends and practices of the era to his listed drinks. The recipe listed in his book, was likely not the original.
This does not discredit the book as a great guideline though and it should be used as such. There is no specific date associated with this drink and the original ingredients are difficult to determine because of this. Applying knowledge to readily available ingredients of the day in New Orleans versus techniques and practices of Walter’s time, we have been able to accurately conclude an original recipe.
This drink dates between 1922 – 1930 (could date far earlier) and contained at least as of then:
Stir these ingredients:
Sweet Vermouth (arthur mentions italian vermouth, which is a strong indicator that this drink is much older than this, although there is no literature supporting this)
Garnish with a lemon peel twist
Strain into an ice filled mixing glass