Date of Award
History and Philosophy
Over the past twenty years, the national beverage industry adapted to a growing interest in historic cocktails and classic recipes. Among the many rediscovered classics, New Orleans’ own century-old recipes, like the Sazerac cocktail, garnered praise, national attention, and consumer embrace – even legislative endorsement. However, for most of the past forty years, the city retained a reputation as a place for wild abandon doused in alcoholic beverages of mediocre pedigree. Rather than dismiss the evolution of drinking trends from elegant, classic recipes to indulgent, high-proof booze-bombs as an inherent choice of local drinkers, this paper explores evidence in historic menus and the scholarship in New Orleans tourism marketing. From a careful examination of bar guides, advertisements, newspaper articles, menus and reviews, it is apparent that New Orleans did not eschew its appreciation for traditional, old-time cocktail customs. Rather, two parallel stories unfold; locals continued to demand beverages from previous generations, while business owners recognized the need to accommodate visitors wanting to experience the city’s liberal relationship with liquor. Though the local community is not always harmonious with the dependency on tourism, local bar operators continually offered traditional, historic drink options while also catering to the needs of tourists who chose New Orleans for the escapist experience the city marketed.
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Enlil, Rhiannon, "Drinking Decisions: Twentieth-Century Marketing and Tradition in New Orleans Alcoholic Beverage Trends" (2019). Senior Honors Theses. 125.