Battle of New Orleans…. a St. Patrick’s Day Tradition?

Exactly one year ago on pre-St. Patrick’s Day, I discovered my all time favorite drink. Ever.

It has taken a year to perfect. And while I first tasted this amazing cocktail in an Irish pub in Chicago, it has nothing to do with St. Patrick’s Day. It’s not green (thank God), nor Irish. But in honor of the holiday, and in honor of perfecting this drink, I figured it would be the right time to share.

The drink is called Battle for New Orleans. The restaurant who introduced me to this drink is called Gage. They credit the recipe from Crosby Gaiges Cocktail Guide & Ladies Companion from 1941. It’s still available online. Life seemed much tastier back in the day.

According to the menu the ingredients are:
Battle of New Orleans Recipe

– Bulleit Bourbon
– Absinthe
– Peychards
– Reagans Orange

Those who know me, know I need a recipe. I can’t just wing it. So, after discovering this drink, I made my traveling companions go back to Gage the following night. It wasn’t that difficult since the food, service and drink menu is excellent. And yeah, the place is an Irish Pub and it was St. Patrick’s Day. (Thanks Randy, Amanda and Melvin)

I asked the bartender to make the drink and let me video tape him. It was St. Patrick’s Day, so it was a little (ok, a lot) loud. You can see my video here on You Tube: (Did I mention it was St. Patrick’s Day? You’ve been warned.)

Upon returning home, I was so excited to make this drink for Robert. Unfortunately, our local stores don’t carry the particular bitters needed.
Luckily, we have Amazon Prime. Two days later I was almost ready. I say almost because I decided it would be worth the wait to actually serve this amazing drink during the premiere of season 7 of Mad Men. Yes, I was really building it up.

Seven weeks later, I was ready to debut the Battle for New Orleans into the Livengood house. I got all my ingredients lined up. I watched the video. I listened to the video. I replayed the freakin’ video a dozen times. There is just one (apparently important) part I couldn’t decipher. Dammit! But onward I went. I made the drink. Something wasn’t right. It wasn’t bad, but man, it was strong. Too strong. Only Don Draper would have truly enjoyed it.

I just couldn’t figure it out. Robert in his infinite drinking wisdom insisted it was missing simple syrup. I, in my stubbornness, disagreed. “That’s not what the bartender is saying!” But even playing my video over and over I could not make it out.

The very next day I called the restaurant. Luckily the girl who answered the phone didn’t think I was too crazy and put the bartender on. Sure enough, Robert was PARTIALLY correct. It wasn’t regular simple syrup but made with Demerara (brown sugar). You get it at any grocery store.
Demerara sugar
He rushed out to get it and we were back at it the next night. SO MUCH BETTER.

But it wasn’t perfected until I played around with the bitters. And of course, we double up the bourbon. So if you want it the perfect way, here is my recipe. Follow to a “t” and let me know if you agree that this is the best drink in the world.

Make your life easier and prepare the Demerara simple syrup and put your Absinthe in a spray bottle ahead of time.
Bulleit and SPRAY

Battle of New Orleans, Livengood Style
Makes Two Drinks

Spray your high ball glass with absinthe (can’t go too heavy).

Put ice in a shaker.

In the shaker add:

  • 4 shots of Bulleit Bourbon (also good with Buffalo Trace – but NO OTHERS!)
  • 12 big drops of Peychards
  • 16 big drops of Reagans Orange
  • BIG splash of Demerara simple syrup


Use an orange peel (twist it a bit to get oils out) and rub along the lid of the glass. Put in the glass. (Not outside like this photo that I “borrowed” from Pinterest.)

Pour drink into glass.
Battle of New Orleans


May all your days be filled with luck, love, laughter and a great cocktail.


  • big d March 20, 2015 at 8:57 pm

    Nice! Tried it. Liked it.

    • Kim & Robert March 28, 2015 at 10:27 am

      Awesome! Cheers!

  • Tricia March 27, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    Wow – that’s a lot of work for a drink! I’ll let you make me one next time I visit! 🙂

    • Kim & Robert March 28, 2015 at 10:26 am

      It’s totally worth it but I’m happy to make one for you when you visit. Come soon!


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