Shake with ice, strain into a rocks-style cocktail glass and garnish with a twist of lemon. National Provisions uses their “spaceship” glass.
About this recipe
The “black book” or cocktail bible behind the bar is handwritten and well used. Long-time National Provisions bartender Jane Sledd explains that each time a new drink is made it is recorded so the recipe will be available for future customer requests. The atmosphere is classic French bistro and the bar preferences tend to be reminiscent of the classic cocktails of Paris named after film stars, artillery pieces, movies and boulevards. The Jeff’s Carre fits right in.
Jeff was a customer who asked for a Vieux Carre. Always happy to accommodate a customer request, Jane made this version of the drink — a refreshingly sophisticated boozy spicy cocktail with just the right hint of sweetness and depth. It appears on National Provisions’ fall cocktail menu.
The original Vieux Carre (translates to “old square,” also a name for the French Quarter) has a colorful history. It was crafted by Walter Bergeron in 1930s New Orleans. Bergeron, of the Hotel Monteleone’s Carousel Bar (an actual 25-seat rotating carousel), made the original with sweet vermouth — ¾ of an ounce — and a tablespoon of Benedictine. According to the hotel, the drink was created as a tribute to the ethnic groups of the city: the rye as a nod to the American influence, the Benedictine and cognac to the French influence, the sweet vermouth to the Italian and the bitters as a tribute to the Caribbean.
National Provisions is open seven days per week. Located in Lexington at 710 National Ave. (corner of National Avenue and Walton Avenue), 859-303-4763; it includes a café (open 7am–10pm); the Brasserie (open 11am–10pm, no food service 3–5pm); the Market (open 8am–8pm); and The Beer Hall (open 5 –10pm). Find National Provisions on Facebook.