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Masters' Vieux Carre goes down like soda

"One of the smoothest cocktails I’ve ever had.”

Masters Kitchen and Cocktails’ Improved Vieux Carre
Masters Kitchen and Cocktails’ Improved Vieux Carre

The classic Vieux Carre oozes with the decadence of a New Orleans cathouse even as its name invokes the baroque sophistication of the cast iron rail- and grillwork that entwines the French Quarter.

Named for the French word for the French Quarter, the drink plays younger sister to the 19th-century Sazerac. First blindsiding New Orleans in the mid-1930s, it became law (and spirit) of the land after Louisiana journalist Stanley Clisby Arthur codified the concoction in his 1937 book Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix ’em.

Place

Masters Kitchen and Cocktail

208 S. Coast Highway, Oceanside

While no bartender truly hopes to improve such a storied cocktail, bar manager Nick Herda has tried at least to dress it up for autumn and winter weather. Thus, the Masters Kitchen and Cocktails’ Improved Vieux Carre.

Nick Herda

“I don’t know if you can say it’s an improvement,” Herda says. “What we did was focused more on the season. We switched out the cognac with an apple brandy because it makes more sense. It’s seasonal and you can see apples on the shelf everywhere now.”

The finished product tours a delightful flavor wheel of citrus, allspice, brandy-sweet and bosky-bitter, Herda says.

“The first thing you’re going to get is the incense of the orange oils,” he says. “So your first taste of one is going to warm you up and then with your second taste you’re going to get into those brandy flavors — the apple, the winter flavors from the allspice.

A collaboration between Herda and Cervantes Megana, founder of a local cocktail company Medicine Show, this equinoctial variation pays homage to its Big Easy roots, Herda says, through a volatility belied by a smooth delivery.

“It just goes down like a soda,” he says. “There’s no big punch to it, which is mind-blowing when you’re dealing with so much straight alcohol. With the Laird’s and Rittenhouse both being 100 proof, people think it’s going to be potent, but it’s one of the smoothest cocktails I’ve ever had.”

  • ¾ oz. Rittenhouse Rye
  • ¾ oz. Laird’s Applejack
  • ¾ oz. Carpano Antiqua
  • ¼ oz. St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters

In a rocks glass with a giant ice ball (or enough ice to fill ¾ glass), build with each ingredient, stir briefly and swath glass rim and garnish with orange twist.

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Masters Kitchen and Cocktails’ Improved Vieux Carre
Masters Kitchen and Cocktails’ Improved Vieux Carre

The classic Vieux Carre oozes with the decadence of a New Orleans cathouse even as its name invokes the baroque sophistication of the cast iron rail- and grillwork that entwines the French Quarter.

Named for the French word for the French Quarter, the drink plays younger sister to the 19th-century Sazerac. First blindsiding New Orleans in the mid-1930s, it became law (and spirit) of the land after Louisiana journalist Stanley Clisby Arthur codified the concoction in his 1937 book Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix ’em.

Place

Masters Kitchen and Cocktail

208 S. Coast Highway, Oceanside

While no bartender truly hopes to improve such a storied cocktail, bar manager Nick Herda has tried at least to dress it up for autumn and winter weather. Thus, the Masters Kitchen and Cocktails’ Improved Vieux Carre.

Nick Herda

“I don’t know if you can say it’s an improvement,” Herda says. “What we did was focused more on the season. We switched out the cognac with an apple brandy because it makes more sense. It’s seasonal and you can see apples on the shelf everywhere now.”

The finished product tours a delightful flavor wheel of citrus, allspice, brandy-sweet and bosky-bitter, Herda says.

“The first thing you’re going to get is the incense of the orange oils,” he says. “So your first taste of one is going to warm you up and then with your second taste you’re going to get into those brandy flavors — the apple, the winter flavors from the allspice.

A collaboration between Herda and Cervantes Megana, founder of a local cocktail company Medicine Show, this equinoctial variation pays homage to its Big Easy roots, Herda says, through a volatility belied by a smooth delivery.

“It just goes down like a soda,” he says. “There’s no big punch to it, which is mind-blowing when you’re dealing with so much straight alcohol. With the Laird’s and Rittenhouse both being 100 proof, people think it’s going to be potent, but it’s one of the smoothest cocktails I’ve ever had.”

  • ¾ oz. Rittenhouse Rye
  • ¾ oz. Laird’s Applejack
  • ¾ oz. Carpano Antiqua
  • ¼ oz. St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters

In a rocks glass with a giant ice ball (or enough ice to fill ¾ glass), build with each ingredient, stir briefly and swath glass rim and garnish with orange twist.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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