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  • Writer's pictureDrunk as Lords

Commander's Palace Whiskey Smash

whiskey smash

Mardi Gras is upon us, so you’ll need to be kitted out for the festivities. We’ve covered the Sazerac (and the recipe here is the original) but it’s not for everyone. If you’re looking for a New Orleans cocktail that will make your wife hate you less, let me direct your attention from the Sazerac Bar to that Garden District landmark since 1893 and its Whiskey Smash.

There was a time when I sailed more than I do now, I’d go to New Orleans for some race or another, and find myself negotiating lunch at Commander’s Palace with its 25 cent martinis. True, those lightnings I sail never really go that fast, but I like to give death a sporting chance through drowning. God favors drunks, small children and the catatonically stoned, though, and you can really only do as much damage to yourself as three martinis ever will – at least for 25 cents a pop. That’s the personal limit per service.   

Like a lot of the city’s historic restaurants, Commander’s Palace it’s had it rough times where it seemed a little fussy and “over-sauced.” New Orleans though, is forgiving (and patient) with its Grand Dames as you are with your grandmother. In 2020 Meg Bickford was named executive chef and has deftly updated a classic in a way that has struck the landing for “the same, but better.” No easy feat, and a phrase I’ve never heard Mrs. M say about life with me.

As a general rule, I’m at an age where I tend to avoid New Orleans at Mardi Gras, so I won’t be going anywhere near the place this season. But I will celebrate it. And you could do worse that the Commander’s Palace Whiskey Smash: It’s refreshing, the fairer sort will like it, and it won’t wreck the underlying bourbon. Measure the Curacco, though – it is very easy to overdo.


To Wit: Commander's Palace Whiskey Smash,


-   3 lemon wedges

-   4 fresh mint leaves

-   1 oz (2 Tbls) orange Curacao

-   2 oz (1/4 cup) Bourbon

-   1 sprig fresh mint


Muddle the lemon wedges, mint leaves and Curacao in a bar glass or shaker. Add the bourbon and ice and stir or shake well. Strain into a rocks glass over ice & garnish with mint sprig.



This recipe is from "In the Land of Cocktails" from Commander's Palace - which dates back to about 1882.



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