The Grasshopper joins the ranks of second lines, dixieland jazz, and the New Orleans Saints as one of the great offerings invented here in New Orleans. In 1919 Philbert Guichet, owner and bartender at Tujague’s, developed the recipe for entry into a cocktail contest in New York. While it is unsure how the cocktail fared then, it has certainly developed a cult following here in New Orleans and around the world. Just as water from a spring is sweetest from its source, a fresh green Grasshopper is best enjoyed on a hot sultry evening in New Orleans.
What’s In It?
The Grasshopper combines two of my favorite courses, cocktails and dessert, and two of my favorite flavors, chocolate and mint. It’s a sweet, creamy, delectable after-dinner drink commonly found in high class supper clubs around the world. This concoction begins with creme de menthe, which lends the drink its minty flavor and hue. Equal parts creme de cacao and fresh cream add a luxurious richness and velvety texture. This mixture is shaken vigorously over ice which chills and whips the cream. The final frothy indulgence is traditionally served in a delicate tulip-shaped champagne glass garnished with cocoa powder or freshly grated nutmeg, or in the case of Tujague’s, a splash of brandy.
The incredible flavor combination lends itself to a variety of applications. Today you can find other creations that honor Guichet’s genius, such as the Frosty Grasshopper, made with mint ice cream, and even Grasshopper Pie, most commonly enjoyed on St. Patrick’s Day.
Where to drink it.
There’s no place like home, and Tujague’s is the place in New Orleans to enjoy a Grasshopper. Like this town, Tujague’s has not changed much over the years. Original fixtures still line the walls, and the tile floor has seen restaurant patrons since 1856. Last year, Grasshoppers nearly faced extinction when the restaurant threatened to close after the late owner’s passing. Thankfully, immense support from the New Orleans dining community (meaning anyone with an appetite) kept the doors open. This little hiccup in Tujague’s history allowed patrons to realize its value, and the restaurant and bar have seen a resurgence ever since. Tujague’s bartenders create their signature drink in an elegant glass shaker, and report that it’s a favorite among visitors and locals alike.
The next time you’re strolling down Decatur or need a post-lunch pick me up, be sure to stop by Tujague’s for a sweet summer treat to cool your palate.