The Century-Old Cocktail We’re Drinking Now Through Mardi Gras Day

Photo courtesy of Creole Cuisine Restaurant Concepts.

Throughout Carnival Season, The Bombay Club in New Orleans serves a cocktail featuring Legendre Ojen, an iconic anise-flavored liqueur. Beloved by New Orleanians, especially during Carnival season, it has become the unofficial Krewe cocktail for the Rex Organization, and the drink used to toast the King of Carnival on Mardi Gras Day. The Bombay Club will serve the Ojen Cocktail with a traditional French fève.

Ojen was first produced in the mid-1800s by a distiller in Spain. However, the production of the liqueur ended when the distillery closed its doors in the late 1980’s.

“Ojen had gained popularity in New Orleans at the beginning of the last century, and over time had become the standby cocktail, especially during Carnival season,” says Executive Chef Phillip Todd. “In fact, some believed that New Orleans’ consumption of Ojen surpassed that of all of Spain, and considering that New Orleanians like a good drink every now and then, I’d believe it.”

The Sazerac Company revived the classic cocktail with a new production here in the United States in early 2016.

Similar to the popular king cake baby of New Orleans, the fève is a porcelain trinket traditionally placed inside of a king cake. The lucky finder of the fève becomes “king (or queen) for the day” and is obliged to provide the next king cake, or in this case—the next round of Ojen Cocktails. The Bombay Club fèves are musically themed figurines, and a full collection makes up a ten-piece jazz band.

“We just thought this was a fun way to celebrate our favorite holiday in New Orleans,” says Phillip. “If you get all ten, it’s a great collection, and it’s a unique souvenir by which to remember Carnival.”

Ojen Cocktail
Yields: 1
  • 2 ounces Legendre Ojen
  • ½ ounce orgeat or Simple Syrup (see note)
  • 7 dashes Peychaud's Bitters
  1. Fill a rocks glass with crushed ice. Pour Ojen and orgeat over the ice and add four dashes of Peychaud's bitters, then swizzle. Fill with more crushed ice and top with three more dashes of Peychaud's. Swizzle until the glass frosts.
*Orgeat is a spiced almond syrup.


Photo courtesy of Creole Cuisine Restaurant Concepts.



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