Come as you are to the Hermes Bar, even if you're wearing jeans. Hermes may be linked to the white-linen Antoine's, but this breezy branch offers relaxed seating, dim lights and free live music (you can also order off the full Antoine's menu, or indulge in their bar-only line of premium po-boys).
At the bar, Hermes' cocktails are weighted to the classics, including an homage called The Streetcar. I had to have it for two reasons: Hermes makes it with locally-distilled rum; also, it's a tribute to weeks spent in lane closures, backups and meltdowns up Canal Street.
As I take my drink, the Loyola Avenue streetcar tracks are being laid (the line will connect the train terminal and Canal, with a stop near the Superdome, just in time for February's Big Show).
Hermes' Streetcar sour is a variation of an Old New Orleans Rum recipe, and showcases their spiced spirit (a blend of aged rums shot through with cayenne and warm Christmas fl avors - cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves).
Besides the rum and triple sec, Hermes Bar's variation calls for extra lemon juice and a splash of grenadine, which adds that Canal Streetcar red to the drink (and steers it out of Sidecar territory).
If you make your own Streetcar, look for grenadine made with real pomegranate juice (not dyed corn syrup); try Monin's pomegranate syrup, or make your own simple syrup with equal parts pomegranate juice and sugar. This will give you a brighter, tarty Streetcar, still grounded by the rich rum.
Courtesy of the Hermes Bar at Antoine's; made for me by Marvin Tucker
2 oz. Old New Orleans Cajun Spice Rum
1 oz. Cointreau or other premium triple sec
0.5 oz. lemon juice, freshly squeezed
0.5 oz. grenadine
Shake together in ice; strain into a sugar-rimmed martini glass.