As Creative Director at the Loa Bar in the International House Hotel, a premiere boutique hotel in New Orleans, Alan Walter forages ingredients local to New Orleans year-round for his craft cocktail menu. Walter tries to evoke a sense of place in each sip of the bar’s original creations as he and lead bartender Nick Inman source their ingredients from various locations in the area: ensuring their cocktails stand out from the rest in a city known internationally for its mixology scene.
Inman maintains an orchard located on the western edge of town along the banks of the Mississippi, providing the team with mint, basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, and other ingredients. He and his wife, Sonia, also provide the bar with homegrown produce, including kumquats, lemons, grapefruits, peaches, and plums, in addition to eggs and honey. Isabelle’s Orange Orchard in the Algiers neighborhood of New Orleans adds further to Loa’s plethora of locally sourced ingredients by supplying blood oranges, Meyer lemons, grapefruits, and Louisiana satsumas.
These cocktails wouldn’t truly be foraged if Walter and his team weren’t traveling around the city to find ingredients regional to New Orleans. In New Orleans City Park, they gather Spanish moss in addition to pine needles from the Lake Pontchartrain lakefront; ligustrum flowers and bamboo, meanwhile, come from the Old Metairie neighborhood. A collection of local farmers markets also provides unusual ingredients: Chanterelle mushrooms and the region’s famous strawberries, for example, come from the Ponchatoula Farmers Market.
As if Loa’s lineup of specialized ingredients couldn’t get more local, Walter utilizes several other businesses in the city for his cocktail’s more obscure ingredients. Rosalie Apothecary, a New Age boutique in mid-city New Orleans, provides the bar with organic, medicinal quality herbs like dandelion and sassafras root. With a nod to NOLA’s rich Southeast Asian influence, which again emphasizes the sense of place in Loa’s cocktails, pandan leaves are sourced from the Hong Kong Market. The plantains come from just east of the city in Chalmette.
Jean Lafitte Cocktail
Created by Alan Walter, Mixologist at Loa
1 oz. Matusalem Platino Rum
1 oz. Pisco Charm Field
¾ oz. Spanish moss syrup*
½ oz. lime
Shake rum, pisco, and moss syrup together and serve up in glass with powdered dried lime and fennel**.
*Spanish Moss Syrup:
Steep the moss in water over and over until it’s heavily concentrated. Then put it in a pot with sugar and reduce slowly until the liquid has the consistency of syrup.
**Powdered Dried Lime and Fennel
Dried limes (available at Greek markets)
Combine both in an espresso grinder and use to rim the glass.
Visit Loa Bar online here.