Bar Uncommon at the Renaissance Père Marquette Hotel (817 Common St. in New Orleans) is the last place you might look for a life-changing cocktail experience. Funky, high-end interior design and snootiness abound here. The legitimacy starts behind the tiny bar itself. The lead mixologist is Chris McMillian, one of the founding fathers of the Museum of the American Cocktail. It is an honor to receive a libation from this great bartender, who has decided to make the soon-to-be iconic Bar Uncommon his home.
We strongly suggest letting Chris make you whatever he feels like making at the time. He ended up making us a cocktail called New Orleans Is Drowning in Bourbon and Water -- it featured Campari, bourbon, gin, sugar and lemon, among other ingredients, and it was outstanding. Chris created this cocktail to explain the feeling of being displaced by Hurricane Katrina, when he posted up as a guest bartender in NYC at the Pegu Club and started making this awesome stirred cocktail. Chris told us that each ingredient was in homage to the citizens of New Orleans -- for example, the Campari represented the Italians of the city -- and the feeling of unity as the evacuation process took place.