Cocktail Hour: Solemn John

A hauntingly good cocktail from the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans

Photo: Colleen Burdett

While the South has more than its share of haunted hotels, leave it to the historic Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans to make sure its resident ghosts get their own drinks.

A fixture in the French Quarter for more than 125 years, the hotel has hosted everyone from Louisiana dignitaries to Southern literary greats, but it’s equally famous for its Carousel Bar (yes, a working carousel with rotating bar stools). So in honor of Halloween, the Monteleone’s barkeeps devised a series of cocktails named for their permanent guests. One in particular caught our eye—Solemn John, named for a 1920s businessman from Tennessee who’s said to still wander the premises. It’s a creamy, whiskey-laced fall libation with a bit of pear liqueur and a touch of cinnamon. It works great with bourbon, or try it with rye for a little extra bite. Either way, it makes a perfect treat for a grown-up Halloween party, even if the only real spirits around are in your glass.


    • 1 1/4 oz. Bulleit Bourbon

    • 1 oz. Mathilde Pear Liqueur

    • 1/4 oz. simple syrup

    • 3–4 oz. half and half

    • Dash of cinnamon


  1. Place all liquid ingredients in a Boston shaker with ice, and shake until well chilled and blended. Strain into a chilled martini glass, and serve with a dusting of cinnamon.

Recipe from Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans