Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thirsty Thursday: Pirate’s Alley

So, in all fairness, I’m not 100% sure of the “authenticity” of today’s drink, but it sounded delicious so I gave

the creator the benefit of the doubt.  I found the recipe for this one on the interwebs (and we allllll know everything on the interwebs is true, right???)  But, all the same, it affords me the opportunity to talk about two things I enjoy: pirates, and New Orleans history.

Pirate’s Alley is located in the New Orleans French Quarter; it is one block long, and extends from Chartres Street at Jackson Square to Royal Street.  Halfway down the alley, a lamppost marks its intersection by Cabildo Alley (the Cabildo, now a museum, previously having been the seat of the Spanish municipal government, the site of the Louisiana purchase, and the home to the New Orleans City Council until the 1850’s) , which extends to St. Peter Street. This is likely one of the most famous lampposts of the French Quarter… 


What’s so great about a lampost?  It marks an oddly historic spot, for at that lampost, sixteen feet from the St. Louis Cathedral, and eighteen feet from the Cabildo is the closest proximity of Church, State, and Bar anywhere in the world.  Ah…New Orleans.

Also located in Pirate’s  Alley is the Faulkner House, named for William Faulkner who wrote his first novel “Soldiers Pay” while residing there. Right across the alley is the iron fence of St. Anthony's Gardens (part of the St. Louis Cathedral). It is on this fence that the participants of the annual New Orleans Spring Fiesta Pirate Alley Art Show display their work each spring.

Also in this Alley is the well-known Pirate’s Alley Cafe, which is located on the site of the former Spanish Colonial Prison of 1769. Called the Calabozo, it was demolished in 1837 and the was land sold to make way for the Creole house that the bar is now situated in.   Notable residents of the Calabozo include the famous pirate  Jean Lafitte and his men; Jean’s brother Pierre Lafitte also served several months sentence here but eventually escaped.  Pirates Alley is also the reputed meeting place of the Lafitte’s and Andrew Jackson where they formed an unlikely alliance and planned the successful defeat of the British at the Battle of New Orleans in 1814.  Pirate’s Alley was also the center of the black market commerce in the 1800’s, with smuggled and ill-gotten goods traded openly in the streets, even spilling into the courtyard of the church , or hanging their goods on the courtyard’s wrought-iron fence (some say this is where the term “fencing of goods” originated).


Pirates have a rich history in New Orleans; after all, I graduated from the University of New Orleans, their mascot being the privateer (or “pirate-for-hire”).  Privateers provided a service to a country at war, contracted to attack only the ships of the enemy country (while, of course, profiting  from any goods aboard that ship).  Around the time of the Battle of New Orleans, pirates were viewed as patriots for their work as privateers (although the government turned on them sometime after the battle was over…you know how they love their taxes & confiscating things).

So…enough history, & on to the drink.


1 oz Amaretto

3 oz Pineapple juice

2 oz Captain Morgan’s (or other spiced rum)

Shake together with ice & pour into a tall glass.  Best when imbibed while wearing an eyepatch.


Review?  Not half bad---though a little too sweet for my tastes.  I think it would have benefited from a splash of lime juice or sour mix.  The amaretto almost takes on a coconutty flavor when combined with the pineapple and Captain.

NOTE: As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not much of a boozehound, so we don’t have a wide stock of alcohol at our home, and I believe in giving credit where credit is due: this drink was prepared for me by Melissa, one of the fantastic barkeeps at Finnegan’s Wake in Springfield, Missouri.

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