Things to do in NOLA: the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

Located on Chartres Street in New Orleans is the Pharmacy Museum, constructed in 1823.  A placard states Louis J Dufilheo as one of the first profession to be licensed in the USA in 1816, symbolising the beginning of a system of certifying the competence of pharmacists.  The apothecary shop is still intact, showcasing an extensive collection and preserving the history of pharmacy.

Having spent two days at the Apple store desperately trying to restore my photos from my broken phone, we were time limited and did not stay for the guided tour held at 1pm, which is included in the $5 entrance fee (children under six years are free and students and seniors can enter for $4).  We left as it was starting, if we had of had time it would have be interesting to find out more.

 

Everyone has heard of New Orlean’s voodoo culture, but in the pharmacy on you can find historic voodoo potions, along with an impressive soda fountain.  Although the practice of voodoo was not acceptable in all social circles, believers and the curious from the upper class could purchase voodoo potions at their local pharmacy with relative anonymity.  Voodoo healers had a vast knowledge of herbs, and even recommended mouldy bread inn the treatment of syphilis year before the discovery of penicillin.

Whilst I love voodoo themed bars, if I could have a themed bar, I would love an apothecathy themed bar! The soda fountain could be the star of the show!  I loved looking at all the old bottles, these would have looked fabulous at one of my Halloween parties!  Oh, the tinctures and tonics, I was in my element.  Perusing through the prescriptions and compounding, exclaiming out loud at the questionable medicine practises!  Did you know that wealthy people would take tablets covered in silver or gold as a status symbol?!  Thus not realising it could be toxic and had no medicinal benefits.  Opium was one of the commonly prescribed drugs in the 19th century and at the museum you can find out all about it, along with the practice of leeches and poisons.

Past the courtyard, where herbs were grown, and up through the stairs on the second floor, you will find the haunting sick room.  This felt so ghostly to me, like I could imagine a spirit hovering above the sick bed.  There were various exhibits that were on display, which would transport you back to that century.

The exhibts housed various artefacts, including bitters, herbal tonics that are now used in cocktails.  In fact there’s even Angostura Bitters advertisements detailing it’s cure and a bottle you’d recognise today, which is regularly used in modern day cocktails!  Information details common bitter ingredients such as dandelion, milk thistle, bitter orange and cherry and what they were used for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Information in the exhibition details the first definition of cocktail appeared in The Balance and Columbian Repository on 13 May 1806.  The editor answered the question, “What is a cocktail? as “cock-tail is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water and bitters – it is vulgarly called bittered sling and is supposed to be an excellent electioneering potion in as much as it renders the heart, stout and bold, at the same time that it fuddles the head.  It is said, also to be of great use to a democratic candidate: because a person, having swallowed a glass of it, is ready to swallow anything else.”

Exhibits detail the use of alcohol in the pharmacy, as medicine, painkiller, sedative, antiseptic and as a vehicle for extracting the active principles from plant and mineral sources.  Pharmacists prepared tinctures, tonics and elixirs using alcohol, in addition to supplying perfumes, distilling scents from fragrant blooms with alcohol in a copper perfume still.  At the museum you can also learn about absinthe, use of horsemint, passionflower and other remedies as hangover cures.  Throughout Prohibition, alcohol was still available in the pharmacy for medicinal use by prescription, and pharmacists continued to compound medicines using alcohol, many cartoons depicting the pharmacies as the new saloons and the pharmacist as the bartender.  The pharmacy soda fountain became a replacement for the barroom as a venue for ‘social camaraderie’.

If you are looking for things to do in New Orleans, then I highly recommend a trip to the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum. It is a short trip and you can still have time to explore the French Quarter, catch happy hour cocktails and enjoy some of New Orlean’s legendary famous gumbo or oysters.  Please check the museums’ website for opening hours, but at time of writing these are Tuesday to Saturday 10 am-4 pm, with a guided tour at 1pm except on Saturdays.  Be sure to check my Instagram for apothecary themed cocktails!

 

We stayed at the Aloft New Orleans Downtown during our stay, which I would recommend, if you want to look for your trip check out Booking.com below.  Want to check out more on New Orleans before you go?  Then I recommend this book Lonely Planet New Orleans (Travel Guide), to find out lots more information.



Booking.com

Cocktail in hand – 2017, a year in review

I’ve been so busy lately I’ve been slacking on the blogging, but hopefully you’ve been following on Instagram!  This week, Facebook did it’s year in review video for me and reminded me of a few things which happened this year, but here’s a highlight for the blog.

NYE eve fireworks at Magic Kingdom
NYE dance party at Italy, Epcot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I started off January 2017 partying at Epcot, Disney World in Florida, USA.  We arrived a few days earlier and saw the NYE fireworks the night before New Years Eve, this was a great tip so to see NYE fireworks in both parks.  Epcot celebrated when it turned midnight in each country and I would definitely do it again, of course the speciality glow cocktails and Grey Goose slush cocktails in France certainly got the party started!

Enjoying the speciality glow cocktail in France, Epcot, NYE
NYE fireworks at Epcot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’d took a trip to Disney World to carry our wedding planning and menu tasting sessions and whilst there enjoyed our favourite theme parks.  After Florida, we flew back to the UK to see friends and family, we’d flew in from Australia via Kuala Lumpur, Thailand and then Germany, so although the flights were getting a bit much, it was lovely to see them for a little longer after being away over a year.  Of course we enjoyed plenty of cocktails with them!

Sydney Harbour Bridge
The Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Later in January, we headed back to Australia.  We spent most of the year in Sydney whilst saving up for our wedding.  Although we managed a few trips such as the Blue Mountains and Jervis Bay.  We enjoyed going to Vivid, tourist attractions, some trance nights and bunny sitting, plus getting a city centre apartment.  For my birthday weekend we enjoyed various cocktails including at the top of the Sydney Eye Tower at 360 Dining and the dry ice skull cocktails at Assembly Bar.  Many more cocktails were of course consumed at the various happy hours I managed to find!!

Birthday cocktails at 360 Dining above Sydney
Working my way through the various skull dry ice cocktails at Assembly Bar, Sydney

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Purple Martini photo at the Tower of Terror Courtyard in Hollywood Studios, courtesy of Misty Miotto Photography 

In October, we headed back to the UK to catch up with family for a quick trip prior to the wedding.  We enjoyed the rest of October and early November in Florida celebrating our Disney World wedding.  Our favourite wedding cocktail was a Bramble for the early evening, and at the after party we had a Purple Martini, a sweet and sour twist on a Cosmopolitan, complete with glow cubes.  Later in the trip we enjoyed various visits to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, a firm must do for my year!  This year it was super fun with our family and friends

 

November also saw us take a trip to New Orleans, were I sampled the famous Grenade cocktail and drank Love Potion No.9 shots in a Vampire Speakeasy.  They helped ease the fact that my unbacked up iPhone broke and I lost all my photos from the last few months.

 

We followed that by a trip to New York, of course many cocktails were consumed there, and I loved checking out the small bars.  Following that we headed back to the UK, were I tested out a few new places.

Today’s view of the Sydney city skyline

 

December sees us just arrive back in Sydney, writing this I have a perfect view of the city skyline complete with the Harbour Bridge.

 

Who knows what 2018 will bring, my life has most definitely become less organised!  But one thing’s for sure, it will certainly involve more cocktails and travel!

 

Darling Harbour happy hour cocktails
Working our way through the Hard Rock happy hour cocktails!