Just as New Orleans has the sazerac, the hurricane and the hand grenade and New York City has the Manhattan, Lafayette now has a cocktail to call its own.
The rouler is a cocktail whose recipe provides a clean, simple base for customization and whose name captures what it means to have a good time.
“Rouler” is a French word that means “to roll” and is part of the local catchphrase “Laissez les bons temps rouler!” or “Let the good times roll!”
At the drink’s core is Sweet Crude Rum produced by Lafayette’s own Rank Wildcat Distillery. The rouler is balanced with sweet and sour, simple syrup, bitters and club soda and is served over ice.
David Meaux of Rank Wildcat came up with the idea for an official Lafayette cocktail and worked with Paul Ayo of the local cooking store E’s Kitchen to develop the drink.
“I knew the cocktail should be universally appealing in appearance and taste while also being easily mixed in large batches or by the glass using typical ingredients found behind most bars,” Meaux said. “Further, it needed to be basic enough that it could be easily enhanced by creative bartenders so that theirs could stand out from the pack.”
Once the cocktail had been perfected, Meaux had to find a name that encapsulated everything Lafayette has to offer.
“Rouler!” Meaux exclaimed. “It borrows from the heavily cultural phrase, ‘Laissez les bons temps rouler,’ and it literally rolls off the tongue, being the French word for ‘roll’ and all.”
Meaux worked with the folks behind the local dining campaign Eat Lafayette and its parent organization, Lafayette Travel, to spread the word about his new cocktail. Now, there are 11 restaurants on board, each with bartenders who are making the drink their own.
“We want to promote the rouler in a way that will, over time, infuse it into the DNA of the city,” Meaux says.
You can find the rouler on the menu at Bon Temps Grill, Cafe Vermilionville, Charley G’s, Chef Gregory, Coyote Blues, Dark Roux, Don’s of Lafayette, E’s Kitchen, Jolie’s Louisiana Bistro, Little River Inn, Poor Boy’s Riverside Inn and Social Southern Table & Bar.
You can also make the cocktail for yourself at home. Here’s how!
Yield: one cocktail
– 2 ounces Rank Wildcat Distillery Sweet Crude rum
– 2 ounces sweet and sour (can be purchased in bottle or made by mixing equal parts lemon or lime juice and simple syrup)
– 1/2 ounce simple syrup (make by mixing equal parts sugar and warm water)
– 5 to 10 drops bitters
– 2 ounces club soda
– optional garnishes (such as lemon slice, strawberry, blueberries)
Here’s what to do:
Mix rum, sweet and sour, simple syrup and bitters. Pour over ice. Add soda and stir gently. Garnish with lemon slice, berries or whatever you’d like.