You can’t miss Lu Brow at a cocktail event: just look for the bold lipstick and flaming red hair. Known for her expertise with classic and historic cocktails, Brow is a self-described “bar chef” at Café Adelaide, training staff and building cocktails. Compared to a bartender, who prepares drinks according to recipe, Brow explains, “ a ‘bar chef’ crafts his or her own recipes and prepares fresh juices and mixers.” She describes her cocktail approach as “ classic” above all.
Brow is a beloved fixture in the New Orleans cocktail scene, which she says has “come a long wayin just a few years since Katrina. Cocktail professionals love New Orleans for its history and culture. It’s good to see we now value cocktails in the same way we have valued food forever.”
Looking forward, Brow anticipates more savory drinks and more kitchen-inspired cocktails, as bartenders “look at food professionals for guidance and invention.” She also notes that more wine lovers who might have shunned spirits in the past are now turning a fresh eye toward cocktails.
She advises home bartenders to equip themselves with a “really good” cocktail book, such as those penned by Dale DeGroff, one of Brow’s early mentors. “Read it and study it just as you do your cookbooks from the professionals,” she says. “ Make yourself knowledgeable about bar tools, shakers and strainers. If you take the same care and consideration for your bar at home that you do with your kitchen, you will be a success.”