Our favorite local beverage: the venerable Sazerac. A storied drink, it’s been named by the Louisiana Legislature as the official cocktail of New Orleans. If you’re not familiar with it, here goes: generally made with 2 ounces Rye whiskey, three dashes Peychaud’s Bitters, one sugar cube or one teaspoon simple syrup, and a splash, or smear, really, of absinthe or Herbsaint.
New Orleans invention, named, according to Wikipedia, after the cognac that was its original ingredient, Sazerac-de-Forge et Fils. It was first served around 1850 at The Merchants Exchange Coffee House, and it included Peychaud’s Bitters, a concoction A invented by a pharmacist named Antoine Peychaud. The recipe for the drink first appeared in print in 1908. Absinthe was replaced by New Orleans’ own Herbsaint liqueur when that reputed bad boy, absinthe, vanished from the United States market. It’s fun to watch the professionals at the Sazerac Bar in the Roosevelt Hotel perform the ceremony of mixing: the slight swirl of Herbsaint that coats the inside of the first old fashioned glass, after pouring out the ice; the muddling of bitters over the sugar cube; the elegant twist of lemon peel perched on the rim of the glass.
We’ll drink a toast to the city that has its own official cocktail!