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The Classic Sazerac

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Introduction

In the world of mixology, few cocktails boast a history as rich and storied as the Sazerac. This iconic drink hails from the vibrant city of New Orleans, a place renowned for its jazz, Creole cuisine, and, of course, cocktails. The Sazerac is often regarded as one of the original American cocktails, with roots that date back to the early 19th century.

Historical Context

To truly appreciate the Sazerac, it’s essential to delve into its fascinating history. The cocktail’s birth can be traced to the 1830s when Antoine Amédée Peychaud, a New Orleans apothecary, started mixing his own bitters. He used these aromatic bitters as a key ingredient in a new cocktail he crafted and served in an egg-shaped cup called a “coquetier” in French. Over time, this term morphed into “cocktail.”

In 1850, the Sazerac Coffee House in New Orleans began serving this concoction, and it was soon dubbed the “Sazerac.” This name change was due to the use of Sazerac de Forge et Fils Cognac as the original base spirit. However, due to a shortage of cognac in the late 19th century, rye whiskey became the default choice.

Today, the Sazerac stands as a symbol of the Big Easy, representing the spirit and history of New Orleans. Without further ado, let’s dive into crafting this classic cocktail.

Preparation

  1. Begin by placing a sugar cube in the mixing glass.
  2. Add three dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters and one dash of Angostura Bitters to the glass.
  3. Muddle the sugar cube with the bitters until it dissolves, creating a syrupy mixture.
  4. Add 2 oz of rye whiskey to the glass, along with a few ice cubes.
  5. Stir the mixture well using a bar spoon until it’s properly chilled and diluted, which should take around 30 seconds.
  6. In a separate Old-fashioned glass, rinse it with absinthe or Herbsaint. To do this, pour a small amount of absinthe or Herbsaint into the glass, swirl it around to coat the inside, and discard the excess.
  7. Strain the chilled mixture from the mixing glass into the prepared Old-fashioned glass.
  8. Express the oils from a lemon peel by holding it over the glass, skin side down, and giving it a good twist. Rub the rim of the glass with the peel for an extra burst of citrus aroma.
  9. Garnish the cocktail with the twisted lemon peel, and serve immediately.

Conclusion

The Sazerac, with its rich history and complex flavor profile, is a cocktail that stands the test of time. It’s a symbol of New Orleans’ enduring spirit and a drink that should be savored slowly to appreciate its depth of character. Whether you’re enjoying it in the heart of the French Quarter or mixing one up at home, the Sazerac is a timeless classic that deserves a place in every cocktail enthusiast’s repertoire. So, raise your glass to the Sazerac and the vibrant culture of New Orleans it represents. Cheers!

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prep time
5 minutes
cooking time
Not applicable
servings
1
total time
5 minutes

Equipment

  • Mixing glass

  • Julep strainer

  • Old-fashioned glass

  • Bar spoon

  • Peeler for lemon peel

  • Ice cubes

  • Absinthe spoon (optional)

Ingredients

  • 2 oz rye whiskey

  • 1 sugar cube

  • 3 dashes Peychauds Bitters

  • 1 dash Angostura Bitters

  • Absinthe or Herbsaint

  • Lemon peel

  • Ice

Instructions

1
Muddle sugar, bitters.
2
Add rye, ice, stir.
3
Rinse glass with absinthe.
4
Strain, garnish with lemon.
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