The Sazerac, which some say is America’s first cocktail, was invented by Antoine Peychaud, a Creole pharmacist, in the 1830’s. The original contained Brandy (some argue Cognac), Absinthe, and the Apothecary’s secret bitters, which now bear his name. Sazerac lovers all have their own recipe which they think is the best, which is ridiculous, because mine is the best. My buddy Tom also shakes a great Sazerac, he uses Wild Turkey Rye 101. In addition to recipe, an equally ferocious debate, is which bar in New Orleans has the best. I’m sure the locals may know better, but I think a great one is at the Fairmount Hotel’s, Sazerac Bar. The Fairmont Hotel, which was the Roosevelt until 1965, was owned by Seymour Weiss, friend of former Governor and later Senator Huey P. Long, who set up shop in the hotel. Anyway, they make a very good Sazerac, as well as their famous Ramos Gin Fizz, but that’s another post. It is a great little bar to relax and sample some of the fine cocktails of New Orleans. I haven’t yet heard the state of the Fairmont post Katrina.
Great places for a Sazerac on Bourbon are the Desire Oyster Bar (recently re-opened) or Felix’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar, and of course Galatoire’s. Galatoire’s makes a Sazerac, as well as what they call a Galatoire’s Special which they mix the same, but substitute Bourbon for the Rye.
Peychaud’s bitters can be difficult to find in the Detroit area but I managed to locate a few places that carry it. Herbsaint, I’ve only found in New Orleans, not too much different than Pernod, but it’s 90 proof as opposed to Pernod’s 80 proof, plus its cheaper, and from New Orleans (My Herbsaint supply is dangerously low right now.) Here is my recipe, keep in mind, mine is a tad sweeter, and heavier on the Peychaud’s than some. That’s why it is called My Recipe:
My Sazerac Cocktail Recipe
2 oz. Rye Whiskey (I use Jim Beam Rye, or Wild Turkey Rye 101; You could also substitute Bourbon, as Commander’s Palace does!)
8 dashes Peychaud Bitters
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
1 Tablespoon Simple Syrup (equal parts sugar and water/cooked until the sugar disolves)
about 1/4 ounce Herbsaint or Pernod.
1 Lemon Twist
Chill an old fashioned glass. Combine the Rye, bitters and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well. Rub the rim of the glass with the lemon peel, then coat the inside of the glass with the Herbsaint, pour out the excess. Add the mix to the glass, twist the lemon peel and drop it in. Enjoy!
Makes 1 Cocktail.
Here is where you can get Peychaud’s by mail order:
If you have a high-end liquor store in your area, they will probably carry them. Although you can substitute Pernod for the Herbsaint, Peychaud’s are a must.