Matthew's Foray into Blogging

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Sazerac Cocktail

I am the fool of whom they speak of parting with his money. I recently developed an interest in trying a Sazerac cocktail. The Sazerac is among the oldest cocktails. It was created by Antoine Peychaud, a New Orleans apothecary, in the 1830’s. Bitters originally were used for medicinal purposes. The libation that came to be called the Sazerac cocktail evolved into the following recipe.

1 lump sugar
3 drops Peychaud’s bitters
2 ounces rye or bourbon whiskey
Splash Herbsaint or anise flavored liqueur
1 strip lemon peel

Fill a small old-fashioned glass with cracked ice and set aside. In another small old-fashioned glass, put the lump of sugar and just enough water to moisten it. With a spoon, crush the sugar, then add the Peychaud’s bitters, Angostura bitters, whiskey, and several ice cubes. Stir. Never use a shaker. Empty the first glass of ice, add the Herbsaint or anise flavored liqueur, twirl the glass around to coat the sides, and pour out most of what remains. Strain the whiskey mixture into the glass, twist the lemon peel, and serve immediately.

My curiosity got the best of me, and I went out and bought the ingredients for the Sazerac cocktail. Liquor is not cheap.

I, of course, never pour out any of the Herbsaint. If there is more than an insubstantial amount, I just drink it. Some recipes call for the inclusion of Angostura bitters, but I prefer to omit that ingredient, as Angostura bitters are present in nearly every cocktail that includes bitters; instead I allow the Peychaud’s bitters to shine. Even though rye whiskey is supposed to be traditional, I used Maker’s Mark, which, though pricey, is not too expensive for a small batch bourbon.

I found this to be a most enjoyable cocktail. The Peychaud’s bitters and the Herbsaint are detectable, but not overwhelming. The bitters add a slight sweetness and have a faint aroma of licorice, to me, and the Herbsaint, predictably, contributes an anise-y warmth. The water from the melted ice diminishes the straight alcohol flavor. Although I am limiting my consumption of Sazerac cocktails to at most one a day, I may need to go drop some more cash for another bottle of whiskey soon.


  • After reading that, I want one, too.

    By Blogger Ashley, at 7:09 PM, July 11, 2006  

  • I hear the word "Bitters" and my mouth instantly thinks of cough medicine. This is not a good thing since it tastes nothing like that and prevents me from enjoying yummie cocktails like these.

    By Blogger minijonb, at 2:45 PM, July 12, 2006  

  • Bitters ≠ cough syrup.

    One probably could not easily come by a bar stocked with these cocktail components. Or a bartender who is willing and able to assemble a classic cocktail. I was conversing with a bartender at a local drinking establishment, the identity of which shall remain undisclosed, and his comments confirmed the scarcity of the classic cocktail. Fresh oranges? Fresh mint? Muddler? He was glad for the vast array of flavored liquors. Understandable. I guess. That is one reason I prefer to drink alone. I mean - at home.

    By Blogger Matthew, at 7:20 PM, July 12, 2006  

  • If bitters are cough syrup, bring on the tuburculosis. Hell, in addition to being a required ingredient in most cocktails, I've begun asking for a shot of Angostura as a back for my beer.
    Hard to find anything other than Peychaud and Angostura behind the bar. Occasionally I see Fee Brothers, but I've had to resort to sometimes carrying my own. You can get almost all there is available at LeNell's Wine and Sprits, in Brooklyn, don't know about availability outside New York.

    By Blogger tfistano, at 1:24 PM, August 15, 2006  

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