21 December 2012

A Sazerac at The Sazerac: The Official Cocktail of the City of New Orleans - The Sazerac Bar (New Orleans)

 "On June 23, 2008, the House of Representatives in the Louisiana Legislature proclaimed the Sazerac the Official Cocktail of the City of New Orleans, making this community the only city in the United States--and possibly the world--to have a duly legislated official cocktail."1  

Sazerac: The Official Cocktail of the City of New Orleans

The tale begins in 1795 when Monsieur Antoine Peychaud of Haiti came to New Orleans.  He was a pharmacist and set up shop at 123 Royal Street in the French Quarter where he became quite popular with the locals mixing his special cocktail with cognac and his secret family recipe for bitters which he perfected.  By day the he treated people feeling out of sorts with this concoction and by night he served it to his friends.

The Sazerac has had many variations since its inception.  Thomas Handy--American--came along and switched out the cognac or brandy for rye whiskey.  Later, absinthe was used to coat the glass but during Prohibition movement in 1915 it became illegal in the United States.  Luckily in 1934, New Orleanian residents J.M. Legendre and Reginald Parker created Herbsaint as a replacement for the absinthe which is now used in the Sazerac at The Sazerac Bar located in The Roosevelt Hotel New Orleans

The original bar

The Sazerac Bar--formally known as the Fountain Lounge--was and is the place to see and be seen.  It hosted many great people such as the great Huey P. Long, J.P. Morgan, President Teddy Roosevelt and Groucho Marx to name a few.  As soon as you step foot inside you can feel that you are almost stepping back in time.2

On my first visit I pretended to be one of the women participants of "Stormin the Sazerac" back on September 26, 1949.  Before that date the bar was just for the boys.  The Sazerac still celebrates this occasion.

Who runs the world...Girls!
Some other interesting things to note:

Ninas Mural:  You might spot some familiar faces
  • 1939 - Paul Ninas four murals depicting New Orleans life created for the Sazerac Bar which depict
  • 1958 - bar was moved to present location; prior to that it was located in the hotel's present day gift shop
  • 1965 -Fountain Lounge was renamed the Sazerac by Fairmont

How to make the "Official Cocktail" of New Orleans1

Step 1: Start by packing an Old Fashioned glass with ice

Step 2: In another glass add the Rye Whiskey

Step 3: Next add the Peychaud's Bitters

Step 4: Add sugar cube or Simple Syrup and ice and mix well  

Step 5 & 6: Discard the ice from the first glass and coat the glass with Herbsaint.  Pour the whiskey, bitters, sugar mix from second glass into the first glass.

Step 7: Garnish with lemon 

Step 8: Enjoy! 

Other Classic Cocktails available:
  • Dark and Stormy
  • Obituary Cocktail
  • Grasshopper
  • Ramos Ginn Fizz
  • Aviation
  • Manhattan
  • Roffingac
  • Corpse Reviver #2
  • New Classics
All the above cocktails range from $12 - $17.  Be careful, they are a bit strong but New Orleanians wouldn't have it any other way!  

1" Savoring the Sazerac: The History of a Treasured Cocktail" by Tim McNally in The Roosevelt Review
2. Information provided by wall plaques at The Roosevelt Hotel

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