What is a Sazerac drink in New Orleans?

Answered by Joseph Earl

A Sazerac is a classic cocktail that is closely associated with the city of New Orleans. It is a smooth and powerful drink that is typically made with , Peychaud's bitters, Herbsaint, and sugar. Served straight up in an Old Fashioned glass and topped with a lemon peel, the Sazerac is a classy and timeless that can be enjoyed in various establishments across the Crescent City.

The Sazerac has a rich history that dates back to the early 19th century. It is believed to be one of the oldest known in America, with its roots tracing back to a pharmacy in New Orleans. The drink was originally made with , but the phylloxera epidemic in the late 1800s led to the substitution of rye whiskey as the base spirit.

One of the key ingredients in a Sazerac is Peychaud's bitters. These bitters were created by Antoine Amédée Peychaud, a Creole apothecary, who used them as a medicinal tonic. The distinct flavor of Peychaud's bitters adds a unique and aromatic twist to the Sazerac, giving it a depth of flavor that sets it apart from other cocktails.

Another important component of the Sazerac is Herbsaint, a type of anise-flavored . Herbsaint is used to rinse the glass before the rest of the ingredients are added, imparting a subtle hint of licorice to the drink. This step is essential in creating an authentic Sazerac and adds to the overall complexity of the cocktail.

To make a Sazerac, the sugar is typically muddled with a few dashes of Peychaud's bitters in an Old Fashioned glass. Then, the rye whiskey is added and stirred to dissolve the sugar. The glass is then rinsed with Herbsaint to coat the inside before the whiskey mixture is poured in. Finally, a lemon peel is expressed over the drink to release its oils and then used as a garnish.

While the classic Sazerac recipe remains the most common, variations of the drink can be found throughout New Orleans. Some establishments may use different types of whiskey, such as or even a combination of rye and . Additionally, some bartenders may add a dash of Angostura bitters or absinthe to give their Sazerac a personal touch.

The Sazerac is not just a cocktail, but a symbol of New Orleans' rich cultural heritage and cocktail history. It embodies the spirit of the city and its love for well-crafted libations. Whether enjoyed in a historic bar, a trendy speakeasy, or a local watering hole, the Sazerac offers a taste of tradition and a glimpse into the vibrant cocktail culture of New Orleans.