‘We knew this day was coming’, let’s drink…

This blog is not for politic but what happen today wasn’t politic but it was Federal Trespassing, Federal Destruction of Property, Conspiracy to Commit Terrorism and assault with a deadly weapon and more….what a day in the US in 2021…

It sickens me to say this, but the difference is that the protesters for BLM didn’t actually pose a threat to the police. From a purely pragmatic standpoint, meeting non-violent protesters with violence is a good way to disperse the crowd. Meeting violent, potentially armed individuals with violence is a good way to escalate violence. It’s fucked up, and these people should face justice, especially in the light of this summer’s events, but there is a tactical consideration to why they have not fired tear gas and rubber bullets yet. It’s because when cops start shooting and protesters start shooting back, it’s like trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube. Still, I’m pretty sure that there would be mass slaughter if BLM did exactly what they did.

Enough about today, let’s drink..drink, drink so we can all forget…..my favorite stress cocktail: Sazeracs for All!

I’m going to try not to upset all my bartender friends, so this is the way I make it @home (so suck it!)

[Charles] Sazerac

2 ounces Rye Whiskey (Sazerac 6-year or Rittenhouse 100º)
1/4 ounce Demerara Simple Syrup (1:1)
3-4 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters

Absinthe spritz (use Pernod or Herbsaint  if necessary)
Lemon peel

Chill a rocks glass, preferably for 10 minutes or more in a freezer. Combine the whiskey, syrup, and bitters in a mixing glass, add lots of ice (which is as cold and dry as possible), and stir. With an atomizer, spritz the chilled rocks glass with absinthe 5 or 6 times, coating the sides and bottom of the glass. Strain the whiskey mixture into the glass, then express the oils of a lemon peel into the drink. Rub the rim with the peel, then discard it (some like the peel in the drink, so be sure to ask).

The recipe above is fairly traditional, but die-hard imbibers of Sazeracs will probably spot the differences. Many recipes call for chilling your serving glass with crushed ice (a “frappéd” glass) and mixing the drink in a second rocks glass, not a full-sized mixing glass. I get the sense that this was really just to save time behind the bar — in fact, as Wondrich reports, it was decidedly common to use “small bar glasses” for mixing. Regardless of how it’s done, both the drink and the serving glass should be chilled.

Second, sticklers for tradition use a sugar cube —  demerara or turbinado, if possible — for the sweetener, which is muddled in the mixing glass with a little bit of water. But I like my Sazeracs to be smooth, hence the syrup. I would say that a rich syrup wouldn’t hurt, and in fact may be an improvement because of the silky mouthfeel it provides.

Thirdly, many simply rinse the glass with an absinthe substitute and dump the excess. I find that the absinthe or pastis tends to settle in the glass, so I prefer to use an atomizer for a more effective coating. Plus, I like the way the atomizer makes an absinthe vapor, producing a heady anise aroma that tends to spread around the room..a simple rinse just seems to sit there, relatively idle.

On the ingredients: yes, the Sazerac was originally made with cognac, which makes a wonderfully smooth drink (as opposed to the rough and powerful, yet delicious, bonded Rittenhouse). Use a nice fruity cognac with some character — I like Camus VSOP, though I’ve read that Pierre Ferrand 1840 works quite well, being in the style of cognacs produced in its namesake year.

As for the history of the Sazerac :

  • The Sazerac is not the first cocktail, nor was the first cocktail mixed in New Orleans, despite the claims of S.C. Arthur and the city itself. There is no definite, written record of the Sazerac before 1908 (in William Boothby’s supplemented version of The World’s Drinks and How to Mix Them) because it’s really just a whiskey cocktail made with Peychaud’s bitters and “improved” with absinthe, and you’d be able to order such a drink just about anywhere in the late 1800s.
  • The name almost definitely comes from the cognac made by Sazerac-de-Forge et fils of Limoges, France, once one of the most plentifully imported cognacs in New Orleans. The drink was probably first mixed at the Sazerac House, which started life as the “Merchants Exchange Coffee House” under Sewell Taylor in 1850. Either Taylor or a man named John B. Schiller was the local distributor for Sazerac cognac. Some time later it was sold to Aaron Bird, becoming the “Sazerac Coffee-house,”  the only brandy served at the bar being Sazerac. Under Thomas H. Handy, the name was changed to “Sazerac House” in in 1869 or 1870, but the bar did not survive Prohibition — it was closed down and demolished. The bar was survived by Handy’s recipe, recorded in Boothby’s aforementioned book, and by the bar at The Roosevelt, which adopted the name of the Sazerac Bar in 1949.
  • Sazerac cognac mysteriously disappeared from the drink at some point; the company was likely wiped out by the phylloxera “plague” in the 1870s. According to S.C. Arthur, Handy preferred Maryland Club rye whiskey as a replacement for the vanished cognac. Rye was also more readily available than fancy imported cognac and the American palate was more accustomed to whiskey, it seems, so rye became the new standard for the Sazerac in the 1870s.
  • The dash of absinthe is credited to Leon Lamothe, who was mixing drinks at the Seignouret Mansion on Royal Street in 1858and at Pina’s Restaurant on Burgundy Street in 1870. Many bartenders and clientele were experimenting with dashes of absinthe in their cocktails around this time. To add absinthe to a cognac or rye cocktail made with Peychaud’s Bitters (made down the street since 1830) required little effort in America’s Paris, and so it became part of the tradition.

Well, there you have it! The Sazerac in a nutshell (or rather, an old-fashioned glass).

Let’s forget today, Cheers!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *