Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

ThinkingBartender

The Sazerac Cocktail

Recommended Posts

Ordering spirits and wine from out of state is legal in Texas at any rate though, just a heads-up. I had no problem getting three bottles of absinthe and one of creme de violette from Liqueurs de France.

-Andy

Wrong thread to continue this, probably, but I think only wine and beer are legal to order from out of state. Spirits, AFAIK, are not. I've never been able to get anyone, no matter where else they ship, to ship here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ordering spirits and wine from out of state is legal in Texas at any rate though, just a heads-up. I had no problem getting three bottles of absinthe and one of creme de violette from Liqueurs de France.

-Andy

Wrong thread to continue this, probably, but I think only wine and beer are legal to order from out of state. Spirits, AFAIK, are not. I've never been able to get anyone, no matter where else they ship, to ship here.

Very curious, I've had little or no problem ordering things from California. PM me if you'd like details on who I ordered from.

-Andy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi all,

Not sure if we covered this already, but how did the ritual of throwing the glass up in the air shouting "sazerac" come to be?

Was it purely showmanship, or were there other factors?

Cheers....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A curveball from the archives:

The New Orleans Daily Picayune, February 2, 1843, p.2

The Sunday Mercury says that if you are at a hotel, and wish to call for a beverage compounded of brandy, sugar, absynthe, bitters and ice, called by the vulgar a cocktail, ask for une queue de chanticleer—it will be an evidence at once of your knowledge of French and of Chesterfield.

[Transcribed by David Wondrich, October 2008]

With that "absynthe," this cocktail sounds awfully like a (brandy) Sazerac, no? But here's the thing: there was no New Orleans Sunday Mercury--as far as I can determine, the newspaper that this item was cribbed from would have to be the weekly New York Sunday Mercury, a sporting paper with a national reputation that was founded in 1839 (the almost-as-famous Philadelphia Sunday Mercury wasn’t founded until 1850). So it appears that the swells in New York were drinking something very much like the Sazerac seven years before the Sazerac Coffee House even opened.

Curioser and curioser.

P.S. That "Chesterfield" reference is to the 18th-century Lord Chesterfield, who laid out the rules of polite behavior.


Edited by Splificator (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A curveball from the archives:

The New Orleans Daily Picayune, February 2, 1843, p.2

The Sunday Mercury says that if you are at a hotel, and wish to call for a beverage compounded of brandy, sugar, absynthe, bitters and ice, called by the vulgar a cocktail, ask for une queue de chanticleer—it will be an evidence at once of your knowledge of French and of Chesterfield.

[Transcribed by David Wondrich, October 2008]

With that "absynthe," this cocktail sounds awfully like a (brandy) Sazerac, no? But here's the thing: there was no New Orleans Sunday Mercury--as far as I can determine, the newspaper that this item was cribbed from would have to be the weekly New York Sunday Mercury, a sporting paper with a national reputation that was founded in 1839 (the almost-as-famous Philadelphia Sunday Mercury wasn’t founded until 1850). So it appears that the swells in New York were drinking something very much like the Sazerac seven years before the Sazerac Coffee House even opened.

Curioser and curioser.

P.S. That "Chesterfield" reference is to the 18th-century Lord Chesterfield, who laid out the rules of polite behavior.

Helluva find! Perhaps it was the use of Peychaud's bitters that put the New Orleans stamp on it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm curious with the new Bond film if we'll start seeing jack daniel's "sazeracs" next to the cosmos on the menus :(

One of my favorite drinks, and sadly, I usually get that confused-go-look-in a-not-even-a-mr.-boston-guide look if I try to order one at a place I think can make one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm curious with the new Bond film if we'll start seeing jack daniel's "sazeracs" next to the cosmos on the menus :(

One of my favorite drinks, and sadly, I usually get that confused-go-look-in a-not-even-a-mr.-boston-guide look if I try to order one at a place I think can make one.

Just saw the film, and there was nary a Sazerac to be found. Bond drank two fingers of whiskey, white wine, 6 Vespers, and a bit of beer. That's it. I did see the bit in the Guardian, so I wonder if there's a separate scene in the overseas version, or a scene left on the cutting room floor since earlier previews.


Edited by jmfangio (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

yeah, I might have jumped the gun. I googled around for bonds new "drink" and it kept coming up with Sazerac....got all heated for nothing! went to the cocktail bar before-hand, prepared to karate chop, but after seeing it, the only cocktail that really stood out was the vesper.

http://www.cookthink.com/blog/?p=1466

Phew. Thank heavens. I thought we lost it there for a second...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am puzzled by a technicality of Sazerac making.

Sazeracs are a simple 9 step process for me:

1) ice a rocks glass.

2) add Sugar, water, (or simple syrup) and bitters to mixing glass. stir to dissolve/combine.

3) add booze to mixing glass. stir.

4) add ice to sugar, bitters, and booze mixture. stir to chill.

5) empty ice and water from serving glass.

6) add absinthe or absinthe-a-like to serving glass. swirl to coat.

7) dump out absinthe.

8) strain booze mixture into serving glass.

9) squeeze lemon peel over cocktail and discard.

I see a lot of folks adding the absinthe to the ice and water mixture they are using to chill the serving glass.

It seems like this leaves almost no absinthe flavor in the glass after the ice is dumped.

Or is that the idea?

oops, typos.


Edited by eje (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With the relatively cheap substitutes that were available before the reintroduction of absinthe, filling the serving glass with crushed ice and a splash of pastis to chill it while preparing the drink was a good time-saving tip, and left plenty of the relevant flavor behind once the ice was dumped. With the availability of the far more expensive Absinthe, this is no longer cost-effective and since inexpensive absinthe is 3x the cost of most high-quality pastis, it's very wasteful of ingredients. Behind a bar, the time savings add up way faster than the loss of 1/2 oz of pastis, but at home I'm not sure why you would ever want to do this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The easiest way to get around all of these problems (cost as well as time) is to do what a number of NYC cocktail pars do and mist the inside of the glass with absinthe from an atomizer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The easiest way to get around all of these problems (cost as well as time) is to do what a number of NYC cocktail pars do and mist the inside of the glass with absinthe from an atomizer.

Of course, although there was a time when Veritas was not equipped with such fancy accoutremon as an atomizer :cool:

I suspect other places still suffer the same deficiency.


Edited by thirtyoneknots (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I finally mixed a Sazarac with absinthe (Lucid) instead of my usual Herbsaint last week. I had even taken the time to freeze the serving glass, which gave a nice frosted effect to the green tint of the absinthe rinse. I shook the booze by accident (rather preoccupied with three small children whooping it up in the living room, hence the dire need for a cocktail), which introduced an interesting if heretical lightness to the first sips, along with too much water.

I would like to say with conviction that the absinthe provided a depth of flavor lacking in the Herbsaint, except for another unintentionally introduced variable -- in my haste to locate bottles in a dim room, I grabbed a bottle of Highland Park instead of the Rittenhouse, and didn't realize it until the next morning, when daylight revealed my error.

I can say it was an exceptionally smooth drink, probably a waste of good scotch, and has made me insist on making Sazaracs for everyone at our next dinner party so I can practice getting it right.

Yojimbo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Absinthe Atomizer: Green vaseline glass, bulb sprayer with a tassel . . .

Pifff. Pifff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I am puzzled by a technicality of Sazerac making.

I see a lot of folks adding the absinthe to the ice and water mixture they are using to chill the serving glass.

It seems like this leaves almost no absinthe flavor in the glass after the ice is dumped.

Or is that the idea?

oops, typos.

Yeah, I used to add my absinthe to the ice and water as well, but have since moved to chilling my rocks glass in the freezer first and then misting the inside with absinthe just before straining the cocktail. Makes for a much better final product.

I have since been making my Sazerac per Toby's recipe and have found it to be about as good as I've found:

2 oz Old Overholdt

¼ oz Demerara Syrup (2 parts Demerara Sugar to 1 part water)

3 dash Peychauds Bitters

Stir above ingredients together with ice. Then mist a well-chilled rocks glass with Herbsaint (or substitute Absente, Pernod or Ricard). Strain above ingredients into chilled glass and spray with lemon oil. Rub the rim with lemon and then discard lemon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have since been making my Sazerac per Toby's recipe and have found it to be about as good as I've found:

2 oz Old Overholdt

¼ oz Demerara Syrup (2 parts Demerara Sugar to 1 part water)

3 dash Peychauds Bitters

Stir above ingredients together with ice.  Then mist a well-chilled rocks glass with Herbsaint (or substitute Absente, Pernod or Ricard).  Strain above ingredients into chilled glass and spray with lemon oil.  Rub the rim with lemon and then discard lemon.

That's more or less the canonical recipe, streamlined for bar service (omitting all the business about using a second serving glass to mix the drink in). The only part that I might disagree with there is that most sources would have you use 1/2 to 2/3 that amount of sugar (or even less), especially in an all-booze cocktail with rich syrups where it makes a drink really sweet, really fast. Remember that 2:1 syrups are approximately the same sugar content as an equal amount of loose sugar. Of course this type of minutiae is what discussion boards are for.

Me? I like something between 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp of rich syrup, trending to less for most cognac or milder ryes like Sazerac 6.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I recently picked up some gum arabic and made a rich demerara gomme syrup, and it's fabulous in a Sazerac (and mighty fine in an Improved Holland's Cocktail as well). It just brings a lovely silkiness and mouth feel to these drinks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I recently picked up some gum arabic and made a rich demerara gomme syrup, and it's fabulous in a Sazerac (and mighty fine in an Improved Holland's Cocktail as well).  It just brings a lovely silkiness and mouth feel to these drinks.

This is the primary reason I like the demerara syrup in this drink so much. There is just something about the combination of its richness and mouth feel with the Old Overholt (specifically) that I absolutely love. And to be honest, it really doesn't change the flavor or the sweetness as much as one would think. I also thought it would impart a heavy molasses-like finish, but that's just not the case. I know this isn't the most traditional recipe (without the sugar cube). But you sure can tell the difference in the final product, which is (to me) the best Sazerac I've had.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was looking through my old Time-Life Foods of the World volume on spirits and wines, published 1968, and ran across this curious recipe for a "Sazerac (or Zazarac)":

  • 3 oz bourbon or blended whiskey
  • 1/2 t bar sugar
  • 1 cube ice
  • lemon peel
  • 5 "drops" Peychaud
  • 3 "drops Ojen (Spanish absinthe) or substitute Pernod

[paraphrasing the recipe except for the quoted portion for copyright reasons]

Here are the instructions:

Place the whiskey and sugar in an old-fashioned glass and stir with a bar spoon to dissolve the sugar. Add the ice cube and lemon peel, and top with the bitters and absinthe or Pernod. Stir briefly.

Can I assume that "drop" means dash?

Like all the recipes in this old book, it's stiff as hell. 3 ounces of booze is nothing to toy with.

So here is what I find curious (other than the method):

It calls specifically for Ojen. Most people may not know this anise flavored liquor. It's Spanish. As far as I know, they stopped making it years ago, but you can still find it on the shelves of nearly every liquor store in New Orleans. The carnival krewe Rex drinks an Ojen cocktail. Galatoire's serves a ton of them. John Besh put an Ojen cocktail on the menu at his brasserie Luke. I've heard that a local distributor ordered one last, giant run of the stuff before the Spanish company ceased production.

I'd love to know how it came to be so popular here.

These days, most recipes call for Herbsaint. Could it be, though, that Ojen was a more common ingredient. Any thoughts?

And given that the recipe calls for an obscure but common in New Orleans ingredient, perhaps the method reflects how Sazeracs were commonly prepared in New Orleans in the mid-20th century?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you like this topic, you might enjoy "Hootch."

Features like the Daily Gullet are made possible with the generous support of eGullet Society donors. If you're not already a Society donor, please read about becoming one here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is a uTube post with a good tutorial:

Note that Peychaud was an Apothecary and concocted the Sazerac as a medicinal hair of the dog, a hangover cure for absinthe imbibers. He would not have dumped out the absinthe wash. Herbsaint is not an anagram of absinthe, it is a word for the wormwood plant, and means holy (sacred) herb.


Edited by Argol (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, I just noticed both you and Luis at Little Branch gently place the lemon peel across the rim, as you pictured above. Why?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, I just noticed both you and Luis at Little Branch gently place the lemon peel across the rim, as you pictured above. Why?

I'm just a copycat (I was replicating the photo from Sam Ross' Bartender's Choice app), but essentially it gives people an option - they can choose to add it to the cocktail or not. I tried mine without the lemon peel, then with, and found out that I actually prefer it without. Next time I will just discard it after expressing the oils. But if I make a Sazerac with another rye I am sure I make this experiment again...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×