Sunday, March 8, 2015

Sazerac Cocktail

A Sazerac cocktail is supposed to be the oldest mixed drink recipe in the US, and hails from New Orleans... which interestingly enough, also has the oldest bar (mid 1700's) in the US, Lafitte's Blacksmith Bar on Bourbon Street. Picture below.... kind of a cool old building, and especially fun at night, when it is only lit with candles. A tiny bit creepy too, which adds to the fun. 

I've been seeing these Sazerac cocktails all over the place on bar menus in Seattle, but had never ordered one, so I was eager to try to make one at home to see what the big deal was.

Well, the big deal is YUM.  
You need to try these, it's got a bunch of flavors and a great little sipping drink.  This recipe is simple, but takes some ingredients that you may not have on hand.  I must admit I had to order the special bitters on Amazon and have them delivered, but I bet you can find them at a fancy liquor store. Absinthe is now available at most big liquor stores too, it's a licorice flavored aromatic liqueur.

I wondered about the differences between the old stand by bitters- Angostura and the Peychauds.  I was tempted to make it with the Angostura bitters I had on hand... but I'm glad I didn't.  Here's what I have been able to determine about the differences, but I really, really like the Peychauds bitters and I will use them for more drinks soon:
  • Peychauds- Moderately sweeter than Angostura. Slightly fruity. Hints of Christmas spices and anise. 
  • Angostura-  As an aromatic bitter, the base flavor is a bitter root. A secret recipe, so no one knows for sure what's in it.  Flavors you might encounter are clove, tamarind, and cinnamon. 
It's traditional to use a sugar cube in this cocktail, but I rarely (if ever) keep a box of sugar cubes hanging about, so I suggest a simple syrup instead.  Recipe?  1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 water- bring to a boil in a small sauce pan, thicken a little bit and cool.  Adds a nice "body", or mouth feel from the syrup thickness, to the drink and more simple than running to the store for sugar cubes!

Makes 1, but I recommend doubling it and sharing with a friend

Makes 1 

2 oz rye whiskey
1 Tbsp simple syrup, or 1 sugar cube and 1-2 tsp water
Absinthe, just enough to coat the inside of the glass, (about 1 Tbsp)
3 dashes Peychaud's Bitter (Not angostura bitters)
Lemon Peel Twist

Freeze your glasses for about 5 minutes
Meanwhile, cut lemon twists and fill a cocktail shaker with ice.

Take the frozen glasses out of the freezer and add about 1 Tbsp of absinthe, swirl to coat the inside of the glass, pour any extra into another glass, or save for your next round.  DO NOT leave the absinthe in the cocktail, the beautiful subtlety of this cocktail is a small taste of this, not a bunch.
Add the rye whiskey, the simple syrup and the bitters to the shaker.  Shake a couple times and strain into the glasses.  Gently twist the lemon peel, releasing the "spray" of oils.

Enjoy at once.

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