The Sazerac Cocktail

The Sazerac Coffee House (founded in 1850 at 13 Exchange Alley in New Orleans) is long gone, but the splendid Roosevelt Hotel still exists. Lovingly restored after Katrina, its beautiful interior houses the stunning Sazerac Bar (see the picture at the top of that page), where Gov. Huey P. Long once reigned, Ramos Gin Fizz in hand. On the evening of April 10, 2010, I found myself in New Orleans for the first time in my adult life, so I strolled up Canal Street to the Roosevelt and into the bar.

I sat at the bar and ordered (what else?) a Sazerac, reputedly America's first cocktail. I watched the bartender carefully as she prepared it. Then I ordered another and wrote down the recipe on a napkin. I mostly drink gin and various bitter concoctions, like Campari and Fernet Branca; I drink very little whiskey and almost never anything sweet. But this wonderfully complex libation won me over immediately: aromatic from anise, tart from lemon, sweet from sugar, an edge from bitters, and spicy rye whiskey underneath.

When I returned home a few days later, I sought out the ingredients and started making my own. It takes a little time, but it's definitely worth it.





See also

While writing this page, I found Chuck Taggert's lovely Sazerac page. A Google images Sazerac bar search brings up some interesting pictures, both current and historic.