The Sazerac

by Will on August 13, 2011

[Imagine a nice photo here!]

1 1/2 oz. rye whisky

1 sugar cube

several dashes Peychaud’s bitters

1 swish of absinthe

Muddle the sugar and bitters in a mixing glass, add whisky, and stir on ice. Swish a small amount of absinthe in an old-fashioned glass, just enough to coat the walls. Strain the drink into the glass, garnish with an orange peel.

The Sazerac is the New Orleans version of the old-fashioned cocktail, and was served at Antoine Peychaud’s hotel in that city throughout the nineteenth century.

Absinthe is expensive and probably hard to find outside of the cosmopole, so it may be more practical to replace it with Pernod, Herbsaint, or another pastis. The history of the rise, fall, and rebirth of absinthe is interesting and instructive. Absinthe became so popular in fin de siecle France that it began to rival wine in its sales. The French wine industry thus lobbied to have it banned and, on the basis of completely fictitious stories claiming that absinthe caused insanity, they succeeded. This ban spread to other countries, and was both a precursor and a twin to the Prohibition that the United States attempted a few years later. But in recent years entrepreneurs have discovered that there were huge holes in the ban the entire time and, a mere century later and with no changes to the law, have resumed production of the product on a completely legal basis. Pernod, Herbsaint and the rest are the ghosts of absinthe that arose when it became illegal: anise-flavored liqueurs that are more cheaply produced and lack any particular complexity.

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