Jocktails – the Sazerac

Now we all know that Cocktail Hour is 6 o’clock but did they stipulate that it had to be 6pm.

So picture the scene: the Preservation Hall Jazz Band of New Orleans are belting out the tunes.

Before they lead us into the hall, naturally playing When The Saints.

They’ve got gumbo and jambalaya on the tables in front of us.

And there are bartenders fixing Sazeracs.

There is orange juice, coke, water and coffee.

But I’m not having that.

Hustle and bustle of New Orleans. Photo by kendall hoopes on Pexels.com

So a little bit about the Sazerac.

It’s reputed to be the oldest cocktail in the world.

And it is a variation of the Sazerac de Forge et Fils brand of cognac brandy that was its original main ingredient.

These days it’s usually made with rye.

Golden vision: Rye Photo by Prem Pal Singh on Pexels.com

The history bit

The Sazerac Coffee House proprietor Aaron Bird and drinks importer Sewell Taylor are credited with inventing the cocktail in the 1850s.

Our friend Bird made it with Sazerac cognac imported by Taylor.

It was allegedly made with bitters from the local apothecary, Antoine Amedie Peychaud.

The primary ingredient changed from cognac to rye whiskey in the 1870s.

Because there had been a phylloxera  epidemic (to do with grapes) in Europe that devastated the vineyards of France.

Absinthe was banned in the US in 1912… perhaps they had seen what Vincent Van Gogh had done after drinking it.

And it was replaced by various anise-flavored liqueurs, most notably the locally produced Herbsaint.

So you want to see how you make it? Thought you might.

Sweet stuff. Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

How to make it

You’ll need 2 1/2 oz. of rye whisky

One  sugar cube

Two dashes of bitters

A dash of Angostura bitters

Herbsaint (or ask at your off-licence).

lemon peel.

A garnish. Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com


Muddle the sugar cube with a few drops of water in an old-fashioned glass.

Add several small ice cubes and then the rye whiskey and bitters.

Stir well.

Then roll the Herbsaint around a second chilled Old-Fashioned glass until its inside it is thoroughly coated. Pour off the excess.

Strain the contents of the first glass into the second. Garnish with a twist of lemon peel.

It’ll have you singing and dancing.

Visit the Museum of the American Cocktail in New Orleans. https://natfab.org/cocktail-museum and http://www.neworleans.com. And http://www.visitusa.ie

And for a trip down the Old South then may I recommend my series The King of Kings on Tennessee and Mississippi https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-promised-land-martin-luther-king/ https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-story-of-the-blues/ http://The King of Kings.

Just a reminder – your weekly food column too…. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/22/hungry-and-thursday-hamburgers/

And how Sazerac will get you into the New Orleans spirit…

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