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stiffchainey

Sazerac. Some essential questions.

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stiffchainey

Hi all!

Is the "Sazerac" really the first american cocktail?

And how is the original recipe?

Are all the original ingredients still available today?

Where is the big difference to an old fashioned?

I can't find anything really informative on the web, so it would be nice if you could help my out a bit!

Cheers

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whiskeyobsessive

Not sure if the first, but was made around the 1830s in New Orleans. First recorded by Thomas H. Handy when he owned the Sazerac House. Authorship is sometimes also attributed to Antoine Peychaud (of the bitters). The difference to an old fashioned is the addition of Absinthe or Pastis. The recipe is unchanged (though I like to add angostura bitters as well):

Makes 1 cocktail

1 tablespoon Herbsaint

1 1/2 ounces rye whiskey, preferably Old Overholt or Sazerac rye

1/2 teaspoon simple syrup

4 to 5 dashes Peychaud's bitters

1 lemon twist with the white pith removed, for garnish

You put ice and Herbsaint into one OF glass and swirl it around. Make the rest of the drink (minus the lemon) in a second OF glass. Throw out the ice and herbsaint, leaving you with a cooled and Herbsaint-rinsed glass. Pour contents of the second OF glass into the first and garnish.

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squire

As an historical note Sven the original Sazeracl recipe called for brandy rather than whisky. Eventually the brandy was replaced by rye.

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stiffchainey

Thanks so much!

I'm trying to write a blog entry for the german folks interested in bourbon on my blog, and especially cocktails, the oldschool way.

So I wanted to start with the Sazerac, then on to the Mint Julep and so on ...

Again, thank you!

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squire

Not to jump too far ahead but you mentioned Julep. It's really a style rather than a specific drink, Jack Daniels, founder of the distillery of that name, liked his julep made with basil rather than mint.

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tanstaafl2

I suggest that a read of Professor Wondrich's book Imbibe might prove informative. His chapter on cocktails and crustas devotes quite some pages to the history of the cocktail and in his opinion the first American cocktail was indeed just that, the "Cock tail", that first appeared in print in the early 1800's (see page 177). This was long before the term cocktail came to mean most any distilled spirits drink and is now most closely related to what we call the "Old Fashioned" today (the "Old Fashioned" name meaning the old fashioned cocktail).

The Sazerac is also discussed but was not in his opinion the first Cocktail which he states rather emphatically on page 200.

His opinion of course but one that is generally well regarded. He does rather thoughtfully include the Sazerac recipe, as made by Tom Handy, on the top of page 201. This recipe is from 1908 although this version of it likely dates from at least the 1880's. The brandy version (traditionally cognac) as noted is much earlier than that. Antoine Peychaud created his bitters in 1830 and no doubt a version of the Sazerac appeared not long afterwards.

He also notes that Dale DeGroff likes to use both rye AND cognac in his Sazerac!

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Trey Manthey

Until about 7-8 years ago, the Sazerac cocktail was rarely seen outside of New Orleans, and even then there were few places in the city that would know how to make one. However, when you could find someone that would make one, they generally did a good job. I learned how to make them from watching Mario at the Napoleon House on Royal Street.

I like to make mine with a sugar cube and chill the drink before I put it into the chilled glass. I just pour the rye over a large cube, no stirring.

Unfortunately, with the popularity of the drink, there are more people that do a bad job of it than good. I've even seen them shake a batch of them at the Sazerac bar, which is named after the cocktail. Sacrilege!

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whiskeyobsessive
As an historical note Sven the original Sazeracl recipe called for brandy rather than whisky. Eventually the brandy was replaced by rye.

I think the cool thing about this is the reason. Pre phylloxera (the louse that temporarily destroyed the wine industry in Europe), Scotch and American whiskies were considered overall inferior to brandy. But for a louse, we might be brandy enthusiasts. Also Sazerac was the name of the cognac thought originally to be used in the drink (Sazerac-de-Forge & Fils).

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tanstaafl2
Thanks! I just can get this book: http://www.amazon.de/Imbibe-Professor-Featuringthe-Selection-Contributed/dp/0399532870

Hopefully this is the Imbibe! you meant. I guess it is rather a compilation, but I don't mind, as long as information is provided.

Thanks all!

That is indeed the book and I highly recommend it! That lousy louse that nearly killed cognac and the original Sazerac cognac that lent its name to the drink that Whiskeyobsessive notes are both noted in the book, along with a plethora of other little known and obscure details about the history of cocktails.

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squire

Yes, the louse infection created the need for mass produced blended Scotch to replace the brandy. Winston Churchill was quoted as saying his father's generation didn't drink Scotch, rather their tipple of choice was Brandy & Soda.

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Young Blacksmith

Mario at the Napoleon House was my first Sazerac. Great stuff! Never knew about the louse, interesting that folks used to drink brandy over whiskeys.

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tanstaafl2
Yes, the louse infection created the need for mass produced blended Scotch to replace the brandy. Winston Churchill was quoted as saying his father's generation didn't drink Scotch, rather their tipple of choice was Brandy & Soda.

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squire

The short story is the phylloxera louse is native to North America and feeds on vine roots and was accidentally imported into Europe around 1860 and within 20 years approximately 90% of the vineyards of France were destroyed with equally bad results throughout Europe. The problem was eventually fixed by grafting traditional European varietals onto Native American rootstock which is resistant to the louse. Virtually all the expensive wine and cognac produced in France for more than 140 years has been made from grapes grown on American rootstock.

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brettckeen

I also didn't appreciate the spray bottle for the herbsainte. Yeah gotta do the wash by hand, it's part of the fun. I did have one there for my 30th bday with Thomas Handy (they only had baby saz and thomas handy maybe that's the deal with sazarac corporate or somtehing). It was ok, but I've had better in chicago. My favorite saz in new orleans was at Bar Tonique and 2nd was napoleon house

Until about 7-8 years ago, the Sazerac cocktail was rarely seen outside of New Orleans, and even then there were few places in the city that would know how to make one. However, when you could find someone that would make one, they generally did a good job. I learned how to make them from watching Mario at the Napoleon House on Royal Street.

I like to make mine with a sugar cube and chill the drink before I put it into the chilled glass. I just pour the rye over a large cube, no stirring.

Unfortunately, with the popularity of the drink, there are more people that do a bad job of it than good. I've even seen them shake a batch of them at the Sazerac bar, which is named after the cocktail. Sacrilege!

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brettckeen

The saz I do:

Chill one old fashion glass by filling with ice and soda water. I belive the soda water helps chill it faster I believe. 2nd glass drop in a sugar cube 5 shakes of peychauds splash of soda water. Muddle. Add 2 oz of Rye (lately I have been reccomending Willet 4 year rye, but my next would be Ritt bib or baby saz) stir. Add ice.

Now toss the glass that has been chilled 1tsp herbsaint (I've been using the corsair rouge absinthe though). Spin that sucker on it's axis in front of the customer make sure the absinthe goes all over put on the show and wash the glass with it, then toss what doesn't hang on the glass out. Yer mixture should be chilled by now. Strain it into the glass. Pull out a lighter burn the oil off the lemon twist and drop it in.

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Trey Manthey

Sounds good, Brett. By the way, your settings keep you from receiving PMs.

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Wryguy
The saz I do:

Chill one old fashion glass by filling with ice and soda water. I belive the soda water helps chill it faster I believe. 2nd glass drop in a sugar cube 5 shakes of peychauds splash of soda water. Muddle. Add 2 oz of Rye (lately I have been reccomending Willet 4 year rye, but my next would be Ritt bib or baby saz) stir. Add ice.

Now toss the glass that has been chilled 1tsp herbsaint (I've been using the corsair rouge absinthe though). Spin that sucker on it's axis in front of the customer make sure the absinthe goes all over put on the show and wash the glass with it, then toss what doesn't hang on the glass out. Yer mixture should be chilled by now. Strain it into the glass. Pull out a lighter burn the oil off the lemon twist and drop it in.

Pretty much exactly how I do it, though no soda water in the muddle and I merely rim the glass with the flamed lemon twist and discard. I just like how it looks without the garnish.

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stiffchainey

Found some Peychaud Bitters, bought some Absinthe and will test this cocktail on the weekend.

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Alden

I'm a literature professor.

If you read 19th century lit, both American and European, the hard liquor of choice was nearly always brandy.

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stiffchainey
I'm a literature professor.

If you read 19th century lit, both American and European, the hard liquor of choice was nearly always brandy.

Yeah, you may be right, I don't know. Raymond Carver and Charles Bukowski, my favourite writers, drank whiskey, though, and heavily. But this is 20 century, sure. :cool:

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tylermke

Just curious, but why Peychaud's over something else like Angostura?

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squire

Peychauds is traditional as it was in the original cocktail.

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whiskeyagonzo
I'm a literature professor.

If you read 19th century lit, both American and European, the hard liquor of choice was nearly always brandy.

Didn't a lot of artists also just drink Absinthe? I don't know I am just asking. I thought I read that somewhere but I could be way off the mark. Felt like it made them more creative? ;-)

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squire

Some famous ones did but I think Absinthe was more of a limited interest thing. From the mid 18th to mid 19th centuries brandy was the distilled spirit of choice for those who could afford it, cheap gin or vodka for the rest.

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