What better libation to begin lunch on the Friday after Thanksgiving than the official cocktail of New Orleans: the Sazerac! It was created by Antoine Peychaud, who like many other makers of cocktails in the early 1800s was a pharmacist. His version used Sazerac-du-Forge Cognac, absinthe, and the Peychaud’s own bitters. Over the years it evolved into a rye-based drink, with an absinthe substitute like Pernod or Herbsaint. (Absinthe is legal again, so we may as well use it.) Peychaud’s bitters–still made in the original formula–remains essential. In its classic form, it’s an inch of strained, high-proof liquor in the bottom of a chilled glass with a lemon twist. In 2008, the Louisiana state legislature declared the Sazerac the official cocktail of New Orleans. It’s an acquired taste, but a classic one.
- Splash of Pernod, Herbsaint, Ricard or absinthe
- 1 generous shotglass of rye whiskey
- 1 Tbs. simple syrup
- 4-5 dashes Peychaud bitters
- 1 slice lemon peel
1. Splash the Pernod (or other anise-flavored liqueur) into a chilled old-fashioned cocktail glass. Twist the glass around to coat the sides, and pour out the excess. (The pros throw the glass up in the air with a spin, and let the excess Pernod disperse by centrifugal force).
2. Combine the other ingredients in a second glass filled with ice. Stir vigorously to blend well. Strain into the Pernod-coated class. Twist the lemon peel over the glass and drop it in.