Born in New Orleans: America’s First Cocktail

Seeing as today is Friday, I thought I would get everyone in the mood for the weekend by posting about a very special drink, but more specifically, one from NewOrleans!

Sazerac logo for Cocktail pgI was pleasantly surprised to find out that America’s first cocktail, the Sazerac, was created in New Orleans. This boozy concoction was first made in 1838 in the French Quarter by a man named Antoine Peychaud, who named the drink after his favourite French brandy – Sazerac-de-Forge et Fils. The drink was slightly altered in 1873 when bartender Leon Lamothe (now known as the Father of the Sazerac) added absinthe and replaced cognac with American Rye whiskey, however in 1912 absinthe was banned, so Peychaud replaced it with his special bitters.


In 1893 the Grunewald Hotel opened and gained rights to the Sazerac, and the popularity of the cocktail has remained ever since. Today, the Sazerac can be found in numerous restaurants and bars in New Orleans, but one of the best places to enjoy the cocktail is at the Sazerac Bar in the Roosevelt Hotel (formerly the Grunewald).

The Sazerac Bar at the Roosevelt Hotel, New Orleans
The Sazerac Bar at the Roosevelt Hotel, New Orleans

If this post has made you thirsty and you’d like to create your own, follow this recipe for the perfect Sazerac (tried and tested with success!)…

You will need:
-1 Sugar cube (Demerara or white)
-3 Dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
-2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
-2 oz Rye Whiskey
-Slice of lemon peel
1) Rinse a chilled rocks glass with absinthe, discarding any excess, and set aside.
2) In a mixing glass, muddle the sugar cube and both bitters.
3) Add the rye, fill with ice and stir.
4) Strain into the prepared glass.
5) Twist a slice of lemon peel over the surface to extract the oils and then discard.
6) …ENJOY!

By Natalie Tobin


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