Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Sazerac

In the spirit of Mardi Gras, Felicia cannot resist writing about one of the most famous New Orleans-based cocktails: the Sazerac. Sazerac drinkers are fussy, which is probably one of the reasons that one rarely finds the Sazerac on a cocktail menu outside of Louisiana. The tradition of the Sazerac goes back a long way, to the times of apothecaries and absinthe. The making of this drink is quite specific and almost ritualistic; you will be shamed by most mixologists if you suggest substitutions to the required ingredients and techniques. Stray not from these instructions, and with only one sip you will feel like you are gaily parading the streets of New Orleans.

So put on your Mardi Gras beads, make yourself a Sazerac, throw doubloons out your window at passersby and try not to lose your shirt. As Stephen Sondheim wrote (possibly about Felicia?): “She has a weakness for Sazerac Slings…”

The Sazerac

¼ ounce Pernod
2 ounces Old Overholt rye whiskey
3 dashes Peychaud or Angostura bitters
¼ oz simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water) or 1 tsp sugar
lemon twist with white pith removed

1. Fill an old fashioned glass with ice so it can chill.
2. Fill a shaker halfway with ice and add whiskey, bitters and simple syrup. Do not shake; instead swirl the liquid around in the shaker until the shaker is frosted on the outside.
3. Discard the ice from the old fashioned glass. Pour Pernod into the old fashioned glass and swirl it around, tilting the glass, coating the sides and bottom of the glass. Discard excess Pernod.
4. Strain the contents of the shaker into the Pernod-coated old fashioned glass.
5. Twist the lemon peel over the drink and rub around rim, and then discard lemon peel.
6. Drink and enjoy.

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