[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]
If you were to select the nation’s cocktail capital, New Orleans would have to be at the top of the list. Sure, New York City and San Francisco have some of the best and brightest bartenders working today, but in terms of history, endurance, and sheer joie de vivre, the Big Easy has plenty in its favor.
Credited as being among the first true cocktails, the Sazerac is a New Orleans original. As stiff as they come, it combines rye, absinthe, and Peychaud’s bitters, served, unusually, in a rocks glass without ice. One sip of its hazy, lusty character tells you everything you need to know about living the good life.
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- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3 or 4 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
- a few drops water
- 2 ounces rye whiskey (such as Sazerac Rye)
- 1 teaspoon Herbsaint, Pernod, pastis, or absinthe
- lemon peel
Chill an Old Fashioned glass or small tumbler in your freezer.
In a mixing glass, combine sugar, Peychaud’s Bitters, and a few drops of water. Mix until sugar is dissolved, and add rye. Add plenty of ice, and stir for about 30 seconds.
Pour Herbsaint, pastis, or absinthe into your chilled glass, and rotate glass until the inside is well coated; discard the excess. Strain the liquid from your mixing glass into the serving glass. Twist a piece of lemon peel over the drink. Indulge.
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