Mar 5, 2014 6:00 PM by Jennifer English

Let's Make a Meal: The Sazerac

Fat Tuesday is the culmination of celebrations in and around New Orleans leading up to the period of Lent. Historically New Orleans throws wild wonderful parades, beads, meals and drinks that are the most grand and delicious of the entire year. Mardi Gras in New Orleans is one of the great cultural traditions that we have in this country. Communities through the United States celebrate alongside their spiritual sister city of New Orleans on "Fat Tuesday". There is no better way to celebrate than with a perfect cocktail and some creole inspired cuisine.

New Orleans is one of the most historically significant places in global cocktail culture. The cocktail was invented in New Orleans in 1806, and today New Orleans is one of the few places in the world that has an "official" drink: The Sazerac, whose own origins date to the 1830's.

The drink was made the official drink of New Orleans by the Louisiana House of Representatives in 2008, where by a vote of 62-33, the Sazerac was proclaimed and legalized as New Orlean's Official cocktail. According to the historical record, the drink was invented in New Orleans by a pharmacist named Antoine Peychaud and which featured his distinctive formula bitters. It was believed that only Peychauds bitters, which is still sold to this day, was the only bitters one could use to make a real Sazerac. Great debate and clan feuds ensued among those claiming what makes a true Sazerac.

According to King Cocktail Dale DeGroff, The recipe for the Sazerac was discovered by drinks historian Dave Wondrich while doing research in New Orleans. The recipe , from the 19th century calls for both Peychauds & Angosturra bitters. Today we are featuring a Sazerac recipe from Dale DeGroff which features the authentic flavors of Mardi Gras and delivers a delicious drink.

Sazerac Ingredients:

2 Dashes Dale DeGroff's Aromatic Pimento Bitters
2 small sugar cubes or teaspoon sugar
1 splash soda (used to help dissolve the sugar)
2 ounces (60ml) Rye Whiskey
Splash of Absinthe
Lemon peel garnish


Take 2 rocks glasses, fill one with ice to chill while preparing the drink in the other. Muddle the sugar and the Pimento bitters and splash of soda in the second glass until the sugar is dissolved then add the rye whiskey and several ice cubes to the flavored sugar and stir to chill. Toss the ice out of the first glass that was chilling and splash in the Absinthe. Swirl it to coat the inside of the glass and then toss the remaining Absinthe. Strain the prepared drink into the absinthe coated glass and garnish with a lemon peel.

Dale DeGroff's Pimento bitters is also a wonderful ingredient for savory cooking, not just cocktails. Steven Raichlen of Primal Grill uses it with melted butter to baste grilled lobster,shrimp, scallops or roast salmon or try it in place of vanilla extract when baking cookies or breads.


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