• 1 lump sugar
  • 3 drops bitters
  • 1 dash absinthe or absinthe substitute
  • 1 slice lemon peel
  • 2oz Cognac or Rye Whiskey
Fill 2 glasses up with ice and chill. Discard ice in glass 1 and add a lump of sugar, 3 drops of bitters and Rye Whiskey or Cognac. Add ice back into glass 1 and stir (don’t shake).  Then, discard ice in glass 2, add a dash of absinthe and twirl and discard excess (this method adds flavor). Strain glass 1 into glass 2 (rinsed with absinthe). Take a lemon peel and twist its oil over the cocktail for zest; then rim the glass with the same lemon peel and garnish.

Author and Historian Stanley Clisby Arthur wrote that ‘There are cocktails and cocktails but the best known of all New Orleans cocktails is unquestionably the Sazerac’ (Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix’em, 17).  This libation is considered the first ever cocktail because its birth can be contributed to the gumbo of ethnicities that forged the American identity. The original recipe called for cognac that was imported from France called Sazerac-de-Forge et fils, and bitters from a family recipe with French/Caribbean origins.  However, in 1870 a change in the recipe occurred after the American Civil War when American rye whiskey was substituted for cognac to adapt to the American palate.

Over the years, this cocktail has always been a popular mainstay in ‘the city that care forgot’. However, a Louisiana state senator by the name of Edwin R. Murray (from New Orleans) introduced a bill to name the Sazerac the official state cocktail. Needless to say, the measure failed. As a consolation, on June 23rd 2008, the Louisiana State Legislature proclaimed Sazerac as the official cocktail of New Orleans.

This cocktail harkens us to reminisce about how far we’ve come in the United States and how much further we can go. Santé.