Sazerac

Against the Day serving up another favourite! Ever since as a somewhat pretentious teenager I decided it should be thus, I’ve esteemed the Sazerac above all other cocktails. It’s a boozy contemplator, rye whiskey lifted and complicated with some sugar, Peychaud’s bitters and hint of absinthe. A slightly weirder, more gothic Old Fashioned.

Pynchon’s Sazerac is serving as local New Orleans colour, although the quality of the product might be suffering a tourist-facing slippage:

They finally parted company in New Orleans after a confused and repetitive headache of a night that began at the establishment of Monsieur Peychaud, where the Sazeracs, though said to’ve been invented there, were not a patch, it seemed to Reef, on those available at Bob Stockton’s bar in Devnver, though those Absinthe Frappés were another matter.

Against the Day, p. 368.

This Sazerac I’ve made tonight is probably not up to Bob Stockton standards either. The original New Orleans recipe was based on cognac, but this started getting subbed out for rye whiskey around the time Reef would have found himself at Mr Peychauds due to brandy shortages. I’ve decided to squint in both directions with half rye half cognac. My recipe:

Turn of the Century Sazerac

Rinse a chilled rocks glass with absinthe. Then combine the following in a mixing glass over ice:

• 1 shot rye whiskey (the excellent and rather eccentric Belgrove rye from Tasmania in my case)
• 1 shot Hennessy cognac
• 3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
• 2 dashes Angostura bitters
• Maybe like 2/3rds of a shot of simple syrup, which turned out to be too much

Strain into prepared rocks glass and garnish with lemon peel.

It was too sweet, a little muddy. I really prefer a straight rye Sazerac. But still very enjoyable. Hopefully that accuarately reproduces the authentic Peychaud experience.

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