The story goes that back in 1838, Creole apothecary Antoine Peychaud invented the Sazerac in his shop at 437 Royal Street. They say he first served it to his fellow Masons after hours in an egg cup –a coquetier—a word that some insist morphed into “cocktail.” The name of the drink comes from Peychaud’s favorite French brandy, Sazerac-de-Forge et fils. Somewhere along the line, American Rye-whiskey was substituted for the cognac and, in 1873, bartender Leon Lamothe added a dash of Absinthe. Called the “Green Fairy” for its color and the “Black Death” for its licorice flavor, Absinthe was banned in1912 for allegedly causing hallucinations. Soon after, Peychaud’s special bitters were substituted in its place.
History lesson over. Now for the taste test. Today you can still enjoy this simple yet potent drink at the Sazerac Bar in the Roosevelt Hotel where it has been served to everyone who’s anyone since1938. No serious cocktail connoisseur would leave town without discovering it either here or at another fine restaurant or bar in the city. The recipe is a little complicated but well worth the result.