When it comes to American whiskey drinks, the key is to find something classic that will provide plenty of chat with a customer. American whiskey has a quality cannon of cocktails, from the Julep and Manhattan to the Whiskey Sour and Old Fashioned. But if you want to mix up a drink for the serious sipper and one with bags of hooch heritage, try the Sazerac.
Originally mixed in New Orleans using Cognac during the mid-1800s, this short and stirred spirit-forward cocktail suffered a setback when brandy became scarce in the 1870. As French vineyards were riddled with the pesky phylloxera bug, the grapes at the heart of brandy were done for, but the depleted supply couldn’t stop the Sazerac’s success.
As American rye whiskey stepped up to the plate (or glass), it formed a new base for the drink, and today it’s celebrated with either spirit. The showstopper is arguably the absinthe though.
True it arrives in a modest measure, but nonetheless inspires a double take when you see it on a menu. As with brandy, the French contingent in New Orleans brought absinthe to the New World and while its reputation precedes it, the ingredient is not only safe, but also lifts the drink wonderfully.
It’s also essential to use Peychaud bitters, the product was invented by New Orleans resident Antoine Amedee Peychaud in the 1830s.
Method: Fill the glass with ice. In a mixing tin, soak the sugar cube with four decent dashes of Peychaud bitters, then crush the cube and add the Rye Whiskey. Empty the ice from your glass, add the absinthe, swirl around the glass and discard. Sir your whiskey mix on ice to chill then strain into to the glass and spray lemon zest or the top of the glass, and discard the peel.
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