*LUPEC Boston’s latest ruminations, in case you missed ‘em in this week’s Dig.
by Pink Lady
Ever lie to your doctor about how many drinks you have each week? In the bright glare of the examination room, checking off the “7 or more” box may make you feel bashful. LUPEC suggests dispensing with the shame – after all, for centuries, alcohol and medicine have been closely intertwined.
Many ingredients of modern mixology trace their roots to the pursuit of good health: gin, digestif liqueurs, and of course bitters, the key ingredient in the “cocktail” which spawned a whole new era of drinking in the 19th century. Without bitters, we’d all still be drinking slings.
Without Peychaud’s bitters, we’d never have the Sazerac, the official cocktail of New Orleans. In the early 1800s, Creole apothecary Antoine Amadee Peychaud began bottling and selling his signature bitters as a “solution for what ailed one, irrespective of malady”. Though a pharmacist by trade, Peychaud became famous for this aromatic tincture, which he mixed with Sazerac de Forge et Fils brandy (the spirit du moment) and served to fellow masons after hours in the back of his shop.
The Sazerac has gone through many transformations in subsequent decades. Later generations added absinthe, then Herbsaint when absinthe was outlawed; rye took the place of cognac. Some bartenders even add a little Angostura bitters to their concoctions, but few would argue that without Peychaud’s, you can’t have a Sazerac.
As you read this, members of LUPEC Boston and thousands of other cocktail enthusiasts are descending upon the Crescent City for the annual Tales of the Cocktail conference, where we will drink many Sazeracs. Follow our hijinks through our “Live Blog” updates to the Weekly Dig’s website, making sure to take your medicine, as prescribed below.
Adapted from The Essential Cocktail by Dale DeGroff
1 sugar cube
3-4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
2 oz rye whiskey
splash of Absinthe, Pernod, or Herbsaint
Take two rocks glasses and fill one with ice to chill for serving while preparing the drink in another glass. In the bottom of the prep glass, muddle the sugar cube and bitters until the sugar is dissolved; a splash of water can execute the process. Add the rye and several ice cubes, and stir to chill. Take the serving glass, toss out its ice, and add the splash of Absinthe, Pernod or Herbsaint. Swirl it around to coat the inside of the glass, and then pour out any liquid that remains. Strain the chilled cocktail into the prepared glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
VISIT TALES OF THE COCKTAIL VICARIOUSLY THROUGH LUPEC AT WEEKLYDIG.COM, LUPECBOSTON.COM, OR BY FOLLOWING US ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER (twitter.com/lupecboston)