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Archive for the ‘Absinthe’ Category

*as posted in DigBoston

 

If a Sazerac tastes delicious to you and drinking several makes you drunk, what’s an easy way to make the experience of imbibing them even better? Why, make them stronger of course. But how do you make a cocktail that’s already about as boozy as they come even more so?

A high proof spirit is the solution.

As women who love spirits, we are always delighted to sample from this category of potables, known as “Navy Strength” products. In seafaring days, spirits would be distilled to a higher proof to ensure that if a bottle was ever spilled onto a pile of gun powder during an evening’s revelry, the ammo would still explode.

 

High proof spirits are also fun for party tricks, such as flaming shots, Blue Blazers, and the particularly showy display of blowing fire. Trying at home without supervision is not recommended. Instead, grab yourself a bottle of high proof rye and get busy mixing up a batch of the aforementioned Sazerac.

 

 

If mixing at home isn’t your thing, head on over to the Citizen where any of their team of skilled mixologists can mix one up for you, preferably with a perfectly spherical cube of ice.

 

SAZERAC
Adapted from The Essential Cocktail by Dale DeGroff

1 sugar cube
3-4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
2 oz Rittenhouse 100 Proof
splash of Absinthe, Pernod, or Herbsaint
Lemon peel

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.

 

CIN-CIN!

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With half of LUPEC Boston in NOLA for the Tales of the Cocktail festival this week, it only seemed right to raise a glass to the Sazerac, the city’s official cocktail. It’s not just a tag line you know: last month the Louisiana House of Representatives proclaimed the Sazerac New Orleans’ official cocktail in a 62-33 vote. (Did those 33 other legislators vote for the Ramos Gin Fizz?)

But you can’t write casually about the Sazerac. The history of the cocktail is complex and much debated, “so intricate and entangled in myth,” writes David Wondrich in Imbibe!, “it requires a monograph of its own.” Wondrich reached page sixteen of his Sazerac treatise before his editor made him stop, and if this historian-come-cocktail authority won’t try for encyclopedic in his coverage of Sazerac, neither will we. However, we can guide you to a few fun sources that sketch the lore of the Sazerac. Below are a few facets of the Sazerac myth which may or may not be true, but should absolutely be embellished to provide the most exciting story possible.

The Sazerac is the original cocktail. That’s likely false, as Wondrich argues rather compellingly in Imbibe!:

“There is in fact no written record of [the Sazerac] before the first decade of the twentieth century, which is perfectly understandable: When all is said and done, the Sazerac is merely a plain Whiskey (or Brandy)…Cocktail made with Peychaud’s bitters and finished with a dash of absinthe. A generation earlier, you could have ordered the same thing in any bar in America that served mixed drinks.”

As Wondrich’s research reveals, written record of that elusive noun, “cocktail” appears as early as 1803 in a tiny little newspaper produced in a tiny little town called Amherst, New Hampshire (which is coincidentally, where I grew up.) The debate goes on and on, but the nomenclature and the execution of such a drink with such a name likely predate Peychaud’s home tippling.

The Sazerac was originally served in an egg cup. On The Gumbo Pages, Chuck Taggart provides an excellent overview of the history of the Sazerac. Here we learn that Creole apothecary Antoine Amadie Peychaud moved to NOLA in the early 1800s, set up shop in the French Quarter, and began selling his signature tincture to “relieve the ails of all his clients.” After hours Peychaud mixed that magic tincture with a little cognac, water, and sugar for his friends. He served the drink in the large end of an egg cup — a coquetier en Francais — and the improper American pronunciation of this term led to the eventual appellation “cocktail”. In that version of the myth, the Sazerac is thus the original cocktail, Peychaud its father, and New Orleans its cradle. It’s as likely as landing a dinner meeting with the Easter bunny, but a good tale nonetheless.

The Sazerac became the Sazerac at the Sazerac Coffee House on Royal Street. Sewell Taylor christened the “Sazerac Cocktail” as the signature drink of his Sazerac Coffee House on Exchange alley in 1853 . The drink was to be made only with Sazerac de Forge et Fils brandy, a popular brand of cognac of which he was the sole importer. Or was it John Schiller who opened the Sazerac Coffee House in 1859, and christened the Sazerac Cocktail its signature drink to be made with Sazerac brand cognac, for which he was the sole importer?

In any case, it was at the Sazerac Coffee House that an innovative barkeep introduced the step of rinsing a glass with absinthe, and it was here, under new owner Thomas H. Handy (or was it John Handy, as cited in The Craft of the Cocktail?) that the principal spirit was changed from cognac to rye whiskey, circa 1870. Reasons for that switch are clear, at least: the phylloxera epidemic in France made cognac hard to come by…or was it simply that the American palate favored rye? Maybe it was a little of both.

Sazerac de Forge et Fils perished in the 1880s, but as one brand dies, another is born: a decade later the Sazerac bar had grown into a Sazerac company who began to bottle and sell the rye-based version of the drink. That same company sells a six-year-old Sazerac brand rye today, as well as many other spirits.

Oh, what a tangled web history becomes when its scribes hit the bottlet! The beauty of these modern times is that all of these ingredients (save the Sazerac de Forge et Fils cognac) are available today — event absinthe! We suggest experimenting with the ingredients, ratios, and recipes you like the best, and matching it to your favorite foggy detailed story while mixing one up to impress your friends. Here are a few variations to get you started.

Exhibit A: Original(ish) Sazerac
from
Imbibe! by David Wondrich

This recipe is the first one in print for the whiskey-based version. Reprinted in David Wonderich’s Imbibe!, it was first published by William Boothby as the late Tom Handy’s recipe in an undated supplement to THE WORLD’S DRINKS AND HOW TO MIX THEM:

Frappe [chill] an old-fashioned flat bar-glass; then take a mixing glass and muddle half a cube of sugar with a little water; add some ice, a jigger of good whiskey, two dashes of Peychaud bitters, and a piece of twisted lemon peel; stir well until cold, then throw the ice out of the bar-glass, dash several drops of Absinthe into the same, and rinse well with the Absinthe. Now strain the Cocktail into frozen glass, and serve with ice water on the side.

A free copy of the LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF COCKTAILS goes to the first reader to try this with a good cognac and an egg cup and report back with pictures!

Exhibit B: King Cocktail’s Sazerac Cocktail
from The Craft of the Cocktail by Dale DeGroff

Dale DeGroff’s version calls for a little bit of everything. The plot thickens…
Splash of Ricard or Herbsaint
1 oz. VS cognac
1 oz. rye whiskey
1/2 oz. simple syrup
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
2 dashes Angostura bitters
lemon peel for garnish

Chill one rocks glass while preparing the drink in another. Splash the Ricard into another glass and swirl it, then pour it out. Add the cognac, rye, simple syrup, and the two kinds of bitters. Stir with ice cubes to chill. Strain into the chilled rocks glass and garnish with lemon peel.

Exhibit C: NOLA Gals Weigh In
from In the Land of Cocktails by Ti Adelaide Martin and Lally Brennan

This modern recipe calls for both Peychaud’s & Angostura bitters in uneven ratios, Herbsaint, the local pastis that served as absinthe’s understudy during the ban, and shaking, not stirring, the ingredients. Makes 1 cocktail.
1 tablespoon Herbsaint
1.5 ounces rye whiskey, preferably Old Overholt or Sazerac rye
.5 teaspoon simple syrup
4 to 5 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 lemon twist with the white pith removed, for garnish

Pour the Herbsaint into a rocks glass and swirl to coat the inside. Discard any excess Herbsaint. Fill the glass with ice to chill. Combine the rye, simple syrup and Peychaud’s and Angostura bitters in a cocktail shaker with ice. Cover and shake vigorously. Discard the ice from the glass and strain the shaker mixture into the glass. Rub the rim of the glass with the lemon twist, add to the drink and serve immediately. Enjoy your Sazerac, and Happy Tales to you!

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After 95 years of being a big no no, absinthe is once again legal in the United States. Here in Boston we are fortunate to have wonderful liquor retailers such as Brix and Downtown Wine and Spirits so finding the two available absinthes, Lucid and Kubler, is a simple enough task. But what do you do once you’ve made that purchase?

Traditionally the consumption of absinthe was highly ritualized. At the end of a long, arduous day folks would meet for the green hour. With a glass of absinthe in hand, people would gather around an absinthe fountain. From multiple spigots ice water would slowly drip over sugar cube laden slotted absinthe spoons. As the glasses of absinthe slowly clouded over from the bottom up those waiting to imbibe would catch up on the day’s news and local gossip. Once the liquid was a uniform, pearly color the absinthe was ready to drink. Obviously not many of us today have an absinthe fountain hanging around, but you can easily replicate this process at home with a small pitcher of ice water, spoons and your good friends.
Of course as lovers of all things cocktail, the ladies of LUPEC love to use our absinthe to mix up something tasty during our green hour! Here are a few recipes to get you started.

CHRYSANTHEMUM COCKTAIL
2 oz French Vermouth
1 oz Benedictine
3 dashes Absinthe
Stir ingredients with ice. Strain into your favorite chilled vintage cocktail glass. Squeeze orange peel on top.

CORPSE REVIVER NO. 2*
.75 oz Dry Gin
.75 oz Lillet
.75 oz Cointreau
.75 oz Lemon Juice
1 dash Absinthe
Shake ingredients well with ice. Strain into your favorite chilled vintage cocktail glass.

* In The Savoy Cocktail Book author Harry Craddock noted “Four of these taken in quick succession will unrevive the corpse again.”

FASCINATOR COCKTAIL
2 oz Dry Gin
1 oz French Vermouth
2 dashes Absinthe
1 mint sprig
Shake ingredients well with ice. Strain cocktail through a tea strainer into your favorite chilled vintage cocktail glass.

Are you still thirsty and feeling a bit adventurous? Pull out your favorite recipes that call for pastis and substitute absinthe. Remember that absinthe can be kind of a bully, so start by using small quantities and then adjust to taste.

Cheers!

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It’s Mixology Monday again! This month we are, with our host Jimmy’s Cocktail Hour, exploring Variations.

Here in Boston the ladies of LUPEC have been very excited with the recent availability of the Rothman and Winter Creme de Violette. It’s always thrilling to have a new product available, but in this case this is a new old product which opens up yet another window into cocktail past. In honor of our new favorite spirit we are going to take a look at three cocktails featuring gin, creme de violette, absinthe and french vermouth.

Within my modest collection of cocktail tomes I found the first recipe for the Atty Cocktail in The Savoy Cocktail Book.
ATTY COCKTAIL
1/4 French Vermouth
3 dashes Absinthe
3/4 Dry Gin
3 dashes Creme de Violette
Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass.
Now we adore all of the ingredients in this cocktail and think it is delicious. However when looking for a cocktail to showcase the Creme de Violette this would not be our first choice so let’s continue on to some other variations…

Thumbing through Patrick Gavin Duffy’s Official Mixer’s Manual we find the Attention Cocktail.
ATTENTION COCKTAIL
1/4 French Vermouth
1/4 Absinthe
1/4 Gin
1/4 Creme de Violette
2 Dashes Orange Bitters
Stir well with cracked ice and strain.
Once again, all things we love, but equal parts doesn’t really work for us. The strength of the Absinthe overpowers the other ingredients.

Jones’ Complete Bar Guide has the following recipe:
ATTENTION
1 oz gin
1/2 oz Pernod
1/2 oz dry vermouth
1/2 oz creme de violette
2 dashes orange bitters
Ah…we’re getting closer. The increase in the base spirit created a nice platform for the other flavors. Truth be told, we used Ricard instead of Pernod…desperate times call for desperate measures. The Ricard still was a bit powerful, but seemed to complement the Creme de Violette rather than battle it as was the case with Absinthe.

Sticking with Mr Jones we find the Arsenic and Old Lace. From the name alone we have very high hopes!
ARSENIC AND OLD LACE
1-1/2 oz Gin
1/2 oz Absinthe or substitute
1/4 oz dry vermouth
1/2 oz creme de violette
Once again we used Ricard and it was good, but we miss the bitters.

So in conclusion, there is no conclusion. As women dedicated to our cause we will happily continue our research!

Cheers!

Oh my goodness! I almost forgot two very important things!

A huge shout out to Eric Seed, the man behind the availability of Creme de Violette. Besides having the cutest daughter in the world who claps when she eats head cheese, through Haus Alpenz he is making amazing products available to us! Please check out his website and encourage your local retailers and bars to carry his products.

For an updated variation on the Arsenic and Old Lace head over to this post on Cocktail Chronicles where Paul Clarke checks out Simon Difford’s Flower Power Martini.

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Born in 1849 in Pearlington along the Mississippi River, Eliza Jane Poitevent became the first woman owner and publisher of a major daily newspaper in the United States, the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Eliza began her career as a poet under the pen name Pearl Rivers. In 1870 she was offered the position as literary editor at the Picayune. Against the wishes of her family she moved to New Orleans and joined the male work force as the first woman in Louisiana to make a living at a newspaper. Two years later Eliza married Col Alva Morris Holbrook, the owner and publisher of the Times Picayune.

In 1876 Holbrook died, leaving the paper $80,000 in debt. Eliza’s family encouraged her to declare bankruptcy, but Eliza persevered and at the age of 27 she became the editor and publisher of the Times Picayune. Although some of the staff left, the majority remained at the paper showing their loyalty to Eliza. Under her management the Picayune evolved into a family paper which included departments for women, children, fashion and household hints. As a philanthropist, Eliza used the editorial page to speak out against cruelty to animals. Eliza incorporated elements of the modern syndicated newspaper, thereby tripling the circulation of the Times Picayune from 1880 to 1890.

And now a toast to Pearl Rivers!

Cocktail a la Louisiane
1 oz Rye
1 oz Sweet Vermouth
1 oz Benedictine
3-4 dashes Absinthe
3-4 dashes Peychaud Bitters
Stir in a glass with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass in which has been placed a maraschino cherry.

Cheers!

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Last night the lovely ladies of LUPEC Boston gathered at the home of Pinky Gonzalez to raise our glasses to the women of New Orleans. We nibbled on Shrimp “Arnaud,” fried okra, fried oysters, jalapeno cornbread, and “Bananas in Jackets”/”Nuts in Sticks.” And we washed it all down with the following delicious cocktails!

Pimm’s Cup
Pimm’s No 1
Lemon Juice
Simple Syrup
Ginger Ale
English Cucumber

Obituary Cocktail
2 parts Gin
1/4 part Dry Vermouth
1/4 part Absinthe
Stir and Strain

New Iberia Cocktail
2 parts Brandy
1 part French Vermouth
1 part Sherry
3 drops Tabasco
Shake and Strain

Sazerac
1 sugar cube
7 drops Peychaud Bitters
1/2 oz water
2 oz Rye
Splash of Herbsaint
Muddle the sugar cube, bitters and water in a mixing glass. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add rye. Stir with ic e for 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled old fashioned glass that has been rinsed with Herbsaint. Garnish with oil from a lemon peel.

(Shake Your Own) Ramos Gin Fizz
Egg White
2 parts Gin
1 part Simple Syrup
1/2 part Lemon Juice
1/2 part Lime Juice
3 drops Orange Blossom Water
1 1/2 part Cream
Club Soda
Put all of the ingredients except cream and ice into a shaker. Shake. Add the cream and ice. Shake hard for 10 minutes. Strain into a collins glass leaving 1/2 an inch for soda. Add soda and garnish with a long orange spiral.

Vieux Carre
(created by Walter Bergeron, Head Bartender, Hotel Monteleone c 1937)
1/2 tsp Benedictine
dash Peychaud’s
dash Angostura
1/3 Rye
1/3 Cognac
1/3 Italian Vermouth
Stir and Strain

Keep checking back this week for posts about the great broads of New Orleans!

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