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Atlanta, celebrate NO's Super Bowl win with a Sazerac

Ti Martin and Lally Brennan's book of NOLA drinks includes the granddaddy of cocktails, the Sazerac.
Ti Martin and Lally Brennan's book of NOLA drinks includes the granddaddy of cocktails, the Sazerac.

This classic NOLA cocktail is guaranteed to get even die-hard Colts fans extra fired up 


Hey, skip all the cold beers and heat things up with a Sazerac cocktail instead.  Try it with a
New Orleans
style “Po Boy” sandwich made with roast beef and gravy or roast beef and fried shrimp, with lettuce, tomatoes and pickles on fresh French bread.  Doesn’t matter which team you were rooting for, you can still laizzez les bons temps rouler!

Rachel Maddow, host of MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, tried a Sazerac when she aired her Friday night show live from

Bourbon Street

in NOLA.  She was surrounded by partyers still reeling over the fact that their beloved Saints actually made it to the Super Bowl.  Who dat say they gonna beat dem Saints?  Who dat?  Who dat?  


The “who datting” did quiet down long enough for viewers to learn from guest Ti Martin, co-proprietor of the famous Commander's Palace restaurant in New Orleans and co-author along with cousin Lally Brennan of In the Land of Cocktails: Recipes and Adventures from the Cocktail Chicks, that New Orleans is not only the birthplace of jazz, but also of the cocktail.


As Martin swirled, poured and stirred the ingredients for NOLA’s official cocktail, she explained that the Sazerac is considered to be “the first cocktail ever.”  The word “cocktail” may have derived from the name of the egg cup -- “coquetier”-- that Antoine Peychaud, a French apothecary raised in
, would use to serve his brandy, bitters and sugar-based “health” toddies to friends and customers. 


However, according to others, the term “cocktail” predated Peychaud’s toddy making days in the French Quarter.  NOLA cultural blogger Chuck Taggert offers an excellent read on the history of the Sazerac and gives recommendations on what brands to use for the drink, including Sazarac 18 Year Old Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey, and Old Overholt.  Avoid substituting bourbon, which is too sweet, he insists, and don’t shake equal amounts of Peychaud’s and Angostura bitters into the drink.  Why?  Because, as Taggart puts it:


“This is an absolutely exquisite cocktail. As you sip it, you

come across layer after layer of flavor -- the warmth and

glowing burn of the rye, effused with the flavors of spice

and honey, the bite of the bitters balanced with the sweetness

of the sugar, with the subtle yet complex flavor of the anise

underneath and the perfume of the lemon oil from the twist

feel like a symphony inside your mouth. This is also a drink

that warms up well, revealing even more flavors. Sip it very

slowly. Savor it. Take your time with it.” 

-- Chuck Taggart, Gumbo


To liven up your Super Bowl Party, you could also make Hurricanes, the first drink most visitors ask for when visiting NOLA.  But, as Taggart says, “Hurricanes are for tourists.  Sazeracs are for the natives,” but he definitely encourages everyone to come onboard. 


So make NOLA's Super Bowl win the occasion to go "native."   Don’t have much rye on hand?  It’s ok to substitute a fine cognac, or a mix of cognac and rye. 


And thanks, Rachel Maddeaux, as you cleverly spelled your name for the show, for the exciting NOLA “cocktail moment” and giving us a glimpse of the soul and excitement of the irrepressible and incredibly loyal Who Dat Nation. 

                                              Ti Martin’s Sazerac

As shared on The Rachel Maddow Show, live from
New Orleans, Feb. 5, 2010



Glass:  Old Fashioned


1.  Pour an oz or so of absinthe over ice in the glass and swirl to coat the sides.  Set it aside.


2.  In a mixing tin or glass with ice, add: 


2 oz Sazerac Rye Whiskey

A barspoon of simple syrup*

Three or four shakes of Peychaud’s Bitters

One or two shakes of Angostura Bitters

*Simple syrup is one or 1 ½  parts sugar stirred into one part water until the sugar dissolves.  Some say heat it until syrupy, then refrigerate it; others say don’t bother.)


3.  Discard the ice in the glass, leaving just a little of the absinthe to coat the glass. 


4.  Strain and pour the cocktail into the glass.  Squeeze the oil from a lemon twist onto the drink, and rub it over the glass rim.  It’s ok to drop in the twist as a garnish – or not.  Voila!


Read about
and Rhum Barbancourt’s efforts to resume operations.


Prefer rum?  Click here for two traditional Haitian rum drink recipes.


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