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Whiskey Cocktails: The Manhattan, Old-Fashioned, Sazerac and Mint Julep

Jack Bettridge
Posted: August 9, 2013

(continued from page 2)

Place the syrup, bitters, cherry and orange in an Old-Fashioned glass, and muddle to a paste. Add large ice cubes and the Bourbon. Stir well. Variations include experimenting with fruit (lemon and lime, of course, or even pineapple) and leaving out the muddling step. Add seltzer water if you want fizz.

The Sazerac

Originating in New Orleans, the Sazerac wasn't born American. It's ancestor was made of Cognac and Peychaud's bitters. After the Civil War and the phylloxera infestation conspired to shut down imports of French brandy, rye whiskey stepped in and was joined by absinthe (so the cocktail could still claim a Gallic heritage).

Sazerac cocktail.
Even though O. Henry drank gobs of them when he installed himself in New York City, the Sazerac will forever be the official New Orleans cocktail, with its links to characters such as Huey Long and Tennessee Williams. Oddly, it gets a lot of play with fictional spies. W.E.B. Griffin's Cletus Frade of the OSS took them with oysters.

When James Bond visits New Orleans in Live and Let Die, CIA sidekick Felix Leiter goads the consummate Brit into sampling the local tipple, asking, "Where is your sense of adventure?" Of course, 007 takes one. A Gin & Tonic would have blown his cover.


This drink has evolved so much that it's now hard to call any version authentic. For old time's sake, try it at least once with Cognac in place of rye.

1/2 teaspoon absinthe or pastis
1 sugar cube
2 ounces straight rye whiskey
4 dashes Peychaud's bitters
1 lemon twist

Coat an Old-Fashioned glass with absinthe. Pour the excess absinthe back in the bottle, and place the glass in the freezer. Muddle the sugar cube with a little water in a mixing glass. Add some ice cubes, the whiskey and bitters to the mixing glass. Stir. Retrieve the glass from the freezer, and strain the contents of the mixing glass into the Old-Fashioned glass. Twist the lemon over the glass, and use for garnish or discard.

Note: Peychaud's is the bitters to use. Angostura, for its part, has the good grace to not even mention the Sazerac on its company's website.

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