Sepulchritude Forum: The Absinthe Forum Archives Thru July 2001: Topics Archived Thru Feb 2001:Peychaud's
By Bluedog1 on Sunday, February 25, 2001 - 10:19 am: Edit

As also with absinthe, taste is in the "eye" of the beholder. If you like cognac and absinthe, go for it. If your taste runs to whisky and Herbsaint, your "poison" is equally valid and has a long and illustrious history in mixology.

By Timk on Sunday, February 25, 2001 - 04:03 am: Edit

However the one that lasted for 15 years was responsible for the drinks popularity - somewhat like saying, well absinthe isnt avaliable now, buy hey people use pastis now so ill just use that instead


By Bob_Chong on Saturday, February 24, 2001 - 11:48 pm: Edit

Which Sazerac is "true" depends on whether

you are old enough to have been of drinking age 131 years ago when the switch was made OR you accept that the 131-year-old recipe supercedes the one that lasted for less than 15 years.


By Don_Walsh on Saturday, February 24, 2001 - 11:08 pm: Edit

E la bas Bluedog1

I'm from Broadmoor district originally before I moved to Southport in '63, but New Orleans born and bred, but thanks for the nickel local history lesson.

De la Salle

By Petermarc on Saturday, February 24, 2001 - 04:02 pm: Edit

just try absinthe with cognac à la is amazing how smooth it becomes--2 to 1 cognac/absinthe--my ratio, i don't know exactly how he mixed it(i guess smooth is a matter of personal taste and tolerence)

By Artemis on Saturday, February 24, 2001 - 11:48 am: Edit

My reading of it is that absinthe was always included, until such time it was outlawed, and then absinthe substitute was included.

What I would do is attempt to make the drink with a cognac I like and take it from there.

By Perruche_Verte on Saturday, February 24, 2001 - 11:39 am: Edit

I haven't been able to tell from the various sources whether absinthe was added to the Sazerac before, after, or at roughly the same time the change was made from Sazerac-de-Forge to rye whiskey, c. 1870.

If it was added afterward, then an "authentic" Sazerac would just be Sazerac-de-Forge with a dash of Peychaud's, and not an absinthe cocktail at all.

Chickens and eggs. I like it with rye. I have a feeling I'll like it with Cognac too once I try it.

By Bluedog1 on Saturday, February 24, 2001 - 07:34 am: Edit


Which Sazerac is "true" depends on whether, in New Orleans culture, you are a traditional Creole (descendant of French and/or Spanish ancestry) or one of "les Americains" who extended the boundaries of New Orleans to the Garden District, vice the Vieux Carre.

The Americans preferred the taste of bourbon and rye to wimpy cognac, hence the change in the Sazerac recipe. Why absinthe was replaced with modern Herbsaint is one of the same reasons we find absinthe appealing today -- because it became illegal.

Rye is nowhere near as popular today as it was in the past, and generally the most available modern brand is Jim Beam Rye (yellow label).

Sazerac also makes a bottled pre-mixed cocktail, but, having tasted it, it is a mere shadow of what a properly mixed Sazerac cocktail is.

My favorite New Orleans Sazeracs are: Sazerac Bar, Galatoire's, Antoine's, Tujaques, and Pascal's Manale, pretty much in that order. (Court of 2 Sisters bar makes a mean French 75 after dark...)

Be careful of the barman who uses Pernod when mixing a Sazerac.

By Don_Walsh on Saturday, February 24, 2001 - 12:55 am: Edit

The authentic mid to late 19th century Nawlins Sazerac would be with a cognac similar to the unobtainable Sazerac de Forge et Fils brandy.

The authentic turn of the (20th) Century Nawlins Sazerac would be with Rye whiskey, preferably one of the brands listed previously. (Tube Rose sounds like a pet name for Marc's monster trouser snake.)

And the contemporary Nawlins Sazerac would perforce be made with Herbsaint rather than absinthe.

If one is going to reintroduce real absinthe into the Sazerac it makes more sense to me to go for either the original brandy base, or the proper brand of Rye if any can still be had. Maybe that's just me being infected with some of Ted's love for precision. Or maybe it's all the herbal dust floating around my house making me crazy.

I don't think any living New Orleanian (present company excepted) would be likely to recognize the brandy based Sazerac as being related to the rye whiskey based one with Herbsaint.

Which to me is a shame!

I don't remember but I think I have never had rye whiskey per se. I have had 'Rock and Rye' which is a liqueur remarkably similar to Southern Comfort (although I haven't tasted either in more than 30 years.)

By Bluedog1 on Friday, February 23, 2001 - 03:29 pm: Edit

The other "sacrilege" is to use simple syrup vice a crushed sugar cube, but it does blend easier and tends to make a smoother cocktail with less "sediment" after the straining.

I happy, well-shaken Sazerac should be the color of a louched rose petal, and clears to deep rose red as it sits in the glass (not that I let mine sit very long).

To have a true New Orleans Sazerac with Rye, the brand should be Raleigh Rye (motto "For Men of Brains"). My various editions of the Blue Book for New Orleans (all from around the turn of the century) recommend also Old Saratoga Rye and Tube Rose Rye Whisky ("Once Drank, Always Admired")

By Petermarc on Friday, February 23, 2001 - 01:53 pm: Edit

limoges is about 150 kilometers from cognac toward the center of france...not much wine country there...that's why they sit around and make dishes 'n stuff...

By Don_Walsh on Friday, February 23, 2001 - 09:32 am: Edit

I've been through the search engines on this too. A lot of the sources say 'Sazerac cognac' while just as many say 'Sazerac French brandy'. As we know, French brandy is not all Cognac any more than all American whiskey is all from Bourbon County KY.

Sazerac-de-Forge et Fils is given as the brand name in various places, as des-Forge and du-Forge as well. It is an old family name in France (the the et Fils in the label ought to be a dead giveaway, a placename would not say '& Sons') but that does not preclude it from being a placename. The family is associated with Limoges. Is that Cognac country?

However I am not getting any such placename to come up in my searches, and petermarc says he can'
t find such either.

So maybe is it just a brand name that has died out, it does show up in the lists of Cognac makers in the Cognac books.

Is that definitive? Maybe.

If it's a Cognac then the interesting thing would be to see if the references can clue us in to what is the closest cognac extant to Sazerac-de-Forge et Fils? And that would be the way to build an authentic Sazerac.

Sounds a lot better than Rye whiskey to me.

By Timk on Friday, February 23, 2001 - 07:34 am: Edit

I thaught sazerac was a cognac producing 'house' like frapin etc.


By Petermarc on Friday, February 23, 2001 - 07:14 am: Edit

i can't find a french region or town called sazerac...

By Artemis on Friday, February 23, 2001 - 07:06 am: Edit

"does the publication recommend a method"

"... twist a piece of lemon peel over it for the needed zest of that small drop of oil thus extracted from the peel, but do not commit the sacrilege of dropping the peel ... "

With regard to the cognac:

"For years one of the favorite brands of cognac imported into New Orleans was a brand manufactured by the firm of Sazerac de Forge et Fils of Limoges, France."

The book says the transition from this cognac to rye whisky took place circa 1870 to please the taste of an increasingly American clientele.

By Lordhobgoblin on Friday, February 23, 2001 - 04:49 am: Edit


If it's sacrilege to drop the lemon peel into the drink, does the publication recommend a method to put the lemon peel into the drink without offending the Gods?

Perhaps lowering it in on silver thread whilst chanting incantations in Latin?


By Don_Walsh on Friday, February 23, 2001 - 04:09 am: Edit

Not to dispute, but wasn't/isn't Sazerac a French regional placename, like both Cognac and Armagnac, and designated a brandy made from the region, rather than a particular brand? One does not say Sazerac cognac or Armagnac cognac, this is nonsense. All three are French brandy producing REGIONS. Are we then to believe that the Sazerac region now produces no brandy? Any brandy produced in the Sazerac region is a Sazerac brandy, and would be the appropriate brandy to replicate the original Sazerac cocktain. Am I in error?

By Perruche_Verte on Thursday, February 22, 2001 - 10:43 pm: Edit

I tried searching for it and the brand Sazerac doesn't seem to exist anymore. Of course, there are plenty of good cognacs around.

I'm sipping a Sazerac right now and the lemon does wake it up a bit. Next time I'll use a thinner slice, though, as I don't like too much lemon in the drink. It's a little too tart.

Which I suppose just emphasizes the principle that the "right way" is the way that you like it.

Damn, wish I had some Segarra for this, but I'm putting out a CD in a couple of months and my budget is too tight for more absinthe right now.

Speaking of Prohibition, absinthe is mentioned in passing in John Dos Passos' _1919_ trilogy. In the third volume, _The Big Money_, the character Charley Anderson drinks Bacardi with a dash of absinthe in the New York speakeasies he frequents (mid-late 1920s) as he slides into alcoholism and disaster. This book was written in the Thirties. The absinthe is no doubt intended to symbolize corruption and decay. Still a great read, though, if absinthe-drinkers don't take it personally.

By Tabreaux on Thursday, February 22, 2001 - 01:33 pm: Edit

The use of rye whiskey became standard only after the old Sazerac brandy was no longer available. I do not know when the brandy became unavailable, but it may have had something to do with prohibition. FWIW, the invention of the Sazerac 'medicinal cocktail' predates prohibition by many years.

By Artemis on Thursday, February 22, 2001 - 12:32 pm: Edit

I always thought Rye Whisky was a requirement.
"Famous New Orleans Drinks ..." published in 1937, essentially agrees with the Gumbo Pages website as to the history of the drink, but not the recipe, which is given as follows:

1 Lump of Sugar
3 drops of Peychaud's Bitters
1 dash of Angostura Bitters
1 jigger of Rye Whisky ("Rye" in italics for emphasis)
1 dash of absinthe
1 slice of lemon peel

The preparation instructions are a lot more complicated than the recipe, including that dropping the lemon peel into the glass is "sacrilege".

By Perruche_Verte on Thursday, February 22, 2001 - 12:10 pm: Edit

Regarding the Sazerac recipe, which does seem
to vary according to the bartender and venue,
check out:

Notice there's no Angostura in his recipe and he condemns the use of bourbon, not even mentioning (gasp) Irish whiskey... it's the Hibernian heresy, Morrigan, don't let them catch you at it...

I skipped the lemon peel too, but I'll try that and see if it really makes a difference.

BTW, yes, this is the same site that features Chuck Taggart's absinthe page and a "Hall of Shame" featuring extremely weird email he's gotten about absinthe...

By Maddog on Thursday, February 22, 2001 - 10:33 am: Edit

I'm also curious to know a little about Antoine Peychaud's secret recipe.
When out of absinthe, I like to add about 5 or 6 dashes of Peychaud to a dose of Herbsaint and three parts cold water. The medicinal herbal bitters add a nice contrast to the anise and the louche gives a strange saffron color.

By Morriganlefey on Thursday, February 22, 2001 - 09:44 am: Edit

The Sazerac is one of my favorite absinthe cocktails (being something of a bourbon-hound). I really like it with Bookers (Kentucky bourbon) or Blanten's (irish whiskey). I use a full shot of absinthe (rather than just "coat the glass"). And don't omit the Peychaud's if you can get it - it's very subtle but does change the underlying flavor of the drink entirely. I agree with Perruche - Peychaud's has a distinct bitter orange flavor. Oh, and those of us going to Ted & Don's Excellent Adventure in New Orleans can pick up a bottle of Peychaud's first hand (woo hoo!!)

- M

By Artemis on Thursday, February 22, 2001 - 08:07 am: Edit

It was served in a coquetier or egg cup.

Thus the origin of "cocktail" (coquetier).

By Bluedog1 on Wednesday, February 21, 2001 - 05:45 pm: Edit

Peychaud, it is rumored, created the first bitters to improve the flavor of bourbon or American rye whiskey when added to a cocktail. It was served in a coquetier or egg cup. Antoine Peychaud served his concoctions at his pharmacy on 437 Royal Street in New Orleans (there is a big antique and coin shop there now)as a morning cure for various ailments or as a pick-me-up.

The original Sazerac was made with cognac (manufactured by Sazerac-de-Forge et fils)and absinthe, peychaud, angostura, and sugar as early as the late 1850's. The traditional Sazerac is made by combining in a shaker a sugar cube, 3 drops of Peychaud, 1 dash Angostura, 1 jigger rye whiskey and a handfull of ice. The mixture is shaken briskly and poured into a chilled glass that has been coated with Herbsaint, with a twist of lemon peel.

By Perruche_Verte on Tuesday, February 20, 2001 - 08:56 pm: Edit

I got a bottle of Peychaud's Bitters in the mail today (you can find an order form at and mixed myself a Sazerac. Delicious!

Regrettably, I am fresh out of absinthe and had to use Ricard and Old Overholt. I look forward to trying this drink with cognac and perhaps a certain quality absinthe when such becomes available.

Peychaud's is interesting -- actually it has a rather light, fruity flavor. It doesn't taste much like Angostura. Any speculation as to what's in it? I realize this is one of those top secret formulas, no doubt kept in a safe somewhere.

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