Saturday, June 18, 2011

Sazerac Cocktail (Cognac Version)

I've had many a Sazerac cocktail - quite a few in its birthplace of New Orleans - and I enjoy it thoroughly. However, I have always had it made with rye whiskey. The other day, I was in the mood for a Sazerac and I didn't have the rye. Dr. John was playing on the stereo, the evening was sultry and sticky, I was in a blue bayou mood. I had to have a Sazerac!

Then I realized that I did have a bottle of decent cognac on hand - nothing fancy, but perfect to make the lesser known, older version of the Sazerac (which is originally named after the Sazerac de Forge et Fils cognac used). If not exactly what I was craving, I was still ready to try it out. And it was good.

In my taste, actually, this version (for the time being at least) has shouldered the more familiar rye concoction aside. So without further ado, here's how to make a damn good cognac-based Sazerac:

Sazerac Cocktail (with Cognac)

  • 3 oz cognac (nothing too fancy, unless you're made out of money - I use Raynal)
  • 1 sugar cube
  • Peychaud's Bitters
  • Splash of Herbsaint (the best, but hard to find outside of the Crescent City - you can use another absinthe substitute, such as Pernod or Absente; I tried it once with Kübler and it was okay)
  • Lemon twist for garnish
Putting this drink together is a ritual. First, fill a cocktail glass with crushed ice to let it chill. Drop the sugar cube (or roughly a teaspoon of sugar) in a separate mixing glass, and saturate it with about four dashes of Peychaud's Bitters. Muddle it a bit to dissolve the sugar, and add the cognac (or rye, if you prefer) and stir. Meanwhile, dump the ice from the chilled cocktail glass, and add a splash of Herbsaint to the empty, cold glass. Swirl it around to coat the interior, and then discard. (Actually, I never discard Herbsaint anywhere except straight into my mouth.)

Add ice cubes to the sugar/Peychaud's/cognac in the mixing glass, and stir until very cold. Strain into the Herbsaint-rinsed cocktail glass. Add a twist of lemon peel for garnish. Santé, and bottoms up.

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