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Old Meets New -- The Vieux Nouveau Sazerac

If you want a great Sazerac or any other cocktail, go to Richard Fiske's and ask for Bri.
If you want a great Sazerac or any other cocktail, go to Richard Fiske's and ask for Bri.

Great experiences, meeting old friends, and making new ones -- that's how I describe the recent Tales of the Cocktail conference that my wife and I attended in New Orleans.  The trip inspired me to recreate a twist on a classic.  The Sazerac is the official cocktail of New Orleans (seriously).  It originated in the mid 19th century and was named for the brand of cognac it used.  By the end of the same century rye replaced cognac as the base spirit.  To get the best of both worlds .....

1 ounce cognac or brandy
1 ounce rye whiskey
Teaspoon of absinthe
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
1/4 to 1/2 ounce super simple syrup

Put absinthe in a chilled glass and swirl it around so you coat the inside of the glass.  Discard the remaining absinthe.  Add the other ingredients, stir with the cool grace of a proper New Orleans gentleman or lady, and garnish with a lemon twist.

The Sazerac Bar in the Roosevelt Hotel.
The Sazerac Bar in the Roosevelt Hotel.  This picture does not do justice to the bar.

Use whatever type of brandy or cognac you want (click here for a quick overview of the classifications).  Just remember -- all cognac is brandy, but not all brandy is cognac.  It's the same with bourbon and whiskey in that all bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon.

So why the name "Vieux Nouveau?"  Because these French words sound better than the literal English translation of "old new," and a hell of a lot better than "half and half."

Many thanks to our friends Chris and Gail (who we met at Tales in 2014) for introducing us to the Sazerac Bar in the Roosevelt Hotel.  The atmosphere is gorgeous and historic, and the cocktails are sublime.

Now go a little old school with your Sazerac!


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