Saturday, May 01, 2010

Questions about the Sazerac

TBA notes that Wikipedia prescribes a rather underpowered Sazerac, with only a shot of rye rather than two ounces.

However, our experiments suggest that the original cognac, and even mere brandy, are superior to the rye whiskey (which we believe was a mere cost-saving measure). Two ounces of cognac/brandy, of course.

But we have two questions:

(1) How the hell does one get a sugar cube to melt in brandy, or cognac, or whiskey? We have given up and turned to powdered sugar (and even *that* doesn't melt 100%).

(2) Why the old-fashioned glass? We prefer a chilled martini glass.


  1. I can't imagine a Sazerac in a chilled martini glass-- it feels really wrong. I think part of the deal on the drink is the smell of it, which is going to be much more intense in the traditional glass than in a martini glass. You've got these really intense smells going on, and don't want to lose them.

    Traditionally, the sugar cube is melted by muddling a little water with it; many more recent recipes substitute simple syrup but tradition holds that doing so takes away your ability to adjust the sweetness by leaving the water the same but adding another lump of sugar. I use simple syrup, but have considered trying muddling-- you grind and mix till you get a good crystal free solution.

    So if you're going back to the cognac roots, are you using absinthe? Which one? There are very strong views about which one tastes right, and I have no idea. I've tried some of the new absinthes, but haven't bought any.

    Roy Guste (of the Antoine's family) says this is the original Sazerac Bar recipe and what you'd get at the Roosevelt:

    1 tsp sugar
    1 dash each of Peychaud and Angustora bitters
    1 1/2 oz rye
    dash of lemon, dash of herbsaint

    Galatoire's gives you this

    2-3 drops Pernod
    2 oz rye
    1 dash paychaud
    2 tsp simple syrup

    Commander's gives you this:

    1 1/2 oz rye
    1 1/2 tsp sugar (that's sweeter than both of above)
    angustora and paychaud bitters
    1 tbs pernod

    Richard and Rima Collins in their New Orleans cookbook wimp out entirely with 1 oz of rye or bourbon.

  2. No, I should've bought some absinthe in NOLA last visit, but never having had it, I don't know what I'm missing. Will have to try it for the authenticity factor tho. I've just been using Pernod, b/c I have some.

    Tried the muddling but apparently I lack diligence - can't get the sugar dissolved. Which was a shame, b/c I found cane sugar cubes that seemed more 19th-c. than white sugar.

    Re: chilling, I've seen a chilled O/F glass in some recipes, so I thought I was just varying the style of glass.

    One pleasant evening, I will have to mix up half a dozen Sazeracs using all the recipes I've found (& you've provided), and report on the results. The next morning.