Proposed by: David
Reviewed by: Jonathan
Okay, I probably should have known that when my college-age son suggests a drink, it will knock me on my ass. A beer drinker usually, I’m unaccustomed to anything as potent as a Sazerac. Mind you, I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy it, just that the Mad Men generation must be much more inured to inebriation and much more accustomed to the fundamental shift in attitude accompanying such a drink.
The recipe is simple, easy enough to describe:
2 oz. Rye
dash Angostura bitters
dash Peychaud’s bitters
Absinthe (or anise substitute)
simple syrup (or sugar cube)
Prepare two highball glasses. Chill the first (one recipe suggested filling it with ice water in preparation). In the second highball glass, muddle a sugar cube with a little water or add simple syrup, then combine the ice with rye and bitters. Take the chilled glass and, pouring out the ice water (if that was your method) swirl the absinthe to coat the glass. Discard excess. Rub the lemon peel on the edge of the absinthe glass and add it to the bottom. Then strain the contents of the rye glass into the absinthed glass, leaving ice behind.
The end result is lovely, golden and inviting. I added a sugar cube to the bottom of the glass, perhaps gilding the lily, but the added sweetness seemed much welcomed, especially with the edgy taste of the 95% rye I chose. Something exotic lies behind this drink, a licorice undertone that marks it as celebratory, colorful. I enjoyed it.
Here’s Jonathan’s review:
It’s been my experience that when something is considered a “classic” there’s good reason for it. Suggesting that it might, in fact, be the first true cocktail gives this drink a lot of reputation to which it must live up. I probably added a bit of importance by making the taste testing a group affair at a gathering of four couples. We are long-time friends and had gotten together to celebrate each couple being married in 1988 and marking (or will be) a 25th anniversary this year.
The four men in the group are made up of two predominant beer drinkers and two Scotch drinkers. The Sazerac is a strong drink the bite of which is not lessened by the addition of simple syrup (I used a brown sugar simple syrup for this drink) or the twist of lemon. The Scotch drinkers were more inclined to the taste even if the distilled grain of choice was rye instead of barley, and decided, as long as I was in charge of the making, they would be happy to do the drinking. The beer drinkers (like David, that would describe me) sipped on their drinks much longer. That could be a sign that we were discriminating and savoring, but it also could be interpreted that this one may be too sophisticated for us. I don’t want to give our wives short shrift. They tried the drink also, but there was no great clamor for me whip up some more for them.
Two things to add about Absinthe. Considering the addition to the drink is just a swirl in a cold glass and then pouring the rest out, it is very distinctive. The other is that, now that I have a whole bottle of the stuff, I would welcome suggestions as to what I should do with the rest. Okay three things really: celebrating multiple 25th anniversaries leaves the pun “absinthe makes the heart grow fonder” impossible to leave unsaid.
Jonathan’s take: I will try it again, if for no other reason than to use the absinthe, but, unless I find myself in New Orleans, probably would never order it.
David’s take: I’m not sure I’d order this drink too often. As much as I enjoyed the Sazerac, it’s a little like a martini to me, too much for the humble mind of this cocktailian.
Next week (proposed by Jonathan):
Someone has to end the brown liquor theme and I am going to do it. I’m also breaking from the classics theme and suggesting a variation on the Mojito. The Pink Mojito recipe I have found falls squarely into the trendy category and seems like a good choice for the end of summer that Labor Day marks.