MixMo: Variations

Somehow another Mixology Monday has snuck up on me, (thanks to Jeffrey for posting early which alerted me) and once again I am stuck at work with none of my resources, and thereby forced to wing this month’s theme: Variations.

Hosted by Jimmy, the theme this month is one that is close to my heart, as, truth be told, almost every recipe that I make is a variation of the original. It just seems that I have a much different palate than many of those great esteemed bartenders of old, and I find myself constantly tweaking the proportions in order to make the resulting libation less sticky and more balanced (or maybe it’s just that the spirits that we are using are so very much different than those available in the late 1800′s).

The cocktail that I’ve chosen for this post is perhaps not so much about “Variations”, but instead more likely to be found under the heading “Evolutions”. The Sazerac, that venerable concoction of Antoine Peychaud’s has changed a lot through the ages. First created around 1838 in Mr. Peychaud’s apothecary in New Orleans (it’s now a gun and coin shop) it was made famous at John B. Schiller’s Sazerac Coffee House. Basically the Sazerac is an Old Fashioned made with cognac and Antoine’s proprietary brand of bitters, which when I mix it up, goes a little something like this:

SAZERAC (v. 1838 )
2 oz cognac (Sazerac et Fils, if you can get it. Good luck.)
3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
dash of simple syrup
stir all with ice and strain into a chilled rocks glass
garnish with lemon twist (if desired)

Then around 1855 (or so), a hired gun by the name of Leon Lamothe came up with the brilliant idea of adding absinthe to the libation, kicking up the complexity factor a notch. His version went a little something like this:

SAZERAC (v. 1850)
2 oz cognac
¼ oz absinthe (BAM!)
3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
dash of simple syrup
stir all but absinthe with ice
strain into a chilled absinthe-rinsed rocks glass
garnish with lemon twist (if desired)

Well this was a fine and dandy concoction until the double whammy of phylloxera and Thomas Handy (he bought the bar) hit the Sazerac circa 1870. We then see the cognac being replaced by rye (mmmmm rye) with the following being the result:

SAZERAC (v. 1870)
2 oz rye
¼ oz absinthe
3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
dash of simple syrup
stir all but absinthe with ice
strain into a chilled absinthe-rinsed rocks glass
garnish with lemon twist (if desired)

And so there you have it, the evolution of the Sazerac as most of us know it. But did you know that some cocky, young (ok not so young) Canadian by the name of Jamie Boudreau furthered the evolution in 2005 by adding a fourth variation? He was curious to see what would happen if you combined all three versions. And he threw in some Angostura bitters to boot.

And so we have the:

SAZERAC (v. 2005)
1 oz cognac
1 oz rye
¼ oz absinthe
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
1 dash Angostura bitters
dash of simple syrup
stir all but absinthe with ice
strain into a chilled absinthe-rinsed rocks glass
garnish with lemon twist (if desired)

Now I’m sure that I’m not the only one that has come up with the rather obvious solution of using both cognac and rye, but I will say that I did come up with it by myself, and at one point I’ve even offered up a flight of Sazeracs so that people could taste the evolution for themselves.

One may also note that none of my versions are finished with ice in the glass. I’ve never been a fan of watery rye (or cognac for that matter) so I find that omitting the cubes does a great service to the drink (provided that your glass is ice cold).

Happy MixMo all, and remember, I came up with all of this at work, with no references, so a date or two may be off by a year or so, but I think that my memory regarding this venerable cocktail will stand fairly solid. So cut me some slack, will ya!

Picture and Sazerac (2005) by:
Jamie Boudreau
www.vesselseattle.com

.

About these ads

~ by Jamie Boudreau on February 11, 2008.

8 Responses to “MixMo: Variations”

  1. Good choice of cocktail there, Jamie! I’m going to try out your variation when I get home tonight.

  2. [...] are of course some explorations of the the classics, with Jamie Boudreau taking a look at the Sazerac and host blogger jimmy taking a look at the Sidecar. The Sidecar is not just a great drink, but a [...]

  3. It’s a good way to make it, and the way that I make it most of the time if people just ask for a sazerac, tho I don’t use angostura.

    Great site. Keep it up.

  4. Hi Jamie,
    do you know any fantastic cocktails using whiskey from Islay? My colleagues been blogging about Islay whisky and I’m trying my best to compile a list of cocktails for this series.
    Thanks

  5. Michael:
    I rarely use single malts in my cocktails as I can’t afford them (they raise the cost of the cocktail too much)

  6. [...] started with several favorite New Orleans classics, especially Sazeracs, Vieux Carr�s, and Cocktails � la Louisiane. One thing I noticed is how much I’m enjoying [...]

  7. [...] Fashioned in a bar, it wasn’t that long ago that I ordered one of its more famous variants: the Sazerac. But I [...]

  8. [...] While the first Sazeracs called for cognac, a modern Sazerac should use rye. Cognac in this drink is interesting, but all together, the ingredients don’t quite have the same interplay as the rye variation. If you are still interested in exploring cognac Sazeracs, check out Jamie Boudreau’s thorough effort at his excellent ( though now seemingly mothballed) blog, Spirits and Cocktails. [...]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 223 other followers

%d bloggers like this: