(This is part of a drink-by-drink Christmas eve exploration of Charles H. Baker’s 1939 cocktail compendium book, The Gentleman’s Companion)
After the tepid offering from Duffy (whom frankly I had come to in other related matters trust), we figured it was time to go traditional, and thought it worth seeing what Baker had to offer in terms of a Sazerac, now that we had already gone out of our way (up the street, to the mall) to procure some Absinthe. Lo and behold, a cool bounty was in store; the drink itself was a brilliant specimen of the breed, however much it seemed to differ from any number of the various “authoritative” recipes. Robust, complex, and punchy (not like a punch but like being punched); herbal, and, as a cocktail should be, genuinely intriguing, hinting at something just beyond the veil. Just beyond the North waves, perhaps…
As Mike saw fit to toast: “To good old American ingenuity, the first cocktail invented on American soil, and to us; this is apparently as good as it gets.”
THE IMMORTAL ZAZARAC COCKTAIL, which Takes us Back Many Years to the Old Days before the Drouth, & to New Orleans.
This is the famous original from the Zazarac [sic? God, as if I know] Bar. Since France outlawed abinthe much of the world’s best was made by French Creole New Orleans. . . Put 1 jigger of bourbon into a shaker, toss in 1/2 tsp of sugar, add 1 tsp of Italian vermouth and the same of absinthe, or lacking this, Pernod Veritas. Contribute 2 or 3 good dashes of Peychaud’s bitters – now obtainable in all big towns – shake with cracked ice and serve in an Old Fashioned cocktail glass, and end up with a twist of lemon or orange peel on top . . . It is also made by mixing in the glass itself, just like an Old Fashioned, using 1/2 lump of sugar, saturating this with bitters, and muddling well before adding ice and spirits.
* Note: improper glassware, oh well, and a grapefruit garnish that was a stroke of insipiration, I dare say.