Authenticity

Uniquely New Orleans, and the cocktails that define us
Getty

 

Today’s word, students, is “authenticity.” It is one of my favorite answers to the question, “What makes New Orleans different and special when compared to other American towns?” Or “Why are we this way, and they are that way?”

It is not just that New Orleans is onto itself, it’s that no one else can come close to matching our style. You’ve been to restaurants in other parts of America that claim “New Orleans-style (fill in the blank).”  Have you ever had a plate of red beans, or a jambalaya, or a po-boy that was anything like the ones at home?

Have you ever had French bread, sausage, or a Sazerac that you would seek out if you were in Gentilly and not in Buffalo? It’s those failings of style and taste where authenticity creeps back into the measurements.

Let’s focus here on cocktails that were actually invented here or are completely associated with our town. History proves the truth, and here are the correct recipes. This may not be the way you make or like these drinks but, once again, check out the title of this article.

 

Sazerac

The oldest named cocktail in existence, and first crafted here. The original spirit was Cognac and in the late 1800’s morphed into a Rye Whiskey-based beverage.

  • 1/4 oz Absinthe or Herbsaint
  • One sugar cube
  • 1 1/2 oz Rye whiskey or Cognac
  • Three dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
  1. Rinse a chilled old-fashioned glass with the absinthe or herbsaint. Add crushed ice and set it aside.
  2. In another glass, stir the remaining ingredients over ice and set it aside.
  3. In the original glass, discard the ice and any excess absinthe from the prepared glass, and strain the drink from the second glass into the original glass.
  4. Add the Lemon peel for garnish. Serve straight up, no ice.

 


 

Brandy Crusta

Created in New Orleans around 1858 by Joseph Santini. Thanks to Chris Hannah, mixologist at Jewel of the South. Courtesy of punchdrink.com

 

  • 1 ¾ ounces Cognac
  • ¾ ounce lemon juice
  • ½ ounce orange Curaçao
  • ¼ ounce maraschino liqueur
  • 2 dashes Angostura
  • Garnish: sugar-rimmed glass, peel of half a lemon
  1. Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker over ice.
  2. Shake and strain into a sugar-rimmed cocktail glass.
  3. Garnish with the peel of half a lemon.

 


 

Roffignac 

Created in New Orleans about 1894 on Royal Street, and named in honor of our city’s last French-speaking Mayor, the Count Louis Phillippe Joseph de Roffignac. He was the tenth mayor of New Orleans, 1820-28, a term noted for paving streets and installing street lighting. He returned to his native Cognac in 1828, vowing to return to New Orleans but he died in 1846 either by his own hand or from disease.

Courtesy of Dilford’s Guide

 

  • 1 3/4 ounces Cognac
  • 3/4-ounce lemon juice
  • 1/2-ounce orange Curaçao
  • 1/4-ounce maraschino liqueur
  • 2 dashes Angostura
  • Garnish: sugar-rimmed glass, peel of half a lemon
  1. Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker over ice.
  2. Shake and strain into a sugar-rimmed cocktail glass.
  3. Garnish with the peel of half a lemon.

 


 

French 75 

A vestige of Paris during the closing days of World War I and now very closely associated with New Orleans. The original recipe was with gin, but brandy has become a popular substitute.

Courtesy of epicurious.com

 

  • 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) gin
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (3/4 ounce) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) simple syrup
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) dry sparkling wine, such as brut Champagne, chilled
  1. Using zester or paring knife, slice peel from lemon in long, thin spiral. Reserve lemon for another use and set peel aside.
  2. In cocktail shaker, combine gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup.
  3. Add ice and shake vigorously for 20 seconds.
  4. Strain into chilled Champagne flute and top with sparkling wine.
  5. Curl lemon peel around finger to create twist at least 6 inches long.
  6. Garnish drink with twist and serve immediately.

 


 

Pimm’s Cup

Many variations on this drink with the New Orleans version, not the original, using sweet soda. Not invented here, but on a hot summer day, nothing is better.

Courtesy of Bon Appetit

 

  • 1 3-inch piece English cucumber, cut into 1/2-inch slices, plus 2 spears (for garnish)
  • 3/4 cup Pimm’s No. 1
  • 3 tablespoons fresh Meyer lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • Ice cubes
  • 2 sprigs each fresh rosemary, thyme, and mint
  • 2 lemon slices
  • 2 fresh strawberries, halved
  • Ginger beer, chilled Sprite, 7Up or ginger ale. Also consider Champagne.
  • 2 rhubarb stalks (for garnish)
  1. Place 1/2-inch-thick cucumber slices in cocktail shaker.
  2. Using muddler or handle of wooden spoon, mash well.
  3. Add Pimm’s, lemon juice, and sugar.
  4. Fill 2 pilsner glasses with ice; set aside.
  5. Add ice to Pimm’s mixture, cover, and shake vigorously 20 times.
  6. Strain into glasses.
  7. Push 1 rosemary sprig, 1 thyme sprig, 1 mint sprig, 1 lemon slice and 2 strawberry halves down into each glass.
  8. Fill glasses with ginger beer or other spritzy suggested ingredients.
  9. Garnish with cucumber spears and rhubarb stalks.

 

 

Drink like a New Orleanian wherever you are.

 

 

-30-

 

Read Happy Hour here on myneworleans.com on Thursdays, and listen to The Dine, Wine and Spirits Show, hosted by Tim, every weekday, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. on WGSO 990AM and streamed, as well as stored (podcast), at www.wgso.com. Also, check out Last Call, Tim’s photo-feature about cocktails every month in New Orleans Magazine.

 

Categories: Cocktails, Happy Hour, Recipes

Comments

comments