Some say the Sazerac was the world’s first cocktail, originating in the French Quarter in the 1830s, named in ’59, and perfected in ’70 by Leon Lamothe. His recipe (rye whiskey, Herbsaint and bitters) is the one most used today.
Almost as famous as the cocktail is the bar named after it: The Sazerac Bar, located in The Roosevelt New Orleans. Opened in the 1930s, the bar was a refuge for men, most famously Huey P. Long (a Ramos Gin Fizz aficionado), of whom it is said built a highway between Baton Rouge and New Orleans so he could get there faster. The Paul Ninas mural of New Orleans scenes and the beautiful woodwork provided the grandeur – and the drinks provided everything else.
It wasn’t a refuge for everyone, however. Eleanor Early, in her 1947 book New Orleans Holiday, directs her readers to try a Sazerac elsewhere, “especially if you are a woman because women can’t go to the Sazerac Bar where the best ones are made.” At the time, women were allowed in the Sazerac only on Mardi Gras Day.
On September 26, 1949, a group of women decided to change things, and entered the bar and demanded their rights to drinking equality. An overwhelmed bartender saw to their needs, and women have been able to rightfully claim a place at the Sazerac Bar since then.
To honor these women – and to indulge in a good drink – on the 60th anniversary of the “Storming of the Sazerac,” a group of women, dressed in their 1940s finest, once again “stormed” in, took their place at the bar and enjoyed an afternoon Sazerac.
The Spirited Women of Tales of the Cocktail® Storm the Sazerac,
2009 Sazerac Bar, The Roosevelt New Orleans, Louisiana
Brian Huff photograph
Vintage Glamour courtesy of Fleur de Paris
Hair and Makeup by Cathy Di Vincenti and Ashley Heckathorn.
Photo courtesy of Tales of the Cocktail®