Drink This: Sazerac


Published:

Mardi Gras is March 8, so this month we pay tribute to N’Awlins with a classic Big Easy cocktail: the Sazerac. The iconic drink invented in the 1830s was, according to some boosters, the first cocktail ever created. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more artfully presented Sazerac than the one served at downtown’s Noble Experiment.

If you’re lucky enough to score reservations at the speakeasy-style cocktail den, ask for a seat at the bar so you can get a good view of master barkeep Anthony Schmidt as he slowly and deliberately transforms simple ingredients into something sublime. He starts by filling a rocks glass with ice drizzled generously with absinthe — just enough to coat the sides of the glass, perfuming it with the subtle scent of black licorice. Meanwhile, in a separate mixing glass, a white sugar cube is muddled with ice and stirred with two kinds of bitters (Peychaud’s and Angostura) and your choice of rye whiskey, cognac or both (go for the rye). Schmidt empties the rocks glass of its absinthe snow cone, straining off the excess liquor into a “courtesy shooter” that you can sip or just sniff to complement the Sazerac. When ice has cooled the sugar mix to the right temperature (and rounded the edges of a drink that’s basically all alcohol), he strains it into the anise-scented glass and slides it across the bar into your eagerly waiting hands. What happens on your taste buds after that is pure alchemy.

“I make at least one or two of these very niche-y, very particular drinks a night, and they’re not even on our menu,” Schmidt says. “I think it’s a delicious cocktail, and it’s a great introduction to whiskey. It’s liquid history.”

More »Related Stories

Shop for a Cause!

Della, a supercute and socially responsible fashion line from West Africa, hits stores July 8

The Art of Saving Animals

San Diego artist helps special needs and senior pets find a home

Remembering Tony Gwynn

San Diego Magazine says goodbye to one of our most prolific athletes.

Most Popular

  1. The Best Restaurants in San Diego 2014
    From happy hours to hotel bistros, it's our annual (reader-selected!) picks for the best eats in town
  2. After the Rescue: The Kaufman Family Speaks
    After the rescue: the Kaufman family speaks
  3. Del Mar Opening Day Party
    Join San Diego Magazine and Morgan Run Club & Resort to celebrate Del Mar Racetrack Opening Day in style
  4. Best Restaurants Kick-Off Party
    Celebrate the Best Restaurants issue with an evening of delectable bites from the 2014 winners
  5. Food Blogger Favorites
    From fish tacos to focaccia, eight San Diego foodies share their favorite dishes around town.
  6. FIRST LOOK: The Patio on Goldfinch
    The Patio on Goldinch opens in Mission Hills with twin plant walls, aiming for LEED certification.

Promotions

Best of Ensenada 2013

Where to eat, drink, sleep & play

Hawaii: Island Fresh

A handy guide to Hawaii's farmers markets

Connect With Us: