TWO LOVELY NEW ORLEANS CLASSICS

I love these two wonderful old classic New Orlean cocktails…The glory that was the Sazerac and the grandeur that was Ramos gin fizz in the old days had people from far away dreaming about the city where these magnificient cocktails were made.

And rightly so…

Both of these cocktails are masterpieces and they are only two of several equally fantastic cocktails that was invented in the city where the cocktail was born. My quite often to-go cocktail at home is the Sazerac, it´s easy to make and always tasty.

The Ramos gin fizz is equally tasty but different like day and night and requires much more work to make but the result is worth the effort and i find it an excellent breakfast or brunch cocktail.

I don´t make it as often as the Sazerac though since i don´t drink cocktails at breakfast during working weeks and rarely in the weekends either to tell you the truth – unless i´m on a holiday – and if that holiday takes place in New Orleans (which it always does) a breakfast cocktail is more the norm than not – at least during Tales.

The Sazerac

The home of the Sazerac was at 116 Royal Street. The bar itself was at the rear of the building facing Exchange alley. I have already written about this drink and the peychauds bitters though and you can read it here.

History has it that an average of 400 cocktails a day was served and more than 500 000 cocktails a year at the bar and that the rule of the house was to not serve any more to any guest showing any signs of drunkeness.

And it´s said that one day a tall Texan came in and ordered a Sazerac and then another and another and since he showed no signs of being drunk he was allowed to order even more which he did – ending up ordering 24 stiff cocktails – still not showing any signs of drunkeness – how that is possible i have no idea….i wonder if the story is true?

The Ramos Gin Fizz

The home of the Ramos gin fizz was owned by H.C Ramos and Co and located for many years at the corner of Gravier and Carondelet, later moving to a bigger building closer to St Charles st.  Several “shakers” were helping out to shake each drink for about ten minutes to get that wonderful soft and balanced fluffy fluff that is a Ramos gin fizz…

These “shakers” job was only to shake up the drinks and was not entrusted to made up the drink – i believe that was a guarded secret…

The thing with the Ramos fizz is that it needs to be drunk fairly quick because it loses that special quality which makes it so good very fast, it should be drunk preferably within ten minutes. But since it´s such a light and smooth drink it´s no problem to imbibe it within ten minutes and you won´t get too drunk either – or even drunk at all – really i have never myself been able to NOT finish it later than that – it´s simply too yummy.

Of course you can make a Ramos gin fizz that is nice in less time than 10 minutes, i have actually never even been shaking one in ten minutes but maybe there is a difference? the usual way to do it is to dry shake it first (shake without ice) to get the egg white to emulsify with the rest of ingredients and then add ice and shake some more. Also one can use a hand-mixer to get it done even faster.

In any case – the drink is just lovely…it´s like drinking “clouds” or “cotton”, it´s so soft and smooth and those citrus notes so deliscious….and really a good start of the day.

It´s said that 3000 fizzes was served daily. I also wrote about the Ramos gin fizz here. The drink had to be hand-shaken and even though several “shaking machines” were tried they all failed since the result never was the same as when the drink was shaken by hand.

A real handcrafted cocktail!

RAMOS GIN FIZZ

1 1/2 oz gin
1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
1/2 oz. simple syrup
2 oz. milk (half & half or cream if preferred)
1 small egg white
2-3 drops of orange flower water (careful here! you don´t want this drink to taste and smell like a bottle of perfume)
Soda

Shake all ingredients except the soda and shake very well, when you think you`re done, shake some more –  the more the better – and shake first without ice and then with ice – so that the egg white emulsifies and the drink becomes very cold and frothy. (Or use the handmixer way to do it – but really if you want to follow tradition…shake, shake, shake..)

Then strain into a chilled highball glass without ice. Top with a little club soda to get some fizz. No garnish – usually, but if you like to – a thin strip of orange, lemon or lime peel/slice is nice i think.

SAZERAC

1/2 teaspoon herbsaint or absinthe
1 teaspoon of simple syrup or 1 cube of sugar or 1 tsp of granulated sugar
4  (or even more) dashes Peychaud’s bitters
Optional: 1 dash angostura, not tradition but it opens up the flavors
2 ounces rye whiskey
Strip of lemon peel

Fill a 3-1/2 ounce Old Fashioned (rocks) glass with ice. Place the sugarcube in another glass and moisten it with water until it saturates and crush it or use simple syrup. Mix with whiskey and bitters, add ice and stir to chill.

Discard the ice from the first glass and add herbsaint or absinthe and coat the sides of the glass, then discard the excess (i like to leave a drop or two in the glass) Strain the rye into the glass and twist a lemon peel over the glass to express the oils, then rim the glass with it as well.

Discard the peel, or if you like use it as garnish – but don`t drop the entire peel back in the glass.

Sazerac – the glass is always half full…

The Barbancourt Sazerac

 

Straight from New Orleans – here´s a different take on the Sazerac…

Created by a friend of mine, Geoffrey Wilson – celebrating Haiti’s influence on New Orleans culture at Loa in downtown New Orleans! it´s a Sazerac with Barbancourt rum instead of rye or cognac spiced up with cloves and Jerry Thomas bitters.

The drink was created on in january this year at the Cheers conference when a bunch of New Orleans bartenders were working the tiki bar to set up. Someone asked Geoffrey to make a tiki version of a true New Orleans classic, and this is what he came up with – and the drink worked out to the point of Geoffrey making a bunch of  them.

Then the drink recipe was brought to Loa, and it’s been on the menu since. Guess who´s soon gonna go over to Loa and try the original? yep yours truly…:-)

A mix of New Orleans classic, Haiti and Tiki…if that´s not pretty ecclectic i don´t know what is – and the result is inspirational! and tasty…

Rhum Barbancourt is made in Haiti and is different from other rums in that it´s not an agriole, and not a molasses rum but still uses fresh sugarcane juice. So it sits on it´s own and is made like cognac. They ferment the juice for three days and there aged rums is double distilled. Age it in oak, blend it, cold filter, and bottle.

Dupre Barbancourt was a cognac maker from France. His double distillation method was revolutionary in Haiti back in 1862, using fresh cane juice. It’s not agricole because it’s not made in Martinique and distilled at lower proof. It’s more like agricole than most rums, but it’s truly unique among all rums.

During the fresh cane cutting season, january to late april, they’ re using fresh cane. Other times of the year they use cane juice concentrated into syrup, which does not spoil.

The syrup is similar to Zacapa’s “sugar cane honey” which is also used for some parts of Diplomatico Exclusiva.

But here is the drink recipe so you can make it at home if you can´t go to Loa.

BARBANCOURT SAZERAC

2 oz Rhum Barbancourt 8 (or 5)
.5 oz simple syrup (skinny)
6 dashes Bitter Truth Jerry Thomas bitters
2 cloves

Herbsaint rinse – rinse the serving glass with Herbsaint and discard or leave, your choice – i prefer to leave it in the glass just as it´s done in the video.

Proceed as in the video by adding everything else into a mixing glass, adding ice and stir then strain into the serving glass which should be chilled before using it and finish with twisting a lemon peel above the glass to let the oils come out and if you wish also rinse the rim with the peel.

Oh the fragrance….

Don`t have the Jerry Thomas bitters? sub with some more cloves and dashes of Creole bitters – don´t have the Creole bitters? use Peychauds.

This turned out to be a very nice and spicy drink and it tasted Sazerac alright! like an exotic cousin…golden brownish color and with a dust of cloves…a very fine drink indeed.

 

 

Bring on the spring and summer with a Strawberry Hurricane!

To me there`s nothing that tells me more that the spring and summer is on the way than fresh strawberries. Granted there´s some time left until the summer is here and the strawberries i see in the shops are imported but just seeing them is at least a promise

The other day i saw a picture of a strawberry Hurricane over at a blog i really like – Suck The Heads – and when i saw that picture i immediately wanted to have one.

And that´s why i`m making it now, i decided to mix up my own version. To most people the Hurricane cocktail is the same as the red ones you get at Pat O’Brien’s but that´s not the whole truth. The original Hurricane is quite a different beast…

It contains fresh fruit juices and not that mixer in a bag – you can read all about here and here – that said, the “tourist-version” sure serves it´s purpose still and Pat O’Brien’s is a cool place but the real one is what i`m going for and in this post i wanna change it up a bit by adding one large muddled strawberry to the party plus some of one of my favorite rums, Old New Orleans Cajun Spiced.

The Hurricane is wonderful cocktail in the spring and summer and it´s huge! which in a way can be a “dilemma” because if you don´t want it to become too diluted and watery too fast you need to not drink to slow but at the same time if you drink fast you get drunk too quick…

To prevent quick dilution it´s a good idea to use fresh and very cold ice, shake it quick and enjoy!

STRAWBERRY HURRICANE


1 oz light rum (use a good quality rum)

1 oz dark rum (use a good quality rum )

0.5 oz Old New Orleans Cajun Spiced Rum

1 oz fresh orange juice

1 oz fresh lime juice

1/4 cup passion fruit juice, or 1 tablespoon passion fruit syrup – homemade or B.G Reynold´s.

0.5 oz simple syrup

1 teaspoon grenadine – i use homemade or B.G Reynold`s hibiscus grenadine which i find superior to any other grenadine

1 really large ripe strawberry or 2-3 small ones

1 small tsp golden fine sugar

Muddle the strawberry with sugar in a shaker, add the rest of ingredients and shake with ice and double strain into a hurricane glass half filled with crushed ice. Add more crushed ice to fill and garnish with speared strawberry slices and pineapple leaf tops.

Now…enjoy!

NEW ORLEANS COCKTAILS pt 7 – Obituary Cocktail

This little cocktail is a strong fella that could wake up the dead..

It`s a very much New Orlean cocktail…combining all that which sums up the unique ambiance of this one of a kind city.

Equal parts absinthe and vermouth paired with gin is what we have here in this old classic tipple which is the signature cocktail of the Lafitte`s Blacksmith Shop and is a brilliant twist of the gin Martini where the absinthe is King.

But it`s not just the spirits in this cocktail – it´s also the feel of it. If you have been to New Orleans and appreciate the city you know what that feel is all about. Alas this cocktail takes you back in time as does so much things in New Orleans, it takes you back to the dark foggy quarters in the 1800s.

The name is not a nice one though, it means death and how come the cocktail got that name i have yet to find out, maybe it had to do with the ban of absinthe? However it does add to the mystery so let it stay that way, it´s part of its appeal.

The name is also used in other ways, there´s both a book and a society called “Obituary Cocktail” The book is written by New Orleans photographer Kerri McCaffety, a book i would like to get my hands on.

I would recommend using real absinthe in this drink rather than herbsaint or pernod because of the prominent role absinthe plays here. With a substitute which you can use of course, it will simply become a bit too lame..so go get a decent absinthe for this cocktail.

Chuck over at Looka/Gumbopages recommend Jade Liqueurs absinthes and when Chuck recommends something i listen – and so should you – trust me. I think i would like to try their Jade Nouvelle-Orléans absinthe Definetily on my to order list later this fall.

Ice cold absinthe, vermouth and gin is perfect for the summer…i recommend two at the most. (no pun intended) The three ingredients balances each other perfectly here.

OBITUARY COCKTAIL


2 oz gin
1/4 oz dry vermouth
1/4 oz absinthe or substitute ( i used a very good handcrafted swiss absinthe- La Clandestine)

The preparation is very simple:

Pour the ingredients into a mixing glass filled with cracked ice. Stir well and train into a chilled cocktail glass.

12 Bottle Bar suggest you put both the mixing glass and cocktail glass in the freezer for at least 10+ minutes which to me is a very good idea since these kinda drinks really needs to be cold.

Chuck recommends “Shake vigorously for 13 seconds, or stir vigorously for no less than 26 seconds” – Whatever way you choose to mix this up the important thing is to get it well mixed and cold. It does benefit from some dilution of the ice i think.

This cocktail will of course look very different depending on if you use white or green absinthe.

And now step back in time and enjoy one of the great classics.

ORIGINAL NEW ORLEANS COCKTAILS pt 6 – Place d`Armes Cocktail

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Made in honor of Jackson Square, this cocktail with whiskey and fruit juices is a tasty libation indeed.  It can be found in the book “Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix `em” by Stanley Clisby Arthur.

I can´t find any info on what year this cocktail was made and by whom and any history about how it got its name etc but the book was written in 1937. So there isn´t much to write about this cocktail here, rather get going and mix it up – but in any case, the cocktail is nice and i like Jackson square, one of the many interesting historic places in New Orleans.

Jackson square was originally called Place d´Armes (Spanish: Plaza de Armas) in the 18th century but was re-named to Jackson Square in honor of the Battle of New Orleans hero, Andrew Jackson who now since 1856 stands In the center of the parkas an equestrian statue – or a statue of a rider mounted on a horse.

The design of Jackson Square was modeled on the famous Place des Vosges in Paris, France and did originally overlook the Mississippi River across Decatur Street.

Jackson square is surrounded by some very famous old buildings like St Louis Cathedral, the Presbytere  and Cabildo (Louisiana State Museums – where you can see some amazing things like the Mardi Gras Exhibit (Presbytere, 2nd floor) – and also where there has been held some lavish parties during the Tales of the Cocktail…and then we have the grand Lower and Upper Pontalba Apartments (the oldest apartment buildings in the U.S.)

And here is where one of my favorite restaurants is – Muriel`s with its mystic 2nd floor rooms that are just amazing. Also here is where for well over a half century now there`s artists painting and displaying their work on the outside of the iron fence.

So that was a little about Jackson Square after which this cocktail is named. Here´s the recipe:

PLACE D´ARMES COCKTAIL

place-darmes-ccocktail

½ orange—juice only

½ lemon—juice only

½ lime—juice only

1.5 oz whiskey

1 oz grenadine sirup ( i would use 0.5 oz if using a commercial grenadine unless its Trader Tiki´s hibiscus grenadine and btw hibiscus grenadine is nicer than just grenadine..)

Squeeze the fruit juices in a mixing glass. Add the sirup; be careful not to make it too sweet if you like a dry drink . . . Otherwise use a little sugar. Then add the whiskey—some prefer Bourbon, others rye. Strain into a tall glass half-filled with crushed ice. Decorate with a sprig of mint, after frappeing well with a spoon.

This cocktails is very tasty and fresh! i was wondering if 1 oz of grenadine would be too much but it isn´t – but its importsant to use a good quality grenadine. I strongly recommend homemade hibiscus grenadine – or Trader Tiki´s. Also use a good quality rye or bourbon in this.

jackson-square

CANAL STREET DAISY

canal-street-daisy1

A little bit of sour, a little bit of sweet,  a little bit of strong and finally some weak..and no, its not a Planter`s Punch i`m making – its a Canal Street Daisy!

It takes its name from the famous Canal street which was made in the colonial era and divided the downriver older French/Spanish quarter and the newer upper American part of the city.The street was built where New Orleans was supposed to get a canal to be the dividing line.The canal was never made and so instead the Canal street street was constructed.

The wide median earmarked for the canal was referred to by early inhabitants as the “neutral ground”, due to the animosities amongst culturally distant residents on separate sides of the avenue. The term is still used in NO to refer to all street medians.

It´s a wide street and here`s where they meet – New Orleans historical streetcars. I like Canal street and since i`ve never yet had any Canal Street Daisy i wanted to try it out and see if i liked it too. I found the drink in my book “Famous New Orleans Cocktails and how to mix`em” by Stanley Clisby Arthur. It was first written in 1937.

This drink does in older recipes contain orange juice but in this book it doesn´t – instead grenadine is used and this is the version i`m making so now i get a chance to try my new hibiscus grenadine as well.

A beautiful street to give name to a beautiful drink –  much due to the bright red grenadine.

A Daisy is basically a sour (citrus, sweetener and spirit). with some soda added and it should be very cold. Garnished with seasonal fruits and mint. A number of base spirits may be used and then shaved or cracked or crushed ice. And then finally it should be served in either a cocktail glass, pewter mug, Julep cup, large goblet or highball.

So i decided to mix two drinks and here´s the recipe from the book:

CANAL STREET DAISY

canal-street-daisy-2

0.5 oz fresh lemon juice
0.75 oz fresh lime juice
2 dashes grenadine syrup (you may add a little more, use homemade hibiscus grenadine)
1.5 oz rye whiskey
Top up with a little soda

Garnish with seasonal fruits and mint.

Swizzle in a julep cup or highball until frosty, then top with soda and garnish.

Its a very refreshing cocktail and should be served ice cold! i like the homemade hibiscus grenadine in it, it adds an extra tropical tang to the drink that is very refreshing. And homegrown fresh mint as garnish is not wrong either..

I like this cocktail!

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canal-st1

Canal Street

ORIGINAL NEW ORLEANS COCKTAILS pt5 – Peychauds & Sazerac

peychauds

Most of the cocktail folks are well aquainted with and knows the history of Peychaud`s bitters but i think its interesting enough to write about and for those who doesn`t know here it is in a short version:

We must go back to the 1793 when Antoine Amedèe Peychaud, a creole of a french family who was an apothecary went to New Orleans, Louisiana while his sister went to Paris during the insurrection of Saint-Domingue. He brought with him to New Orleans his family recipe which was a secret formula for a tonic called bitters.

He opened a pharmacy shop with his sister – who he had brought over from Paris – on 437 Royal Street where today there`s an antique shop. He used to serve friends and other folks who needed “a little something” for their stomachs – some brandy made better with his bitters and of course his bitters, like other bitters –  were used to cure all kinds of illnesses.

His bitters soon became famous and were sold at the coffee houses in town. “Coffee houses” were where drinks were served – known today as bars;-)

He served his bitters spiked brandy, some water and sugar and according to the legend served it in a double-end egg cup called coquetier (ko-k-ta`y) which probably was the fore runner of the jigger – and as the legend has it – the name is the fore runner to the word “cocktail”  But really – the word “cocktail” is actually much older than that but opinions vary.

Peychauds bitters naturally leads us to the Sazerac.

This is one of the cocktails that i love the most. Born on Royal st in a bar that no longer is there – but in the sidewalk still remains lettered the word “SAZERAC” – this is where the entrance to the bar was. Originally it was made with a cognac brand called “Sazerac-Forge-et Fils” from Limoges, France.

This cognac and peychauds drink was drunk at the Sazerac Coffee House but the cognac was substituted with rye sometimes around 1870 because cognac was harder to find.  At the same time when Thomas Handy took over the Sazerac Coffee House it became the Sazerac House. This is also when the absinthe started to be used in this drink – until it was as you know – banned and replaced by herbsaint which now has come back in its original state.

In 1949 the bar moved to Roosevelt Hotel ( former Grunewald Hotel ) which in 1965 became the Fairmont Hotel – badly damaged and closed after Katrina and the federal flood in 2005  –  but eventually it was purchased to become a Waldorf Astoria hotel and got back its former name Roosevelt ( which was a name in honor of President Theodore Roosevelt) And in 2009 the Roosevelt New Orleans officially opened and there the Sazerac bar and restaurant is today.

Did you know that in prior to World War II the Sazerac bar only admitted men? Ladies were not allowed to drink at the bar – only on Mardi Gras Day. Luckily that changed in 1949 when the bar relocated to the Roosevelt Hotel and on opening day for both genders the women outnumbered the men.

The combination of rye (or why not equal parts rye and cognac) peychauds and absinthe or herbsaint is amazing and addictive – and it grows on you. The balance of flavors is just perfect.

Let´s have one, let`s have two..

SAZERAC

sazeracs

1/2 teaspoon herbsaint or absinthe
1 teaspoon of simple syrup or 1 cube of sugar or 1 tsp of granulated sugar
4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
Optional: 1 dash angostura, not tradition but it opens up the flavors
2 ounces rye whiskey
Strip of lemon peel

Fill a 3-1/2 ounce Old Fashioned (rocks) glass with ice. Place the sugarcube in another glass and moisten it with water until it saturates and crush it or use simple syrup. Mix with whiskey and bitters, add ice and stir to chill.

Discard the ice from the first glass and add herbsaint or absinthe and coat the sides of the glass, then discard the excess (i like to leave a drop or two in the glass) Strain the rye into the glass and twist a lemon peel over the glass to express the oils, then rim the glass with it as well.

Discard the peel, or if you like use it as garnish – but don`t drop the entire peel back in the glass.

sazerac-close