“French in name, French in origin, and French in its sophisticated appeal, Legendre Herbsaint is a drink distinctly European in character.”
Herbsaint advert from 1930`s
The Sazerac Company`s new recreation of the original Herbsaint complete with a gorgeous vintage label was a very pleasant thing to try out, it has that little bite and sharpness yet its more soft on the anise than the regular Herbsaint, its herbacious and very complex. Its very approachable and perfect for those classic cocktails it was used for like the Sazerac, Cocktail a la Louisiane, Herbsaint Suissesse and Herbsaint Frappe and so on. I find it even nice to sip on its own.
Absinthe was banned in 1912 and the Herbsaint was made to substitute it in the year 1934 by a New Orleans pharmacist named J.M. Legendre who secretly produced it in his home during prohibition. It wasn`t called Herbsaint at first – it was called “Legendre Absinthe” which wasn`t a name that pleased the federal government and so the name was changed. It didn`t even contain any wormwood.
Launched as Herbsaint it was marketed as – “Drink Herbsaint Wherever Absinthe Is Called For” - Herbe Sainte is the French/Creole name for wormwood (literally “sacred herb”)
In 1949 the Herbsaint was sold to the Sazerac company and the formula was changed to a lower proof (90) and heavy on the star anise. Luckily now the Sazerac Company has decided to launch a Herbsaint made with the old formula and even with a replica of the vintage label. Its right in time as the interest for the old formula Herbsaint is rising.
This is a great vintage style Herbsaint and it really is ”the spirit of New Orleans,” and the spirit of the by-gone era of “old France of Louisiana”. Its surprisingly tasty and i for one always wants it to have a place in my bar.
Herbsaint Original is 100 proof and is available in 750ml bottles.The 90 proof Herbsaint also in 750ml bottles will also be continued to be sold by the Sazerac company. But i wonder if not the original 100 proof will be more popular..
Here are a few classical Herbsaint cocktails including(again) the awesome Sazerac which stand a good chance of being the cocktail no1 of 2010, at least among many of the cocktail bloggers.
COCKTAIL A LA LOUISIANE
Combine in a mixing glass:
3/4 ounce rye whiskey
3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
3/4 ounce Benedictine
3 to 4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
3 to 4 dashes absinthe or a substitute (Herbsaint, Pernod, Ricard, or other pastis)
Fill glass with cracked ice and stir for 20-30 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass; garnish with a cherry.
And here are some more:
1 tsp simple syrup
3 dashes Herbsaint
2 oz Rye Whiskey
Twist a piece of lemon peel on top. Pour into a glass of
cracked ice, shake and strain into a cocktail glass.
1 tsp simple syrup
2 oz Herbsaint
2 oz water or seltzer
Shake vigorously until well frosted, strain off
the liquid—remove ice and pour drink back into the frosted glass.
This old recipe calls for shaking but this drink may preferably be stirred with cracked ice in the glass until frosted, then the liquid is strained into another chilled glass, the ice removed from the frosted glass and the liquid poured back again.
And the last one, i choose to use a recipe for Absinthe Suissesse from Gumbpages and switch the absinthe for Herbsaint.
1-1/2 ounces Herbsaint Original
1/2 ounce orgeat
White of 1 egg (or 2 tablespoons pasteurized egg white product)
1 ounce half-and-half (or 1/2 ounce each whole milk and heavy cream)
4 ounces crushed ice
Combine ingredients in a blender, whizz for 5 seconds and pour into a chilled goblet or rocks glass.
Or this one:
1 oz Anisette
2 oz Herbsaint
In shaker half filled with cracked ice add 1 oz Anisette, 2 oz Herbsaint, 1 eggwhite and shake until well frosted and strain into a thin small glass, top up with seltzer and serve.
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 some say 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 whiskey 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, it would give too much citrus flavor.
These are all wonderful cocktails.