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Where Was The Sazerac Cocktail Invented?

Sazerac cocktail with mardi gras beads on table
Sazerac cocktail with mardi gras beads on table - Perry Correll/Shutterstock

The Sazerac. It's been called "America's first cocktail." This sophisticated piece of mixology has been a part of the nation's drinking culture for more than 150 years, and while you can find it on the menu at many cocktail bars around the country, there's no place where it's more prevalent and beloved than its hometown of New Orleans.

The Sazerac was popularized in the mid-1800s at the Sazerac Coffee House in the Big Easy's French Quarter, located on Exchange Alley, just off Canal Street and not far from the modern Sazerac House Museum, which offers cocktail tours, exhibits, and events related to its namesake cocktail. The establishment took its name from the then-popular Sazerac de Forge et Fils cognac, which was a key ingredient in early versions of the cocktail. The original Sazerac House closed sometime after the turn of the 20th century, though the name and brand live on today.

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A Thoroughly New Orleans Invention

Sazerac with lemon twist
Sazerac with lemon twist - 5PH/Shutterstock

The earliest example of the Sazerac traces its roots to 1838 and another New Orleans drinking icon — Antoine Peychaud, the creator of the herbal bitters that share his name. Peychaud's version was simpler, mixing Sazerac cognac with his namesake bitters, which are still used in our Classic Sazerac Cocktail Recipe.

However, this modern version of the cocktail only took shape in the 1870s, when Sazerac House bartender Leon Lamothe began adding a splash of absinthe. Around the same time, serious agricultural issues decimated the French cognac industry, leading industrious drinkmakers to swap the spirit out for readily available American rye whiskey instead. Some recipes for the drink even use both for an extra-boozy and complex experience. So raise your glass to the Crescent City the next time you enjoy this distinctive, satisfying drink that's earned its spot among the best old-school cocktails in need of a comeback.

Read the original article on Mashed.