Sazerac Cocktail (Wild Turkey Rye)

Sazerac Cocktail 7 out of 28.

I have challenged myself to post 28 Sazeracs in 28 days for the month of February.

I’ll try some different spirits, try some out at bars, and have some friends make them for me. Hopefully, if I can get my act together we’ll have some video.

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Sazerac Cocktail.
1 Lump of Sugar. (Generous Bar Spoon Rich Simple Syrup)
1 Dash Angostura or Peychana Bitters. (a couple dashes Peychaud’s Bitters)
1 Glass Rye or Canadian Club Whisky. (2 oz Wild Turkey Rye)

Stir well and strain into another glass that has been cooled and rinsed with Absinthe (Sirene Absinthe Verte) and squeeze lemon peel on top.

So this whole cocktail thing kind of started with the Sazerac.

I’d read about them and heard the stories, but had never really had one. Even tried to make myself one or two.

When we traveled to New Orleans for my birthday a few years back, we kind of went on a Sazerac quest. Ordering them at whatever bars would make them for us. Some good, some bad, but most not outstanding.

However, when I ordered one at d.b.a. on Frenchman Street the young bartender bothered to ask me which Rye Whiskey. When I asked for her recommendation and she said, “I’ll make it with Wild Turkey Rye, if you don’t mind,” I knew I’d found someone who thought like me.

I really like Wild Turkey Rye for drinks like Old Fashioneds and Sazeracs. There’s just something about its brawny character that especially works for me in “naked” cocktails.

So far, I’d put this as my second favorite Sazerac Cocktail of the month.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Sazerac (Old Overholt Rye)

Sazerac Cocktail 6 out of 28.

I have challenged myself to post 28 Sazeracs in 28 days for the month of February.

I’ll try some different spirits, try some out at bars, and have some friends make them for me. Hopefully, if I can get my act together we’ll have some video.

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Sazerac Cocktail.
1 Lump of Sugar. (Generous Bar Spoon Rich Simple Syrup)
1 Dash Angostura or Peychana Bitters. (a couple dashes Peychaud’s Bitters)
1 Glass Rye or Canadian Club Whisky. (2 oz Old Overholt Rye)

Stir well and strain into another glass that has been cooled and rinsed with Absinthe (Sirene Absinthe Verte) and squeeze lemon peel on top.

Old Overholt Rye Whiskey sits in the middle. A tasty enough Rye, with a good bit of character, it is mostly a bit lacking in “Oooomph”. As many a booze soaked New York dipsomaniac has lamented, a 90 or a 100 proof version of this Rye would go a long way towards resurrecting this history laden brand.

I did mention they basically only drink overproof spirits in New York, didn’t I? Something about the cold weather, I think.

Anyway, this is a perfectly fine Sazerac, and Old Overholt is just about the most likely Whiskey for a Sazerac to be made with in New Orleans, so it is worth getting to know.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Sazerac (Rittenhouse Rye)

Sazerac Cocktail 5 out of 28.

I have challenged myself to post 28 Sazeracs in 28 days for the month of February.

I’ll try some different spirits, try some out at bars, and have some friends make them for me. Hopefully, if I can get my act together we’ll have some video.

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Sazerac Cocktail.
1 Lump of Sugar. (Generous Bar Spoon Rich Simple Syrup)
1 Dash Angostura or Peychana Bitters. (a couple dashes Peychaud’s Bitters)
1 Glass Rye or Canadian Club Whisky. (2 oz Rittenhouse 100 Rye)

Stir well and strain into another glass that has been cooled and rinsed with Absinthe (Sirene Absinthe Verte) and squeeze lemon peel on top.

Rittenhouse 100 (Or sometimes called “Bonded”) seems to be the default Rye Whiskey for New York bars. Just about every time you read about a Rye Whiskey cocktail from New York, it calls for Rittenhouse 100. I’m not sure if it is the low key easy mixing nature of this whiskey that is so attractive, or the fact that it is 100 proof. Actually, I’m pretty sure the real reason is it so widely used is that it usually retails for around $15.

Unfortunately, for a long time, Rittenhouse wasn’t available on the West Coast. Even today, while it is usually available, the supplies often come and go, I guess with the whims of the distributor.

For the price, it is a very good Rye, which is flexible enough to mix well in just about any cocktail you throw at it. However, for me, it shines more in drinks like Manhattans, Brooklyns, Red Hooks, and Little Italys.

In a Sazerac, it doesn’t quite bring enough to the party. For a cocktail as naked as the Sazerac I like the Rye to have a bit more bite and character than the Rittenhouse.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Sazerac (Hudson Manhattan Rye)

Sazerac Cocktail 4 out of 28.

I have challenged myself to post 28 Sazeracs in 28 days for the month of February.

I’ll try some different spirits, try some out at bars, and have some friends make them for me. Hopefully, if I can get my act together we’ll have some video.

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Sazerac Cocktail.
1 Lump of Sugar. (Generous Bar Spoon Rich Simple Syrup)
1 Dash Angostura or Peychana Bitters. (a couple dashes Peychaud’s Bitters)
1 Glass Rye or Canadian Club Whisky. (2 oz Hudson Manhattan Rye)

Stir well and strain into another glass that has been cooled and rinsed with Absinthe (Sirene Absinthe Verte) and squeeze lemon peel on top.

One of the fun things about Sazeracs is sharing them.

It’s kind of a labor intensive cocktail, to make for one person.

However, a pitcher of Sazeracs is really only nominally more work than a single cocktail.

I didn’t quite make a pitcher, this time.

However, I couldn’t not make this version of the Sazerac for the wonderful Mrs. Flannestad. After all, a few years ago, when she was visiting New York for business, she took the train and bus all the way to Red Hook to get it for me. It used to be quite a journey to visit the storied LeNell’s liquor store.

But now, you have to go all the way to Mexico to visit LeNell at Casa Cocktel!  Makes the ride on the B61 seem not so bad.

Anyway, the Hudson Manhattan Rye makes a pretty fabulous, if a bit brawny, Sazerac.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Sazerac Cocktail (Sazerac Straight Rye)

Sazerac Cocktail 3 out of 28.

I have challenged myself to post 28 Sazeracs in 28 days for the month of February.

I’ll try some different spirits, try some out at bars, and have some friends make them for me. Hopefully, if I can get my act together we’ll have some video.

009

Sazerac Cocktail.
1 Lump of Sugar. (Generous Bar Spoon Rich Simple Syrup)
1 Dash Angostura or Peychana Bitters. (a couple dashes Peychaud’s Bitters)
1 Glass Rye or Canadian Club Whisky. (2 oz Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey, Plump Jack Barrel Select)

Stir well and strain into another glass that has been cooled and rinsed with Absinthe (Sirene Absinthe Verte) and squeeze lemon peel on top.

It’s interesting to compare the Sazerac 18 Rye with the Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey. Both are great whiskeys, and there’s definitely a familial resemblance in the character of the whiskey, but the Sazerac 18 has so much more subtlety and grace. To be honest, I’m not over fond of Sazeracs made with the Sazerac Straight. To me, this whiskey works best in Sours, not aromatic cocktails.

Still, I’m not kicking this one out of bed, even if it isn’t my favorite.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Sazerac Cocktail (Sazerac 18, 2005)

Sazerac Cocktail 2 out of 28.

I have challenged myself to post 28 Sazeracs in 28 days for the month of February.

I’ll try some different spirits, try some out at bars, and have some friends make them for me. Hopefully, if I can get my act together we’ll have some video.

007

Sazerac Cocktail.
1 Lump of Sugar. (Generous Bar Spoon Rich Simple Syrup)
1 Dash Angostura or Peychana Bitters. (a couple dashes Peychaud’s Bitters)
1 Glass Rye or Canadian Club Whisky. (2 oz Sazerac 18 Rye Whiskey, 2005)

Stir well and strain into another glass that has been cooled and rinsed with Absinthe  (Sirene Absinthe Verte) and squeeze lemon peel on top.

As part of my birthday gift to my self, in October of every year, I give Drew at the Plump Jack Wine Store in Noe Valley a call and tell him to be on the lookout for the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection. I give him my preferences for which whiskeys to save for me, usually having tried them at Whiskey Fest.

I almost always ask for the Sazerac 18 Rye, Thomas Handy Rye, William Weller Bourbon. Sometimes I splurge on a bottle of George T. Stagg (aka Hazmat).

I’ve been rationing this particular bottle of Sazerac 18 since the beginning of this little obsession. It is one of my absolute favorite Rye Whiskeys.

It makes an absolutely fabulous Sazerac, possibly my all time favorite.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Sazerac Cocktail (Pikesville Rye)

Sazerac Cocktail 1 out of 28.

I have challenged myself to post 28 Sazeracs in 28 days for the month of February.

I’ll try some different spirits, try some out at bars, and have some friends make them for me. Hopefully, if I can get my act together we’ll have some video.

003

Sazerac Cocktail.
1 Lump of Sugar. (1 lump demerara sugar)
1 Dash Angostura or Peychana Bitters. (a couple dashes Peychaud’s Bitters)
1 Glass Rye or Canadian Club Whisky. (2 oz Pikesville Rye Whiskey)

(Soak sugar cube with bitters, muddle in mixing glass and…) Stir well and strain into another glass that has been cooled, add l dash Absinthe and squeeze lemon peel on top.

This is the first Sazerac, and I followed the Savoy recipe to the letter.

Interestingly, I was reading somewhere or another about sugar. It always seems semi authentic to muddle a sugar cube, but in point of fact, it’s not very 19th century at all. In Olden Tymes, sugar would have been cut or ground from a loaf, not formed into sugar cubes. Odds are, most bartenders in the 19th century would have been using some version of gomme or simple syrup.  Possibly finely ground sugar.  Sugar cubes would have been the province of tea parties and the upper class, not most bars.

In fact, according to the wikpedia article on Henry Tate, it was not until 1872 that, “he purchased the patent from German Eugen Langen on a method of making sugar cubes, and in the same year built a new refinery in Liverpool.”  Langen may invented his patented method for forming sugar cubes a bit earlier than this, but as far as I know cubes were not widely distributed before Tate’s introduction.  Yes, the same Henry Tate whose name now graces a rather nice art gallery in London.

Pikesville and the muddled cube make for a somewhat average, if not spectacular, Sazerac.  Interestingly, I’ve recently heard rumors that Pikesville and the 80 proof version of Rittenhouse Rye Whiskey are the exact same whiskeys, just packaged in different bottles.  Hmmm.  Perhaps a side by side blind tasting is in order.  Though this Sazerac did actually kill my bottle of Pikesville.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Rock and Rye Cocktail

Rock and Rye Cocktail.
1 Glass Rye Whisky or Canadian Club. Dissolve 1 Piece of Rock Candy in it. The Juice of 1 Lemon can be added if desired.

Here’s another one that has made no sense to me. How do you dissolve a piece of rock candy in room temperature whiskey?

I started doing a bit of research about this and found a bunch of different recipes, from those as simple as the above to those which included spices and honey infused into the whiskey.

Looking over the more complicated recipes and articles, the consensus seemed to be that Rock and Rye should be flavored with Horehound and citrus. In addition, it seemed like Rock and Rye was considered some sort of home remedy for chest ailments like coughs and sore throats.

I found a couple recipes for straight horehound candies and horehound cough syrup. At that point, it occurred to me that there was no reason I couldn’t adapt my usual punch method to this beverage, substituting the horehound syrup for the tea syrup.

750ml Wild Turkey Rye
Zest 1 Lemon
Zest 1 orange
1 Cup Water
1/4 Cup Horehound
1 TBSP fresh Lemon Balm (Melissa officianalis)
1 tsp. Fennel Seed, crushed
1 Pound Honey
Rock Candy

Infuse Peels in Rye Whiskey for 24-48 hours. Bring water to a simmer, add spices, and remove from heat. Steep 15 minutes. Strain out solids. Add Honey and cool. Strain Rye off of peels and combine with spiced syrup. Filter into a clean sealable bottle. Add rock candy to bottle until it does not dissolve.

Rock And Rye

OK, as many of the horehound syrup and horehound candy recipes predicted, this is pretty bitter. Not exactly in an unpleasant way. More in a green, sagey, menthol-ish, and fairly pleasant way. Kind of like dandelion greens. Some friends also commented it was pretty sweet. I don’t see a way around that. The whole point of the “rock” in the bottles of rock and rye, is that the solution is so saturated that further sugar crystals won’t dissolve.

After running the finished product past a few more friends, LeNell Smother’s name came up as someone who made Rock and Rye. As a Rock and Rye evangelist, even. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to drop her a note, so I sent her the following question, “Recently reached the letter ‘R’ in the Savoy Cocktail Book and am researching Rock and Rye. When talking to some friends about it, your name came up as someone who had made an interesting version. I sort of treated it like a punch. I infused rye whiskey with lemon and orange peels. Made a horehound, lemon balm, and fennel seed syrup sweetened with honey. Combined the two and added rock candy to the bottles. It turned out at least interesting, but I have no real idea if it is even close to what rock and rye is supposed to taste like. How do you make it?”

She responded:

No “supposed” to taste like, in my opinion, as this was something folks just made and had sitting on the back of the bar. Not rocket science distillation. And probably everybody made it a bit differently. Some folks just sweetened up the rye with maybe lemon and nothing else…I make my rock and rye slightly different every time. It’s like cooking for me. I have a basic “recipe” but fuck around depending on what’s on hand. Sometimes I put more pineapple, sometimes none at all. Dried apricot? Raisins? The horehound can get too bitter for some people but I like it to balance out the sweetness plus it goes along with the cough suppressant notion.

Yes, funny! I was getting over some chest congestion just when making this recipe came up. Thus I can say with some authority that a rock and rye toddy is really good for chest congestion and a cough. Give it a try.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Rattlesnake Cocktail

Rattlesnake Cocktail

Rattle-Snake Cocktail.
(6 People)
4 Glasses Rye Whisky. (2 oz Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey)
The Whites of 2 Eggs. (1/2 oz Egg White)
1 Glass Sweetened Lemon Juice. (3/4 oz Lemon Juice, 1/2 oz Rich Simple Syrup)
A Few Dashes Absinthe. (Dash Verte de Fougerolles Absinthe)
(Dry shake ingredients in cocktail shaker for 15 seconds.  Add ice and…)  Shake very thoroughly and serve by straining it through a fine sieve.

It will either cure Rattlesnake bite, or kill Rattlesnakes, or make you see them.

This is a really good cocktail! The Absinthe really adds an interesting complexity to what is nothing more than a basic whiskey sour.  I also find it interesting that the instructions specifically tell you to strain it through a fine sieve.  Especially when double straining is seems so very au currant.

Interestingly, when I first worked at Flora Erik Adkins had a drink on the menu called the Fillibuster. Basically a Rye Whiskey sour with egg white, sweetened with Maple Syrup. Then when Thad Vogler opened Beretta, he put a similar drink on the menu there; changing the Whiskey and also the bitters called for. He called it the Rattlesnake.

So when I make Savoy Rattlesnakes for customers, I’m always afraid people are going to expect the Beretta version of the Rattlesnake. Especially with critics like Michael Bauer going around singing the praises of the Beretta Rattlesnake.

Maybe we should adopt the old (No. 1) and (No. 2) nomenclature to differentiate these species of Rattlesnake.

WMF Parisian Shaker

The pretty device above is a WMF Parisian shaker I got from Cocktail Kingdom. I’ve wanted a Parisian Shaker for some time, but the only way to get them was to order them from incredibly expensive restaurant suppliers in Europe.

Now that I’ve got one, I’m not sure.  Definitely an egg white cocktail wasn’t the place to start. The reverse pressure created by dry shaking the egg white, resulted in a fair bit of leakage. Not pretty. This is a device I am going to have to adjust my shaking style to, before I am willing to use it in public. So the jury is still out. It is very shiny and fancy looking!

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Manhattan Cocktail (No. 2)

Manhattan Cocktail No. 2

MANHATTAN COCKTAIL. (No. 2.)

1 Dash Angostura Bitters.
2/3 Canadian Club Whisky. (1 1/2 oz Pikesville Rye Whiskey. Sorry Canadians.)
1/3 Ballor Italian Vermouth. (3/4 oz Carpano Antica Vermouth)

Shake (I stirred) well, strain into cocktail glass, with cherry. (Uh, oops. And damn I have some really good cherries!).

(Named after the island on which New York City Stands.)

Anyway, this, to me, is pretty much the quintessential Manhattan.

2/3 Rye Whiskey, 1/3 Italian Vermouth, with a dash of bitters. If I had to pick one cocktail that I was gonna be stuck with for the rest of my life, this would be it.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.