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Friday Cocktail Blogging: New Orleans on mah mind

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The SuperBowl to be played between the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts this Sunday, will have at least a few certain winners from the city of New Orleans. If the Saints win – the connection is obvious, and the French Quarters will erupt. But even if Indy wins, Peyton Manning happens to hail from NOLA, as does his father – who spent a long career playing with the home team (back in the dark days when the team was mocked as the ‘Aints).

So anyhoo, all this is a long lead up to say that I’ve always had a sort of romantic longing for NO, especially after reading ‘A Confederacy of the Dunces‘ (easily one of the more underrated gems). A city with a laid back attitude, rich musical heritage, spicy food, and a number of classic cocktails does absolutely fine by me.

Of course, being a lazy ass has meant I’ve kept putting off the trip down there (In fact –  totally useless piece of personal trivia –  we we had almost made bookings for the weekend that Katrina stuck NO, and some work  made us cancel it). Oh well.

But in the spirit of celebrating Orleans, here’s the most famous cocktail from the city – and apparently, the very first cocktail to be ever invented. There are several versions of the drink , but I really liked how this one was written, so I pretty much followed the directions:

1/2 teaspoon absinthe, or Herbsaint (a New Orleans brand of anise liqueur)
1 teaspoon of simple syrup (or 1 sugar cube or 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar)
4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
1 small dash, a scant drop, of Angostura bitters (extremely optional; some feel it helps open the flavors, but traditionalists may leave it out).
2 ounces rye whiskey. (I used Old Overholt Rye)
Strip of lemon peel

And I followed the traditional method outline there, using the Herbsaint, which I was lucky to find at the local BevMo:

The traditional method: Pack a 3-1/2 ounce Old Fashioned (rocks) glass with ice. In another Old Fashioned glass, moisten the sugar cube with just enough water to saturate it, then crush. Blend with the whiskey and bitters. Add a few cubes of ice and stir to chill. Discard the ice from the first glass and pour in the Herbsaint. Coat the inside of the entire glass, pouring out the excess. Strain the whiskey into the Herbsaint coated glass. Twist the lemon peel over the glass so that the lemon oil cascades into the drink, then rub the peel over the rim of the glass; do not put the twist in the drink. Or, as Stanley Clisby Arthur says, “Do not commit the sacrilege of dropping the peel into the drink.”

It takes while to make this drink, but the effort is quite well worth it.

Edited on the morning after: I made about 6 of these last night, and seems like a good idea to go easy on the sugar. For me, about half teaspoon of sugar hit the spot.

So here to the Saints (or the Colts) and the weekend in general. Cheers.

Written by BongoP'o'ndit

February 5, 2010 at 11:16 pm

Posted in Food, Fun, Personal

Tagged with , ,

9 Responses

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  1. I get a little happy when anyone talks about Confederacy of Dunces and reading that bit made a wee bit happier. So, yeah nothing useful to add ‘cept for that bit. 😀


    February 5, 2010 at 11:30 pm

  2. Where does one get absinthe? Isn’t it illegal in the US?


    February 6, 2010 at 12:12 am

  3. @Joy: Always glad to make people happy by mentioning books. Booze and book, pretty much all there’s to life. Hic.

    @gawker: I bought Absinthe about a month ago at the liquor store and have not had anyone come and arrest me yet.
    For this drink though, I was able to find Herbsaint.

    Before you ask, I did drink the Absinthe, and no I haven’t had Kylie Minogue appear as a sexy green fairy .


    February 6, 2010 at 2:38 am

  4. I guess it must be a watered down version of the European stuff. They say it can make you hallucinate. I’ll go see if my guy has it.


    February 6, 2010 at 2:46 am

  5. @gawker: apparently the hullucinogenic properties of Absinthe are bit of a myth (check wiki, I think that’s where I found the nugget of information).


    February 6, 2010 at 3:13 am

  6. @gawker: I remember mixing Absinthe once with water and drinking a lot of it, not feeling a thing but waking up the next day to a weed-like high. Weird.


    February 6, 2010 at 3:24 am

  7. Sounds lovely! I would have liked a photo of your creation as well. I mean, 1 photo out of 6 sounds reasonable.

    Never imagines absynthe and whiskey. Sounds yum.

    @gawker it isnt illegal anymore, and doesnt make anyone hallucinate. it does look lovely and is very smooth. 🙂


    February 7, 2010 at 2:10 am

  8. @Dips: Was too drunk to take photos 😛 Will do next time I make the stuff.


    February 12, 2010 at 12:07 pm

  9. […] her to stir) – but I bowed to the fact that she’d been bartending much much longer than I’d been making Sazeracs. I ended up drinking two of her concoctions and then going back later in the week for more. Now if […]

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