The Crescent City's contribution to the American cocktail canon
By JJ Goode
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B orn in the great drinking city of New Orleans, the Sazerac is reputed to be the first cocktail ever conceived. Common wisdom has it that the drink's inventor is Antoine Peychaud, who in the 1830s opened an apothecary shop in the French Quarter, where he started selling bitters made from a family recipe. By 1838, he was serving a concoction of brandy and bitters in a vessel called a coquetier -a word that some say morphed into "cocktail."
Yet there are two problems with the standard tale: First, Peychaud may have mixed brandy and bitters, but the Sazerac wasn't really a Sazerac until it incorporated absinthe. Stanley Clisby Arthur's Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix 'Em (1937)-a sacred text on the subject-attributes the addition of this liquor to a bartender named Leon Lamothe, who may have introduced absinthe as early as 1858 orRead More »from The â€˜Bigâ€™ Story and â€˜Easyâ€™ Recipe Behind New Orlean's Famous Sazerac