I may have had a favorite cocktail in the past (Manhattan? Or I do love a caipirinha…) It’s hard to choose, but since I’ve become a regular whiskey drinker, I am obsessed with the sazerac.
This drink is more famously from a specific place than most cocktails. It’s a New Orleans cocktail and NOLA seems to have the reputation for making the best sazeracs still. I haven’t been there yet, but when I go, I’ll do my best to find out if it’s true. It will probably require extensive research.
An absinthe rinse is one of two defining features of this cocktail. You can also use Pernod or Herbsaint for the rincse. I held off on this cocktail for a long time because I was turned off by the price of absinthe. Pernod and Herbsaint are cheaper, but I found a less expensive absinthe and ended up going with that one. I am so far from being an absinthe expert: the only reason I bought it was so I could make this cocktail. I’m sure I”ll figure out some other ways to use it in the future.
The other non-negotiable is the Peychaud’s bitters, which were created in New Orleans. To me, on its own, Peychaud’s smells a little more medicinal than say, an Angostura bitters. But something about the cherry-ish flavor of the bitters combines with the absinthe to make an absolutely addicting aroma. It’s hard to explain. Cherry, lemon, whiskey and anise. Somehow it works.
This cocktail is one of the best examples of the perfect portrait the right combination of very nuanced ingredients can become. I would not drink either these bitters or the absinthe on its own (obviously the whiskey is a different story). But all together (and especially with the lemon) they make an amazing blend of flavors.