Before I went to New Orleans this past week, my ENT doc who is a New Orleans native said if I was going to have one cocktail that epitomized the city it was the Sazerac and not the Hurricane.
After I got to my conference I met a lady who was a native of Lake Charles who echoed my doctor’s recommendation. She went further and said I should have it at the place it originated – the Sazerac Bar. The bartender in the Hyatt agreed and said while he could make an “almost Sazerac” that my first one should be the real thing.
I know good advice where I hear it. Since I had an ample window of time between the close of the conference and when I had to leave for the airport, I walked over to the Roosevelt Hotel and went into the Sazerac Bar.
The first thing I should say is that the Roosevelt Hotel and the Sazerac Bar are like a step back in time to an era where men wore suits, women wore hats, and elegance was the rule and not the exception. The readers of Conde Nast Traveler recently voted the Roosevelt as their 2013 Reader’s Choice for hotels in New Orleans. Even more significant is that the Sazerac Bar was named the 3rd best hotel bar in the world in the Saveur Culinary Travel 2013 Awards.
My bartender Matthew knew his way around a bar and the Sazerac he made me was phenomenal. And this was before he heard that I was from western North Carolina. His in-laws are from here and he just loves the mountains of North Carolina.
The Sazerac itself consists of Sazerac’s 6-year old rye whiskey, Peychaud’s bitters, a lump of sugar, and Herbsaint. The Sazerac was named the official cocktail of New Orleans by the Louisiana legislature back in 2008.
All I can say is that I need to go back to New Orleans not on business so that I can see more of the city and taste more of their distinctive cocktails.