Crescent City Cocktails

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BarnesLegally the official cocktail of New Orleans, the Sazerac has seen a great revival in the last few years, which I am thrilled to see. This blend of absinthe, cognac, and Peychaud’s Bitters, mixed with a single sugar cube, is the stuff of the gods. Although bourbon has recently been replacing the cognac, the classic brandy recipe is the way to do it. It’s hard to imagine a time when this is not a suitable drink to slowly take in. The most captivating moment, perhaps, is in the making, the absinthe wash. Like nearly all above proof spirits, absinthe dominates the taste – but by just having a wash of the green fairy, the Sazerac takes all the flavour and none of the strength, blending it with the sweeter tasting Peychaud’s to round things off nicely.



  • 2 ounces Remy Martin VSOP
  • 1 sugar cube
  • 4 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
  • A splash of La Fee Bohemian Absinthe
  • Lemon garnish


  • Chill an Old Fashioned glass with ice and water
  • In a separate glass, begin to dissolve the sugar cube in the cognac
  • Add 4 dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters to the cognac and bitters
  • Add ice and stir until chilled
  • Empty the Old Fashioned glass of all ice and water
  • Add a splash of absinthe and begin to wash or coat the glass in the spirit
  • Pour off any excess absinthe
  • Fine strain the cognac into the Old Fashioned glass – all-important as the Sazerac is traditionally served without ice

The Vieux Carré is a drink which takes its name from where it was first made – the “Old Square”, one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city of New Orleans. Like the Big Easy itself, this sophiscated, spirit-driven cocktail packs a real punch for a boozy party atmosphere. A fun combination of bourbon, cognac and bitters is suddenly finished with a distinctive splash of Benedictine and vermouth to really get those taste buds working. Invented in 1938 by Walter Bergeron, the head bartender at the Monteleone Hotel, it’s built for sipping, and the use of a large single ice cube and a generous lemon twist make this drink visually stunning. Whilst many variations suffer from over-dilution to tame the potent taste, the original really does separate the men from the boys.


  • 25ml Makers Mark bourbon
  • 25ml Remy Martin VSOP cognac
  • 1/4 shot Benedictine DOM liqueur
  • 25ml Martini Rosso
  • 1 dash Angostura Bitters
  • 1 dash Peychaud’s Bitters


  • Add all ingredients to a chilled Old Fashioned glass and stir over ice
  • Use one single large piece of ice to slow dilution
  • Garnish with a lemon twist

You can serve this one on the rocks, neat or, in a chilled martini glass.


Main image courtesy of

Sazerac image modified from Aaron Gustafson