The Sazerac: Here's to the Second Greatest Cocktail on Earth
There are two types of cocktail drinkers: 1) those who prefer to have the cocktail disguise the taste of liquor or; 2) those who prefer the mixture to enhance and improve the liquor. If you're in this first category, stop reading right now.
There are a few key points that make a great cocktail. It should be a mixture of elements that don't parallel each other, yet don't cancel each other out. The drinker should be able to detect a bit of each ingredient, but not be overwhelmed by too much of one. But what makes a good cocktail a great one is longevity---a cocktail that's been around for over 100 years.
Just like The Greatest Cocktail on Earth, the Martini, the Sazerac meets all the above requirements. And just like the Martini, the Sazerac's recipe has been long debated. An internet search will yield enough incorrect ingredients to start a bar fight in New Orleans. But Ted Haigh's cocktaildb.com does a good job. (Sazerac recipe link).
And as with all classic cocktails, the ritual is key: Take two rocks glasses. Fill the first with ice. In the second, combine one teaspoon of sugar, one teaspoon of water and two to three dashes of Peychaud bitters (No substitute. A Sazerac cannot be made without Peychaud). Muddle this mixture until the sugar is dissolved. Then, fill the mixture with ice. Pour in 2.5 ounces of rye whiskey. Stir vigorously. With the other glass, dump out the ice and coat the inside of the glass with pastis, then pour it out. Strain the contents of the second glass into the first, and garnish with a twist of lemon. (Some say leave the lemon in the drink, others say throw it away).
And there you have the Second Greatest Cocktail on Earth. But good luck ordering one at a bar outside of New Orleans. You may as well just use your kitchen. That's where I always find the best cocktails anyway.