In Defense of the Sazerac

By Flickr user kchrist

Following last night's fun and funny event at AEI celebrating the release of The Seven Deadly Virtues (which you should buy!), the book's editor, publisher, and a handful of the writers who contributed to it retired to a nearby eatery to eat, drink, and be merry. A good time was had by all, due (in part) to the alcohol.

But my choice of alcoholic beverage was found to be lacking by several of the eminence grises in attendance. I was denounced as girlish in taste and weak in spirit. There was much hooting and hollering after I ordered … a Sazerac.

Now, I have to admit to being quite confounded by this turn of events. After all, the Sazerac is one of the oldest cocktails, a piece of pure Americana. Here's Eric Felten, writing about the famed beverage in How's Your Drink:

It's fitting that New Orleans should have a thriving cocktail culture, given that the cocktail, not jazz, has long been claimed to be the first American art born in the Crescent City. … It may not be the World's Strongest Drink, but the Sazerac, with its spicy-sweet contradictions, is a cocktail according to the original specifications. Taste one, and you'll realize why the concept caught on.

Indeed, there is a plausible case to be made that the Sazerac is the oldest cocktail, as the book Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History details:

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In other words, the Sazerac is as American as apple pie. One sugar cube, a dash of Peychaud's bitters, two ounces of rye, and a wee bit of absinthe (or, lacking that, Herbsaint or Ricard liqueur), and you've got yourself a damn fine American original.

And yet these so-called "conservatives" lambasted the choice! Heresy, I say! Complete and utter heresy. I'm not sure why they hate America so much. Suffice it to say that I do not share their distaste for this classic slice of American history. And neither should you! The next time you find yourself in a good cocktail bar—say, The Passenger or The Gibson in D.C.—do yourself a favor and order one of these tasty concoctions. You shan't be disappointed.