My buddy Matt is celebrating one of those big milestone birthdays today. Out of respect for my elder, I won’t say which one, but I will say he is remarkably well-preserved for such an advanced age. The thing is, they had planned a big kickoff to the next decade with a trip to JazzFest to party in style. Like so many plans this year, JazzFest isn’t happening today and Matt and Julie are celebrating from home. So tonight we are gonna raise a traditional New Orleans cocktail to him and for all of our friends we wish we could be singing and dancing with in the Crescent City tonight. So crank up some Dr. John and enjoy the classic Sazerac.
Luckily, my new mixing pitcher and julep strainer arrived Friday or we’d be eating popcorn and drinking hurricanes, which there is nothing wrong with. First off, your gonna want to set the mood, I’d suggest Harry Connick Jr and Dr. John’s wonderful version of “Do you Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans?” Grab a chilled rocks glass and add 1-2 sprays of absinthe and toss in some ice. I keep Corsair Red Absinthe in an atomizer just for cocktails, cause I don’t drink the stuff myself. If you prefer you can add a teaspoon or so to the glass and slosh it around, anyway set that aside. Next, grab that mixing pitcher and you’re gonna want about a quarter ounce of simple syrup, some folks would use a sugar cube and water, but I don’t keep the cubed stuff around. Then add 4-5 stabs of Peychaud’s Bitters, 2 ounces of Rye whiskey, I went with Crater Lake Reserve. Add ice and stir till well blended. Grab your rocks glass and dump the ice and absinthe. Using a julep strainer slowly pour your cocktail into the glass and express some fresh lemon peel over it. This just means to squeeze it to release the oils in the skin. Twist that lemon peel up and drop it in and your ready to sit in a quiet corner and watch the world go by, enjoying the incredible aroma of this classic drink. Think about how the room spins at the Hotel Monteleone bar, before you’ve had you’re first drink, how good the green ones are and how much we’re gonna enjoy cafe au lait and beignets when this is all over. Oh, and don’t forget to wish Matt a happy birthday from quarantine. Stay home, stay safe and stay sane, my friends