I attended a national conference today that is going on here in NOLA (yay!). At day end, a small group of us headed to Cafe Adelaide for drinks. Walking in, it was impressive to see this ice block slowly melting in the center of the bar:
Having done research, I went with the Cocktail Chicks’ recommendation and ordered The Adelaide Swizzle:
It’s pink. And strong. And totally yummy. The Cocktail Chicks tell in their book that it contains amber rum, lime juice, Peychaud’s bitters, Simple Syrup, club soda and a secret ingredient. I did not expect it to be pink. This kept the men in our group from ordering it (their loss!). I have no idea what that secret ingredient is. Pink lemonade? I don’t know and I don’t care. Even if I knew the ingredient, I know it would not taste as good made at home as made in a bar that has a melting block of ice.
After two Adelaide Swizzles, we headed to dinner at Luke. The first order of business was getting drink orders in. I started on water. One of the women near me order a Sazerac. I have only had one Sazerac ever, and it was at The Fairmont Hotel (pre-Katrina–it is currently being renovated to become The Plaza) at their Sazerac Bar (fitting, eh?). I remember this drink being very strong and bitter. But lately I have been wanting to give this “granddaddy of cocktails” another try.
The Sazerac was created by Antoine Peychaud (the same Peychaud whose bitters were in my Adelaide Swizzle) here in New Orleans. He was a pharmacist and served his concoction as a cure for stomachaches. Peychaud’s Sazerac contained absinthe; absinthe became illegal in the U.S. in 1912. He served his drink in eggcups, called “coquetiers” in French. New Orleanians struggled with that French word and called it “cock-tay.” And thus was born the cocktail. How cool is that story?
Well, when that Sazerac was ordered, I was tempted. But, thought I, get it someplace known for it. The waiter began to discuss the Sazerac, explaining what was in it. He explained what Herbsaint was—an anise flavored liquor—that is used in place of absinthe. But then the waiter mentioned something I had not known: absinthe is legal again in America. Wha-wha-wha-what?? How do I not know these things? Pete tells me the answer is because I don’t listen as he told me this just days prior.
Anyway, the waiter proceeded to say that he had no idea how long it’d be legal in the U.S. (I had this sense that it could have been in the process of being banned before we finished dinner so I’d better not hesitate) and that it contains some chemical that is also found in pesticide. And I could have a real Sazerac with absinthe for $13. Of course, you know I ordered one:
It was very strong. And very smooth. And much better than the one I had years prior.
We all enjoyed our delicious dishes. Then I walked the group to House of Blues (thanks for the recommendation, Stacey) and headed home exhausted. I woke up today with a sore throat. I am sure it had nothing to do with the absinthe. Mostly.