The Sazerac Bar

by RJ Peristere

Horns are blasting, cheer is in the air, beads clog the lively streets, an unabashedly loud crowd marches past hooting and hollering and taking the Mardi Gras spirit. But as you open the doors to The Roosevelt Hotel and older and more regal New Orleans awaits you. Polished marble combined with tasteful golden chandeliers transport you back to the Gilded Age. The flip flops and cut off tees are swapped in favor of a nice coat and penny loafers. Elegance and style over drunken buffoonery, the class you expect from a Southern City finally emerges.

Roosevelt Hotel

The Sazerac Bar at the Roosevelt hotel is truly special. A premium experience that draws on the history of New Orleans as a cocktail destination. After all, the world's first mixed drink was crafted in these hallow grounds. Before we dive deeper in the Sazerac Bar...

What is a Sazerac?

History of Sazerac Cocktail

In the early 1830's the French apothecary Antoine Peychaud designed the Sazerac. Peychaud crafted this beautiful cocktail originally for friends to try his recipe for a flavored elixir, which they called Peychaud’ s bitters. By 1850 Peychaud had become famous by making Sazerac and had become a renowned drink across New Orleans. Initially the cocktail was made with brandy and then over the years was switched to rye.

Sazerac Ingredients

A true Sazerac cocktail, like the one made at the Sazerac Bar, is made of three simple ingredients : Rye whiskey, Absinthe splash or spray, and Peychaud's Bitters. Also a lemon peel for garnish.

Classical Ambiance

The Sazerac Bar in the Roosevelt Hotel truly transports you to an older era of cocktail drinking. While the decor has been updated and is plenty spacious, the waiters are impeccably dressed and know the cocktail menu like the back of their hand. Which is a strange saying because how well do we really know the back of our hand? Either way, these waiters know the menu well. Obviously we suggest ordering a Sazerac or Ramos Gin Fizz. Afterall, the Ramos Gin Fizz was invented on these special grounds by Henry C. Ramos of course.

Sazerac Bar, New Orleans

The Art Deco style art work on the bar is truly striking as well. The depictions of Congo square in a Deco style is truly amazing combination. The type of art you expect to see in New York City, not necessarily New Orleans. The African walnut bar is truly beautiful as is quite long so it won't be too difficult to find a seat or two.

Beyond the Sazerac and Ramos Gin Fizz, the bartenders at the Sazerac Bar can whip up just about any cocktail.

The Sazerac Bar, bar

What makes New Orleans special is almost everything but Bourbon street. Yes, we still recommend you stroll down the famous alley, but know that Bourbon is like Times Square or Las Vegas. Overly commercialized, terrible cocktails (the hurricane at Pat O'Briens is awful), and generally filled with people who are too drunk...not to say that hasn't been us.

But what makes the Roosevelt Hotel and the Sazerac Bar special is its refuge from the craziness that is Bourbon and the reminder of what New Orleans is truly about. Elegance, class, and a by gone sophistication that we yearn for in our great cities.

What Bar Invented the Sazerac?

While the Roosevelt Hotel didn't invent the Sazerac. That was Peychaud at his apothecary store on Royal Street. The Roosevelt Hotel's Sazerac bar did invent the Ramos Gin Fizz. The Gin Fizz was an enormously popular drink across the United States. The top hotel bars strove to make the perfect Gin Fizz, however a Bartender by the name of Henry C. Ramos stole the show.

During 1888 at the Imperial Cabinet Saloon, Ramos unveiled his signature take on the Gin Fizz, however, his concoction took approximately 12 minutes to create. The New Orleans' drink at one point became so popular it required over 30 bartenders working at once to shake hundreds of Fizz. Following the big parties, Mardi Gras etc, the bartenders would lament that "they nearly shook their arms off". Generating the perfect foam is no easy feat. His concoction eventually assumed his name and we were left with the delicious Ramos Gin Fizz.

Imperial Cabinet Saloon, bar

The Sazerac Bar Dress Code

The Sazerac Bar does not strictly enforce a dress code, however people are dressed very nicely. Expect southern style clothing manners, bowties, loafers, dresses and pearls.

How to Make a Sazerac

In case you can't make it to New Orleans any time soon...Let's make a Sazerac at home. It's a relatively simple cocktail to make but requires very specific ingredients, like Absinthe. So some minor preparation in key to this cocktail.

Sazerac Recipe

Ingredients :

  • Absinthe

  • 2 Dashes of Peychaud's Bitters

  • 2 Ounces Rye Whiskey

  • 1/2 Ounce of Simple Syrup

  • A Lemon Peel

Directions : 

  • Rinse chilled glass in Absinthe

  • Dash in Peychaud's bitters

  • Add simple syrup and rye

  • Stir

  • Serve Up

The Sazerac Bar Address

The Sazerac Bar is conveniently located near the French Quarter on 130 Roosevelt Way, New Orleans, LA 70112.

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