Fat Tuesday is coming to San Francisco, by PlumpJack Wine & Spirits. New Orleans boasts a rich cocktail history with a number of classic drinks that the Crescent City is famous for. Many are seeing a renaissance with new quality ingredients from the craft cocktail boom of the last decade. As Mardi Gras approaches, now is a great time to sip these cocktails and take a liquid vacation to NOLA and “laissez les bon temps rouler!” Join us for a Fat Tuesday celebration on Tuesday, February 17th from 6-9 PM at Matrix Fillmore to indulge in these richly storied cocktails and nosh on some classic Cajun snacks.
Most famous of the New Orleans cocktails is the Sazerac. Much like someone who imbibes a few Sazeracs, the drink’s history is a bit hazy. The story goes that it was made with Sazerac de Forge et Fils Cognac originally, and rye whiskey was substituted after the vine disease phylloxera destroyed European vineyards used to produce the brandy. New Orleans’s own Peychaud’s bitters contributes heady cherry and anise aromas to the drink while absinthe adds it’s herbaceous licoricey perfume. Some claim it’s America’s oldest cocktail but cocktail historian David Wondrich disputes that saying that the Sazerac as we know it today didn’t even exist in the middle of the 1800’s. What we do know is that a well-made Sazerac is undoubtedly delicious. Here’s our recipe:
2 oz Rye Whiskey
.50 oz Simple Syrup
3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
dash of Absinthe
Garnish: Lemon Twist
Add rye, simple syrup, and bitters to a mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled.
Strain into an absinthe rinsed glass and add garnish.
The Ramos Gin Fizz is another NOLA classic and perhaps deserves more credit than its more popular comrade the Sazerac. Henry C. Ramos, inventor of the Ramos Gin Fizz, was a celebrated native New Orleanian, a well-loved fellow, and was famous for his creation at the time. The drink is a textural delight and a pleasure to drink when vigorously shaken within an inch of its life. Here’s our recipe:
Ramos Gin Fizz
2 oz Gin
.50 oz Heavy Cream
.50 oz Lemon Juice
.50 oz Lime Juice
.50 oz Simple Syrup
1 egg white
3-4 drops Orange Flower Water
1 oz Soda Water (for topping)
In a large cocktail shaker, combine all ingredients (except soda water) Shake vigorously without ice for 30 seconds. Add ice and shake for another 30 seconds. Strain into a tall glass filled with ice and top with soda water. Add a orange slice or orange twist for garnish.
Look no further than Bourbon St. to see dozens and dozens of abominations of the Hurricane cocktail. What today is typically a boozy slushy in a plastic cup, the drink has a much more vibrant history. A relative of the Daiquiri, the classic Hurricane is a concoction of rum, passion fruit syrup, and fresh lemon juice. It was created by tavern owner Pat O’Brien in the 1940’s to help him get rid of all of the less popular rum that local distributors forced him to purchase before he was allowed to buy more novel spirits like bourbon or scotch.
The drink was served in hurricane lamp-shaped glasses and caught on as a French Quarter classic. We asked friends at one of our favorite local distilleries, Charbay, to help craft a modern take on the Hurricane. Johnny Marrs created this take on a particularly windy day on Spring Mountain in Napa:
Charbay “Spring Mountain” Hurricane
.50 oz Charbay Tahitian Vanilla Rum
.50 oz Charbay Raspberry Vodka
1 oz Caña
.25 oz Passion Fruit Syrup from The Perfect Puree Napa Valley
2 oz Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
Combine ingredients over ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously and pour over ice in a rocks or collins glass. Float .50 oz Charbay Pomegranate Dessert Wine on top. And Add a orange peel and cherry for garnish.