Whisky Magazine Issue 133
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New Orleans, Louisiana... ‘The Big Easy'
Cocktails have always had a deep and mysterious history and some spirit historians dedicate their lives to discovering the truth, digging up old journals and trying to separate the contradicting information available. It is agreed that a handful of cities such as New Orleans, London, Paris and New York have been a hub for the burgeoning cocktail scene for centuries. As part of a series I will glimpse into each city's history and discover their link to famous whisky cocktails, how bartenders have pulled inspiration from these cocktail hubs spread across the world and how important spirit history is to the cocktail movement.
For a long time, it was believed that NOLA was the birthplace of the cocktail with the creation of the Sazerac in the 1830s by an apothecary named Antoine Peychaud. Mr Peychaud sold his homemade bitters and discovered they worked wonders with Cognac, water and sugar. These bitters are still commonly used today. He measured his concoctions with a ‘coquetier', a French term meaning egg cup, which led many to believe that this was the origin of the word cocktail; hence the great pride of NOLA being the birthplace of cocktails.
Unfortunately, a recent discovery showed that the word cocktail was used for the first time in a New York newspaper as early as 1806. While NOLA isn't the birthplace of cocktails, its heritage is invaluable. An explantion follows which will introduce you to original, inspired cocktails and which offers you a view of the creative...