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Perfect Sazerac?

My husband and I just drank Sazeracs all over New Orleans and we want to find a great one here in Boston, preferably on the Cambridge side of the river.
We are not experts, but even in NOLA, some tasted expertly composed and others were just terrible!

Anyone know where to go? No, I don't care if there is thujone in my absinthe, I just want it to taste delicious. (I see some mentions in the archives, but it is scattershot.)

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  1. Deep Ellum in Allston or Eastern Standard in Kenmore Square should be able to hook you up nicely.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ScubaSteve

      Last time I was at DE the bartender put sweet vermouth in my Saz and served it in a martini glass... wasn't the biggest fan of that. Every other drink I had was pretty great though!

      1. re: ponyboy

        Funny, I had the opposite experience recently at Deep Ellum. The very young bartender who took my order made me nervous: after all, who at 21 or 22 knows how to make a proper Sazerac? But she had obviously been very well trained, diligently followed the canonical recipe as I watched. Shame on me for my ageism.

    2. My Partner in Crime ordered a sazerac at Hungry Mother the other night. Whether it was perfect, I have no idea--I don't know from sazeracs. But they were excited to have someone order one.

      1. IMO your two top bets for classic cocktails in this city are Green Street in Cambridge and Eastern Standard in Boston. I'd also look at this list of bartenders: http://drinkboston.com/bartenders/ and look at the bars they're all working at to get a larger sense.

        1. I'd guess that Green Street in Central Square would be a good bet - especially if it's a night when Andy is working.

          1 Reply
          1. re: heathermb

            I've had it and it's great. Granted, it was made by Misty, so maybe Andy's would be even more sublime?

          2. John's at No. 9 or Misty's at Green Street. They're both sazerac experts and probably enjoying one in NOLA as we speak.

            3 Replies
            1. re: hsquare2southend

              I've seen John drinking sazeracs at Green Street two times in the last month.

              I also saw Misty make a Toronto for John using Black Maple Hill. That must have been a tremendous drink.

              I can't personally vouch for the Green St. sazeracs because I usually order other things, but John's endorsement is good enough for me.

              I have had great sazeracs at ESK.

              1. re: DoubleMan

                The Toronto is one of those cocktails that seemed like a terrible idea to me on paper. I'm glad I was researching a rye cocktails article for The Dig at the time, or I might have been loath to try it. Turns out it can be a terrific cocktail, though the balancing act is a tricky thing. I called it a "prize fight in a cocktail glass": two really strong flavors battling for the upper hand, with a little simple syrup offering a subtle softening undercurrent. (It helps if you like Fernet just a little bit.) Misty is a local treasure, a phenom.

                1. re: MC Slim JB

                  Ahh, yes. I love the Toronto. But them I'm biased, my love affair began at - as always - at No 9 Park with John introducing me to this cocktail. I've also had his version of a 'deconstructed' Toronto, topped with a fernet-brown sugar foam.

            2. One of my favorite cocktails. Not on the Cambridge side, but for perfect sazeracs, I second the recs for No 9 Park, and Eastern Standard. At ES, Jackson (bar manager) has told me that it's his favorite drink to make.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Rubee

                I have to agree that any of the above listed restaurants will pull off a sazerac well. I was at ES last week and, as usual, all the drinks were well prepared and delicious. Had two saz's as a matter of fact. A tad on the sweeter side (prefer them a bit drier) and, while a well made drink, disappointed to discover they are rinsed with pastis and not absinthe. By the time I found this out, the second one had arrived. I moved on to a sublime pisco sour (complete with spoon to get all the meringue) and a delicious hanky panky (gin, sweet vermouth and dashes of fernet branca)

                NB got to sample some of the new Plymouth sloe gin as well.

                1. re: Noreaster

                  Pastis, Absinthe, Herbsaint, and Pernod are all acceptable rinses. Everyone does them differently... and I think that's fine.

                  1. re: Noreaster

                    Eastern Standard's recipe is 2 oz whiskey and 1 oz of simple syrup which is on the upper range of all Sazerac recipes I have seen (average is a single sugar cube/1 tsp granulated sugar or around 1/4 oz simple syrup). You can ask for less simple in the drink, but you have to know from experience to do so.


                    1. re: yarm

                      Oh yeah, that's sweet.

                      Misty at Drink made me a Vieux Carre when I asked for something a step away from a Sazerac, and I have to say, it was fantastic. Despite having no added sugar, it was a bit sweeter than a sazerac.

                      1. re: dulce de leche

                        I have had the Vieux Carre at ESK as well as their Sazerac, they do a great job with both. I was in New Orleans last week and had both drinks a few times, ahem. Well a couple of times, haha. The quality varied, but the Vieux Carre at Hotel Monteleone, where it was invented, is great, and i think the Sazeracs at Napoleon House are the model for ESK's version (not sure about that though).

                        1. re: dulce de leche

                          Really depends on who makes the Sazerac for sweetness. The Vieux Carre is almost a third sweet vermouth which is 15% sugar alone. Another New Orleans-style favorite of mine is the Cocktail a la cocktail Louisiane (its on the big cocktail menu at Green Street).

                          And a less New Orleans version of the Vieux Carre and a very solid drink is the Saratoga.

                  2. I'm inexperienced with Sazeracs, certainly with New Orleans ones, but I remember being quite happy with on at the Oak Bar at the Fairmont Copley Hotel one February night.

                    1. I'd also agree with Deep Ellum. I think their cocktails (and their bartenders) are spot on.

                      1. I've had good ones at No. 9, ESK, and Deep Ellum. I know they could do a proper one at Green Street and the B-Side. The one I had at Highland Kitchen was too sweet. The worst one I've had in town was at The Beehive, which surprised me, as their bartending is usually excellent.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                          ITA with ES and i had one at Kingston station a few months back that was good..

                          Beehive really? I had Frank make me one about a year ago...maybe he isnt at the hive any more....

                        2. I make 'em at home. Easy to make. Only tricky part is getting Peychaud's bitters.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: StriperGuy

                            mail order, i got two bottles right now.

                            1. re: ScubaSteve

                              Brix usually tries to stock Peychaud's, along with the Sazerac 6 yr. I have also seen them in other stores, like the Porter Sq liquor store, but with less frequency than Fee's (which for some reason someone else claims are harder to find, but the Orange at least seems easy to get). And you might be able to get some from one of the bartenders mentioned. Its more fun to hunt them out locally, but that said, its pretty easy online... kegworks.com.

                              1. re: itaunas

                                Thanks for posting this. I had forgotten that I was going to create a post a while back asking where to get Peychaud's, as I have had the hardest time finding it myself.

                            2. re: StriperGuy

                              Downtown Liquors in Davis Sq has these and Orange (as well as blood orange?) bitters, and they are friendly, informed, and helpful as well!

                              1. re: rlh

                                Yeah, Downtown expanded their liquor section a few months back and have a bunch of good things there. Worth checking out if you haven't been in a while.

                            3. Not to stop the flow in any way, but: thank you! There is a depth of cocktail geekiness here that I had not appreciated. So much knowledge! I appreciate it.

                              I know enough of the bartenders you mentioned to get a good start on my in-person research.

                              What's your recipe, striperguy?

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: dulce de leche

                                Oh gosh, it's easy...

                                Chill your glass

                                Rinse glad with Pernod (or anisey drink of your choice.)

                                Rub the rim with lemon peel

                                1/2 teaspoon simple syrup (or none at all, I like 'em dry)

                                In cocktail shaker 2-3 dashes Peychaud's bitters

                                1 dash angostura bitters (though some would say this is not stricktly authentic)

                                2 oz. of Rye I use either Jim Beam Yellow Label or old Overcoat (er. Overholt)

                                Shake like the dickens

                                True sazerac is just poured, strained into the pre-rinsed glass, sans ice.

                                I go either way and some times have it straight up, sometimes on the rocks.


                                1. re: StriperGuy

                                  Don't shake... stir!!! I had a shaken Saz at a bar a little while back and was horrified when I saw it being made, but it was actually quite nice with the ice chips and a little less boozy.

                                2. re: dulce de leche

                                  Folks, please start a new thread on the Spirits board to discuss Sazerac recipes. Thanks for helping us keep this board focused on finding great chow and drinks in Boston.

                                3. After all this talk about Sazeracs, a couple of us checked out the version at Kingston Station last night. Incredibly well-balanced and smooth, I really liked it. I still may prefer the version at Green Street, but this one was darn good.

                                  1. Just reporting in:
                                    had a Sazerac at the B-Side poured by Russ, who took pride in his mixing. It was a little bit too sweet for me, but v. good. I preferred the one at Hungry Mother--the bartender actually came over to our table to see who had ordered it because he likes making them so much.

                                    Both used Old Overholt Rye; at Hungry Mother, the glass was rinsed with Absinthe, I didn't get more info from Russ on what else he put in it.

                                    The bartenders at Central Kitchen couldn't make one, they said. I haven't tried anywhere else yet!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: dulce de leche

                                      BSide rinses with Pernod. They also use simple syrup in their Sazeracs, which often times leads to an tad sweet drink as compared to a sugar cube.

                                    2. Noir in Cambridge makes a decent one.

                                      1. We were in town a few weeks ago. Had a Sazerac at the bar at the Mandarin Hotel (M Bar?). Now, it's not on their drink list, but my hubby asked if the bartender could make a one. After getting a very confident reply to the affirmative, we watched (in semi-shock) as the drink was made with three kinds of bitters (angostura, orange and peychaud's), seltzer (!), bourbon and a healthy dollop of pastis (floated across the top). It was then garnished with an orange, lemon and maraschino cherry (the bright red kind).

                                        The bartender was well intentioned, told us the French bar manager wanted to take a "French" approach to this cocktail - whatever that meant. It was drinkable, but it was not a Sazerac, that's for sure.

                                        I had a nice Aviation BTW.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Sunday Cook

                                          That is wrong at SO many levels - was it also on the rocks in a martini glass? Did you pay for that? If so, what generosity and kindness! The Mandarin Hotel bar is really low on my list of spots to try now!

                                          1. re: rlh

                                            It was served on the rocks.

                                            We said something to the bartender and he offered to make something else, but we stuck with it. It was very anise-y due to all the pastis, but drinkable. The Aviation I ordered was good (was made old style with Creme de Violette).

                                            I would give the bar a try, just stick to the drinks on their drink menu (my Aviation was) and don't go "off the list."

                                            And yes, we did pay for it. 2 drinks = $30. That's the main reason the Mandarin is low on my list of spots to return to.

                                        2. Its funny that this thread has popped back up since I have been on a Sazerac kick this past week or so. The best I have had was one made by John at Drink, Green Street also makes a good one. The worst was last night at Marliave, much too sweet.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Matt H

                                            Funny - me, too - the one Josie crafted at Drink last night was pretty great (really loved her bergamot twist!), but I thought the one at Eastern Standard last weekend was way too sweet and not subtle enough . I prefer the sugar cube muddle and Herbsaint combo Josie used to the syrup and Pernod combo ES employed. I do definitely prefer Michtner's (sp?) for this cocktail to the Old Overholt Josie used and the Sazerac brand ES used - had it in Miami at Sra Martinez and loved it most of all.