The famous art deco Sazerac Bar in New Orleans’ Roosevelt hotel honors the world’s first mixed drink with a historic watering hole that was once the headquarters of the city’s famed governor Huey Long.
New Orleans is home to America’s first cocktail, the Sazerac. Originally a mix of cognac and a local bitters recipe from French Quarter druggist Antoine Amedie Peychaud, the drink became all the rage in New Orleans in the 1850s. Legend has it, Peychaud served his mixed drink in a large egg cup, called a “Coqutier,” from which we get the word cocktail. Today made with Sazerac rye whiskey instead of brandy, the cocktail has its spiritual home at the sumptuous Sazerac Bar in the Roosevelt Hotel.
Decorated with chandeliers and wall-length murals by 1930s artist Paul Ninas, the art deco bar originally stood over the sight of America’s first ever night club, The Cave, which was flooded during Hurricane Katrina. Famed Louisiana Governor Huey Long, the original Kingfish, was so enamored by the bar that he lived on the 12th floor of the hotel and conducted many of his meetings downstairs in it. The preserved bullet hole in the wall was actually made by one of Long’s over eager bodyguards. His favored drink was the Ramos Gin Fizz. On a business trip to New York, Long was staying at the New Yorker hotel on 8th Avenue, the supposed home of the Ramos Gin Fizz. Upon tasting their cocktail, Long immediately called the Sazerac Bar back home with orders to “send his best gin fizzer to New York by plane so he could teach these New York sophisticates how and what to drink.”
One visit to the elegant surroundings of the Sazerac bar, and it’s easy to picture yourself in the heyday of 1920’s New Orleans high society.