The dinner-jacketed bartender rattles his shaker with a few nonchalant flicks of the wrist before straining the mix into a row of thirsty-looking rocks glasses. The bar’s yellow lights catch the warm amber of the liquid, softly illuminating that most N’awlins of New Orleans cocktails: the Sazerac, a potent blend of rye whiskey, bitters, and sugar.
I’m on a cocktail tour of the city, about to sip my second libation of the day here in The Roosevelt’s Sazerac Bar.
Ask anyone who appreciates a well-crafted cocktail and they’ll tell you, most likely over a drink or two, that this city is the place to be. This is, according to legend, where it all began: the Sazerac is believed to be the world’s first cocktail, concocted by local apothecary Antoine Peychaud in 1838. He served his after-hours creation in an eggcup or coquetier, which (so the story goes) evolved into the common byword for mixed drinks.
Whatever the truth, there are few more beguiling places to sip and savor than in NOLA, as the locals call it, and few more stylish places to perch yourself than in one of the city’s sophisticated hotel bars.