I’ve discovered a new favorite cocktail, the Sazerac from Village Whiskey, a Jose Garces restaurant, with locations in Philly and The Revel Casino in Atlantic City. Created long ago in New Orleans, a basic Sazerac includes rye whiskey, 2 kinds of bitters, simple syrup (or crushed sugar cube & water) and a twist of lemon. A double old-fashioned glass is rinsed with absinthe, and then the cocktail is strained into the glass and served neat. I’ve been told whiskey should be stirred not shaken, the opposite of the James Bond martini. Here’s a little history, compliments of Esquire magazine if you’re interested.
What makes the Village Whiskey version outstanding is their orange and vanilla infused rye whiskey. Smooth and just a little sweet, this is a sipping drink, not to be thrown back like shots or enjoyed through a straw like other fruity cocktails. This is an old-fashioned whiskey cocktail meant to be savored like a good scotch.
When I was at the restaurant, I asked to speak with the bartender hoping to learn how to make a Sazerac at home. She was happy to share their secret. After visiting 2 liquor stores and placing a special order for the Peychaud’s bitters, I had everything needed. I gathered from the bartender that brand mattered, so I stuck to their specific instructions.
Don’t be turned off by the need to infuse your whiskey. It’s super easy and when done, you’ll have it for a long time to enjoy. Kinda makes you feel like a mixologist.
INGREDIENTS TO INFUSE THE WHISKEY
- 1 bottle Old Overholt Rye Whiskey
- 1 large navel orange, peeled in strips with a vegetable peeler
- 1 whole vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
- 1 decanter or decorative bottle
Slip the strips of orange peel directly into the bottle of whiskey. Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds. Put the seeds and the pod into the whiskey bottle. Put the lid back on the bottle and turn to distribute the orange and vanilla. Let sit for 48 hours to infuse.
Line a funnel with a few layers of cheese cloth and place it over a decanter or other decorative bottle. Pour the infused whiskey through the funnel to strain out the orange and vanilla bean. That’s it! Store with your other liquor and enjoy.
INGREDIENTS TO MAKE A VILLAGE WHISKEY SAZERAC
- 3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
- 1/2 oz simple syrup
- 2 oz infused rye whiskey
- Vieux Carre absinthe, to rinse the glass
Pour the first 4 ingredients over a couple of ice cubes in a glass and stir… no shaking. In a separate double old-fashioned, pour a few drops of the Vieux Carre absinthe and turn to coat the glass. Dump out any remaining. Strain the Sazerac into the glass. Garnish with a twist of orange.
HOW TO MAKE SIMPLE SYRUP
Equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and stir until the sugar completely dissolves. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator. It’s great to have on hand for making all kinds of drinks. I usually make a 1 cup water to 1 cup sugar ratio, it makes the perfect amount.
And there you have a Village Whiskey Sazerac. Be careful, they’re deceivingly strong. Enjoy!