Sazeraca: a little bit of New Orleans in Montone

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No, it’s not a mis-spelling!
Sazerac is the signature cocktail of New Orleans. It’s a simple drink: rye, Peychaud bitters, an absinthe rinse in the glass, simple syrup and a twist. It’s one of those cocktails that are more than just a sum of its parts: it becomes a unique entity.  One of my missions when I was in New Orleans was to taste an authentic Sazerac, and I was quite studious in my research, finally deciding that DOA made the best Sazerac, even if the waitress did a little bit of the BPM (bitch, piss, moan) about how much trouble it is to make a Sazerac. Part of the secret is getting the glass very cold, and the rest is skill and finesse.

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Here in the High Tiberina Valley (or Altatiberina in Italian) cocktails are more of a novelty, there is a standard issue cocktail menu, and I haven’t met a bartender yet who would qualify to be called a mixologist. All summer it’s been a challenge to find good cocktail ingredients, and I’m talking about the basic stuff like gin and rye.  We did find some Angostura bitters, which is a good thing because I couldn’t even find some of the basic herbal ingredients to make my own bitters.

Well Good Fortune has smiled upon us: friends bearing gifts have arrived!  Now we have Old Overholt Rye, gorgeous Woodford Reserve Bourbon and some great Belvedere vodka. This is reason for a celebration, so we attempted to make a Sazerac with our Overholt Rye.  Overholt is the original rye used in a Sazerac and apparently its one of the few unblended ryes. Listen, stop making that face, if you haven’t tasted rye in awhile, you are in for a smooth, sophisticated treat.   No Peychauds, no absinthe…but we do have Pastis and Angostura, so while it wasn’t a good New Orleans Sazerac, it most certainly was a delicious, refreshing Sazeraca! Life is good here in the Altatiberina. Bourbon_rye_vodka

And just a little side note: T-shirts with messages are very popular in Italy, particularly if the message is written in sparkling rhinestones, and this goes for men and women. It’s a recognized sport among English speakers to spot the strangest T-shirt message. “I’m a Sex Maniac” on a 10 year old girl, “Dog Lust” which is bizarre on so many levels no matter who is wearing it, “Hello Kitty” spelled out across the crotch of a woman’s bikini (think about it….).  9 times out of 10, the wearer has no idea of the significance of the message that is scrawled across their body in twinkling lights. So, my cocktail question is, do the people who are ordering a “Blow Job” have any idea what they are asking for?

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