Mardi Gras Cocktail Goes Down (Big) Easy

Photo by Jon Estrada

Photo by Jon Estrada

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler! It’s Mardi Gras—time for beads, King Cake and beignets. But put down the Hurricane, Zombie or Hand Grenade. Las Vegas can do you one better where cocktails are concerned. Not a tipple for ordering by the yard glass, the Sazerac is a far classier classic, an antebellum New Orleans specialty as well as the state cocktail of Louisiana. Typically made with rye whiskey, it was once Cognac based, and is among America’s first cocktails. “The Sazerac was named after the most popular Cognac used for it, Sazerac de Forge et Fils,” says Emeril Lagasse Restaurants mixologist Max Solano. “It wasn’t until shortly after the American Civil War that phylloxera spread throughout Europe and decimated the wine crop, making Cognac extremely scarce and expensive, paving the way for rye.” For his Throwback Sazerac ($15, available Feb. 28-March 4 at Delmonico Steakhouse, Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House and Table 10), Solano takes the Sazzy back to its roots using Rémy Martin 1738 Cognac, sugar, old fashioned aromatic bitters and Pernod absinthe, stirred for exactly 40 rotations.