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The Origin Of The Word Cocktail  

The origins of the word cocktail appear to date back to the mid 1800’s, before this, cocktails were often referred to as ‘toddies’.  In New Orleans, apothecary Antoine Peychaud was the inventor of Peychaud's Bitters, which he mixed with brandy, absinthe, and sugar to create a signature 'toddy'.  

The Peychaud family arrived in America, after feeling unrest in Haiti in the late 18th Century.  Antoine inherited his father's secret bitters recipe, which he served with brandy and sold as a ‘cure all’ tonic. He mixed the drinks in egg cups, which were called a coquetier in French, Anglo-American pronunciation rapidly turned it into “cocktail” in America. He later served the more complex blended drink in the ‘Sazerac Coffee House’ and the rest is history.  

Peychaud’s Bitters are still the second most important cocktail bitters behind any good bar and the Sazerac cocktail is a classic that has stood the test of time. In America it’s now made using bourbon, but in Europe you can still find the superior version made with cognac. It is one of my favorite drinks (I like them strong) and I am happy to drag my loved ones across foreign cities to find one. It’s not as popular in British bars but it’s a simple drink to make at home, so why not serve it as a Christmas tipple this year.  


sazerac cocktail, cocktail bar
Sazerac in Barcelona


50 ml Cognac  

1 bar spoon simple syrup  

2-3 dashes Peychaud's Bitters  

Absinthe, to rinse the glass 


Pour the ingredients into a mixing glass, over ice and stir for 2 minutes. Rinse a cold cocktail coupe with Absinthe and pour in the other ingredients (holding back the ice).   

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