Leslie Turk

You gotta be kidding: an official state cocktail?

by Leslie Turk

Believe it or not but the Sazerac may be designated the "official state cocktail" at the regular legislative session that starts March 31.

An apparent fan of the drink, Democratic Sen. Edwin Murray of New Orleans filed in advance of the session Senate Bill 6 designating the Sazerac the official state cocktail, claiming it is the first cocktail invented in New Orleans and one of the first in the country.

"We will probably have a little fun with this bill" as a diversion from the heavy issues lawmakers will face at the upcoming session, Murray told The Times-Picayune. "There will be a very aggressive effort to get it done."

The paper reported that Ann Tuennerman, founder of the annual New Orleans Tales of the Cocktail activities, has written Murray to urge passage of the bill because the Sazerac has "evolved over time and represents history in a glass... When folks come to New Orleans, they want certain things authentic and original to the Crescent City, be it a beignet, a po-boy, a cup of chicory coffee, oysters Rockefeller, bread pudding or Bananas Foster.

The drink in its original form was invented in the 1830s in New Orleans by pharmacist Antoine Amedee Peychaud, who fled Haiti and opened an apothecary on Royal Street in the French Quarter, according to the Picayune. He concocted the drink made with his own blend of bitters added to a French brandy and Louisiana cane sugar.

Murray's bill asks that the state to use the official cocktail on "official documents...and with the insignia of the state."