Anise liqueurs have been a staple in our home bar for years, ever since we walked into a bar in Provence and ordered pastis without having a clear idea of what we’d be getting. When our order turned out to include two small glasses partially filled with clear green liquid, a metal jug of ice water, beaded with condensation, and a plate of bread and tapenade, served at a little table on a sunny patio on a hot afternoon, we fell instantly in love. From then on, the flavor of pastis – or any anise-flavored alcohol – takes us back to that trip and those lovely long evenings.
I can’t explain the way cocktails have eased their way into our lives this year. Not that long ago, I was still prefacing every mixed drink comment I made with “I don’t usually like cocktails, but…” and now suddenly we have a full cabinet of liqueurs and a Boston shaker. Hm.
We first met the Sazerac (the Official Cocktail of New Orleans) about a year ago, at Star Bar. Phyllis, our favorite bartender, had taken it upon herself that month to get as many customers as possible to order Sazeracs, just so she could have the fun of making them. Jon had been wanting to try one, so we were in luck. When she set the drink down in front of him (I believe she served it up, in a cocktail glass) we each tried it. We weren’t sure if we loved it, but we were definitely intrigued.
Later, when we finally managed to find some Peychaud’s bitters (had to order them online), we started experimenting with Sazeracs at home. One day, out of the blue, I discovered I love them. My preferred presentation is in a rocks glass (built in the glass), with just a couple of ice cubes, and a sizable lemon twist. It makes me happy. Who knew?