Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sazerac Bar: Is It Worth It?

It is often said the Roosevelt Bar is soaked in history. And while it has likely seen its share of celebutantes and debrities, one figure looms above all others in the bar's history: Huey P. Long. Admittedly, I am not the hugest fan of Louisiana's most loved politician. Long is to blame for roughly 90% of the huckster, shyster politicians who predominate this fair state. Of course, when balanced against Tiger Stadium, Long seems less blameworthy for Aaron Broussard and his ilk.

If the Roosevelt Hotel was Long's home away from Baton Rouge, the Sazerac Bar was his home office. And his drink of choice was the Ramos Gin Fizz, a refreshing blend of gin, egg whites, lemon juice, orange blossom water, and soda. Some recipes call for cream and/or simple syrup, but the basic flavor of the drink is a bright floral, citrusy quaff. If you haven't had one, wait for the next really hot day and see why it was so beloved in the days before central air.

The white jacketed bartenders in the Sazerac make a more than acceptable version. The bartender pours the drink with a fair amount of flair, holding the mixing glass on high as the frothy, blend tumbles into the glass. The drink develops in the glass with a top layer of nearly whipped cream followed by the fragrance of a light gin cocktail.

Wrapped in the dark woods and murals, the comfortable seats are perfect for hiding from the onslaught of a Friday afternoon. But those same seats are where my one problem with the Sazerac Bar develops. Often and expectantly, the Sazerac Bar is crowded with the seats and bar stools taken. No problem, you will stand in line and wait for a drink. But lo and behold, a table has opened up just as your drink is being served. You give the bartender your card and tell him to keep it open. If you sit down, finish your drink and attempt to order another one, be prepared for the following reactions from a cocktail server.

1) "I am sorry if you opened your tab at the bar, you need to order from the bar."

2) "Did you open a tab at the bar? (Sigh). I'll see if I can get a drink for you."

3) "I'll be right back to take your order. (Does not return)"

4) "Yes, I'll take care of that for you."

Hopefully you get the fourth response.

Sazerac Bar- Is It Worth It? Likely.
123 Baronne Street


Shelly said...

I love the Sazerac Bar. Of course, it holds a special place in my heart because my best friend tricked me into thinking I was going there, and instead my husband proposed to me in a suite in the Roosevelt. We then went down to the bar and celebrated with family and friends. :) It's a good place for an engagement party!

Anonymous said...

love the preparation, less enthused by the, what, $12 price tag? i down those things in about 3 minutes.

Pontchartrain Pete said...

"The white jacketed bartenders in the Sazerac make a more than acceptable version" doesn't sound like a ringing endorsement. I've found the Sazerac hit or miss myself depending on who's behind the bar. Who makes your favorite version? As usual, I've been more pleased with my home experimentations with the fizz than any bar preparation.

At $12 per fizz, the Sazerac Bar is taking the "High Papalorum" route and fleecing the public from the ears down (as Huey Long saw Republican policies), rather than resorting to the "Low Papahirum" method of fleecing us from the ankles up (as he saw the Democrats).

Huey set a lot of precedents that were bad for the state, but for a north Louisiana boy, knew a fine cocktail when he drank one.

Rene said...


I think it is a good place for a drink, but like you and others the $12 price tag keeps it off my steady rotation. But I hasten to add, that a majority of things that can be made at home (gumbo, red beans and rice, a classic cocktail) are always better at home. It is a rule, or theory, or law or something.