America’s First Cocktail Before there was a company, there was a drink. Antoine Peychaud, a Creole immigrant, operated a pharmacy on the French Quarter’s Royal Street in 1838. With his background as an apothecary, he was a natural mixologist. His friends would gather for late-night revelry at his pharmacy. Peychaud would mix brandy, absinthe and a dash of his secret bitters for his guests. Later this quaff would come to be known as the Sazerac. The Bar After the drink, there was the bar. The cocktail immediately spread in popularity at the city’s finest coffee houses, which was the term for drinking establishments during the mid-1800s. However, the cocktail is most strongly associated with the wildly popular Sazerac Coffee House located on Exchange Alley. In 1850, the owner Sewell Taylor institutionalized the drink at his coffee house by using only Sazerac de Forge et Fils brandy, which he imported and sold exclusively. The Sazerac cocktail received its name from this coffee house, where it was most often imbibed. The Company From the bar, a company was born.
Formulated in 1838 as a medicinal tonic, Peychaud’s Aromatic Cocktail Bitters quickly became a favorite of 19th century bartenders. Today, it is one of only two bitters brands to survive Prohibition unscathed. Peychaud’s are lumped in the same category as Angostura aromatic bitters but boast a telltale bright red color and slightly sweeter flavor profile with loads of warm Christmas spices. A few dashes is essential to the classic sazerac and vieux carré, which means your bar can’t be without a bottle.