I can’t tell you how much of a treat it was to recently host another edition of Blogger Brunch, this time with Ann Tuennerman, founder of Tales of the Cocktail, while getting schooled on New Orleans’ Herbsaint Original. Fifty of NYC’s most skilled cocktail, food and lifestyle bloggers gathered at Rye House, where we imbibed Herbsaint cocktails along with a savory New Orleans-influenced brunch. Although this brunch group was a bit larger than the last one at Clover Club, the stellar team at Rye House made serving us look like a breeze–especially with Jim Kearns and Jane Elkins behind the bar (both adorable in suspenders, by the way).
Ann led us through a traditional absinthe drip service with Herbsaint Original, which is not absinthe, but rather, an absinthe-like substitute introduced in 1933 by J. Marion Legendre to get through the absinthe ban. (By the way, fun fact: Legendre Herbsaint loosely translates as “holy herb.”) Earlier this year, the Sazerac Company released the original recipe for Herbsaint, which is 100 proof rather than the earlier version’s 90 proof, offering a more substantial botanical flavor. I was most impressed with how drinkable the Herbsaint Original was with just a bit of water drizzled over an ice cube nestled in the lovely glass drippers we were provided–absolutely no sugar cube required.
Then came the Herbsaint frappes–2 parts Herbsaint and 1 part simple syrup poured over crushed ice–followed by Herbsaint fizzes (recipe below). I think everyone left with a new appreciation of the Herbsaint flavor–herbaceous, gentle anise flavor, lightly sweet with a hint of sea salt–and knowing that it retails for just $35, it’s a fun ingredient to make Sazeracs with at home, especially considering that real absinthe goes for $50-$80.
Ann also revved us up for Tales of the Cocktail, happening July 21-25 in New Orleans–the premiere cocktail event of the year. A handful of lucky bloggers won cocktail books, tickets to various spirited events during Tales, and talented cocktail scene reporter Sonya Moore won a three-night stay at Hotel Monteleone! I look forward to making it down to cover Tales for the first time this summer–say a prayer for my liver now.
Thanks everyone for coming despite the rain, and a special thanks to Lynnette Marrero, Jim Kearns, Jane Elkins, the rest of the Rye House crew, and the Tales belles. Can’t wait for the next brunch!
Herbsaint Fizz by Rye House’s Jim Kearns
3/4 oz lemon juice
3/4 oz simple syrup
1-1/2 oz Herbsaint
1 egg white
Preshake egg white, lemon, simple, and spirit to emulsify, add ice, shake, serve in a tall glass, top with soda.