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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Drinks From Past and Present: Louisiana Chronicles and Tales of Brain Cells Lost.

People fall into two basic groups. Those who spent their late high school and college years too drunk to remember anything, and those who remember all too well exactly what happened. I am not much of a lush, and I choose to keep things seen and unseen during those years to myself. Fortunately I have a good memory for recipes and enough brain cells left over to be able to share them.

I also have a pending a Mardis Gras Party coming up on January 31st, 2010. I’ll post Cajun Recipes on that with pictures. Today I want to discuss the South Louisiana booze factor: pick guitar, fill fruit jar and being Gay-o.

I have an authentic church lady cookbook from South Louisiana, thanks to my dear best Cajun Friend. I love the fact that there are various libations published in a church cookbook. Bullfrog drink is one of my favorites:

The Bullfrog

1 can frozen limeade

½ can water

½ can of vodka (just pour it right into the juice can)

¾ cup Triple Sec Blend with ice, serve with lime. Cool you down, yeah.

We happen to have another incarnation of the Bullfrog. It is a Southern Drink Recipe garnered by LW, a friend of Stuart’s from Virginia. We know the drink fondly as “Green Goddam”. You won’t find that one in the church cookbook.

Green Goddam

1 can limeade or pack of lime Kool-Aid

Several cans of Mountain Dew, maybe even a liter

1 liter of vodka or a gallon

Green fruit if you care – limes, green grapes…uh, green stuff.

Mix into a gallon jug with some ice, smuggle into the rock concert. The Vodka doesn’t smell and you can say it is just a fruit cooler to keep you hydrated in the heat. Yeah right.

Back to the Good book of the Church, St Peter’s Altar Society Cookbook.

Here are a few Louisiana Style Christmas Libations :

Ho-Made Amaretto

2 cups water

1 tablespoon instant Yuban Coffee

3 cups sugar

1 oz almond extract

5 tsp vanilla extract

5 dashes bitters (Peychaud’s I bet, being New Orleans)

1 fifth of Vodka

Boil the water, add instant coffee. Add the sugar until it dissolves, add all other ingredients. Cool then add Vodka.

Milk Punch sounds innocent enough, until you wake up at Christmas next to a stranger in a Santa Suit.

½ gallon ice milk (A southern treat like ice cream, but lighter on the thighs)

½ gallon low-fat milk

2 cups of whiskey

Mix and freeze until NEEDED. Thaw it. Froth it, drink it.

(both by Jackie Desselle. She makes all the good stuff)

Ho Ho Ho Coffee is another Louisiana Christmas special.

¼ cup cream de cacao

¼ cup Amaretto (See recipe above for homemade!)

¼ cup light Rum

Put the mixture into each cup with one heaping Tbsp of powdered sugar. Pour Black Chicory coffee over this. Add whipped cream with chocolate sprinkles, cinnamon and nutmeg.

(Jackie LaBorde is to be thanked for this libation)

Jungle Juice is well known to us Southern-educated college kids. In South Louisiana (and apparently at the church picnics) they make it with pineapple juice, 7 up, maraschino cherries, frozen orange juice and Vodka. We kids cut to the chase: Hawaiian punch powder, water, vodka, Ever Clear booze. Fruit if you want chunks in your puke, none if you want to spew freely.

Swamp Juice is a mutation of Jungle Juice, with a Louisiana Theme. The last batch of this I made was at Jack’s house, 1982 Senior party. I haven’t seen it since.

Swamp Juice

I bottle Blue Curacao. More to adjust color. Blue food coloring can be added too as needed.

1 gallon orange juice

Gallons of vodka, Ever Clear and Southern Comfort

Lime Kool-Aid for additional color, water and ice

More Orange Juice for thickening. Pineapple juice from the can.

Chunks of fruit: oranges, pineapple, limes, whatever

Throw in Little plastic boats and plastic alligators, large enough to not be swallowed by drunken people.

Mix all in a clean garbage can or cooler. Scoop into party glasses with a plastic cup or scoop. Drink until you can no longer see.

Hurricanes that blow away your mind, not your house.

Pat O’Brien’s is hard to get into on a Friday night. Thankfully hurricanes can be had pretty much anywhere in New Orleans.

Who has not walked down Bourbon street to frequent the Hurricane outlet where one can trip lightly between frozen drink machines, sampling boozy flavors as easily as purchasing an Icee from 7-Eleven? You can even mix a Suicide drink – just put as many flavors together as you can and suck it down. It all looks the same coming back up.

Non Sequitur: I continue to be amazed by the continued existence of drive through Daiquiri stands in Louisiana. There is nothing like a cold drink on a 90-plus day with 150 percent humidity. Please drive within the lines.

Question: Why are all of these drinks red?

Now that I am more mature, I favor more mature sophisticated cocktails where one can look sophisticated and get potted on quality ingredients. No Kool-Aid involved. There is a saying in New Orleans. “Hurricanes are for Tourists, Sazeracs are for Natives.”

The Sazerac Cocktail is the piece de resistance of Louisiana Libations. It is making a come back amongst the hipper mixologists and social drinkers. The Sazerac has a fantastic history in New Orleans, being named after a particular Cognac, Sazerac-du-Forge et fils, and first served publicly at the Sazerac Coffeehouse in 1853. A Creole apothecary named Antoine Amadie Peychaud, inventor of the aromatic Peychaud’s bitters, created the special bitters used in the drink in the 1800s. He gave the bitters to his patients to cure stuff, and mixed it into a toddy of French brandy and sugar to serve to friends.

In 1870, the cognac was changed to Rye Whiskey, which became known as Sazerac Rye. A dash of Absinthe was added to coat the glass, then banned as it was thought to cause madness. It was replaced by another licorice pastis unique to New Orleans called Herbsaint. All these ideas came together to create the Sazerac, an exquisite and complex drink that has been enjoyed for 150 years.

If you watch the James Bond Movie filmed in the bayous of Louisiana, (Live and Let Die) not only do you get to appreciate the talents of one of the few groups of African American stuntmen, and get to see James use live alligators as stepping stones, you get to see him order a Sazerac in a bar. Very authentic, James. Way to blend in.

Sazerac Cocktail

2 ounces of 6-yr old Red Sazerac Rye whiskey.

The drink can also be made with Old Overholt 4-yr old Whiskey, or an excellent Cognac, or a combination of the two. Rittenhouse Bonded Straight Rye Whiskey, 100 proof is also acceptable.

1 teaspoon Simple Sugar, or one cube of muddled cane sugar in water

Fresh lemon, Meyer if you have it for extra flavor. Strip of fresh peel.

4 dashes -Peychaud’s bitters (Specialty liquor stores)

1 dash Angostura bitters (Available everywhere)

½ to 1 tsp Absinthe, or Herbsaint. Both impart a licorice flavor Pernod can also be used, but Herbsaint is recommended.

Sazerac Preparation Traditional Method:

Pack a heavy rocks glass with ice to chill

In another glass, moisten the sugar with just enough water to crush it. Blend in whiskey and bitters. Add a little ice to chill.

Discard the ice from the rocks glass and drain. Coat the inside of the entire glass with ½ to 1 tsp Herbsaint or Absinth. Roll around to coat entire glass. Some discard the excess, I like to keep it because I like the extra licorice flavor at the bottom of the glass.

Strain the whiskey into the coated glass. Twist the lemon peel over the drink to coat the top with lemon oil. Rub the lemon pulp and peel around the edge of the glass.

Sip slowly and contemplatively. Deny yourself water or ice in the drink. As it warms in your hand, enjoy how each flavor announces itself to your mouth. Add more of the ingredients you like in the next batch. I like additional lemon and Herbsaint. I don’t consider this a large group party drink, it is a special treat for a small group of friends.

Thanks to:

Chuck Taggart for the published history on the Sazerac Cocktail

Thanks to the St. Peter's Altar Society Church Lady Cookbook, Bordelonville Louisiana.

Thanks to Southern Comfort Cocktail times for the loan of a Hurricane picture.


  1. Lori, first of all thank you for not "sharing" all that you know. This is for all of us from PHS and NLU. I love your blog but then I love to eat and drink, after all I am from Louisiana. Just had one addition to your green GD's. The last time I remember this being made we included all clear liquors. Of course this was the "I'm broke so lets all pitch in for a party tonight" version in college. Good to know the real way to make them, not that I would dare to go there anymore. Look forward to following your blog.

  2. Great blog. I too, love to cook and travel. I look forward to reading your blog. :) Monica