Lush Life

To be a lush chef, does not mean to drink in excess - this can result in scary fires and bad dishes. A lush chef is one who enjoys gourmet cooking/baking, often with fresh ingredients and the smart use of one's home bar. If there happens to be half a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a sip of brandy left over...well, one cannot be wasteful. I give you permission to imbibe.

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The Lush Chef
Twitter: @thelushchef Provenance: Santa Monica Dish: Coq au Vin Spirit: Whiskey Wine: Malbec Beer: Hefeweizen Farmer's Market: Santa Monica on Main Street
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Aug 29, 2013


One of my favorite things about living in Santa Monica are all the free outdoor activities that take place.  In the summer, they host the Twilight Concert Series on the pier, and always gather an eclectic and amazing group of musicians.  While there's some lovely dancing and rocking out on the pier, my friends and I prefer the massive picnic/illicit wine drinking situation on the beach.  This week is going to be very New Orleans-inspired with Trombone Shorty and the Dustbowl Revival, and that got me craving a there might be some cocktail shaking in the sand...

It's one of America's oldest cocktails and is a New Orleans variation on an Old Fashioned.  The name came from the brand of cognac that was originally used in this classic libation - Sazerac de Forge et Fils - and was sold at the Merchants Exchange in the 1850s.  A gent named Aaron Bird took the space over and changed its name to the Sazerac House and served a cocktail using that namesake cognac, absinthe and some bitters from a local druggist down the street - a Mr. Antoine Amedie Peychaud.  In the 1870s, the cognac got switched out for rye whiskey because of an epidemic that devastated France's grape crop.  When absinthe was banned in the US in 1912, it was replaced with other anise-flavored liqueurs, such as New Orleans' very own Herbsaint.  The history and prevalence of this drink is so tied to the city, that a bill was actually passed in the Louisiana State Senate in 2008 to make it the official drink of New Orleans.  It's such a simple drink to make, and everyone should really have this American classic in their bartending arsenal.  Now time to whip up a batch of these for the beach!

  • 1 tsp absinthe (I used Pernod) or Herbsaint liqueuer
  • 2 oz rye whiskey (I used Templeton) or cognac
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • 2-3 dashes Peychaud's bitters
  • Lemon peel
- "Rinse" a chilled coupe or Old-Fashioned glass with the absinthe by rolling it around the inside of the glass and evenly coating.
- Shake out the excess liqueur.
- In a mixing glass filled with ice, add the whiskey, simple syrup and bitters.
- Shake and strain into the prepared cocktail glass.
- Take a peel of lemon and squeeze over the drink to release the essential oils and drop in the glass.