The American cocktail has history. From the time when people mixed their booze with hard spirits so that they didn’t get sick to the moment when alcohol was banned completely but really only went underground, there has always seemed something compelling about the relationship of flavours that the great cocktail makers are privy to.
Good cocktail people are worth travelling to find. Lucky then, that we’ve done some of the hard work for you.
Robert Pate and Paul Gustings are two bartenders we met during our American travels. Both are passionate about many things, but they were particularly taken with absinthe. They lured us to the joy of the sazerac, which guided our choices of bars from Austin, to the heart of New Orleans, and all the way home to London.
Since arriving home, I’ve been mildly obsessed with this fine drink, and have tried it at several of our favourite haunts. Some have proved better than others, but none were quite as refined as the first one I tried, at Peché in Austin, made by Rob the owner. He talked to us about the reasons why he started to mix his drinks, and was an education about the ebb and flow of drink fashion.
Similarly, Mr Paul Gustings, who works at Tujagues in New Orleans (a true southern institution, and if you’re ever in the French Quarter – do yourself a favour…really) was more than forthcoming about the life of the barkeep and his love for working in one of the oldest bars in NOLA…