Anyone who’s been to New Orleans knows that drinking is a big deal in the Big Easy. So it’s perhaps no surprise that the city that claims to have invented the cocktail will soon be home to a new experience dedicated to the official local drink, the Sazerac.
For those who’ve never tasted one, the Sazerac is one of America’s longest-running cocktails: a mix of cognac, bourbon, or rye whiskey, plus bitters (the trademarked Sazerac version uses Peychaud’s), a sugar cube, and sometimes absinthe or anise-flavored liqueur. It first appeared in New Orleans potentially as far back as the 1830s (bartenders argue about it) and although it has been evolving ever since, it has always remained firmly beloved in New Orleans.
The approximately 48,000-square-foot Sazerac House is planned for an opening on October 2, 2019, in two historic, nearly-200-year-old buildings at the prime corner of Canal and Magazine streets. The museum-style “immersive spirited experience” (pictured above in a rendering) will be operated by the Sazerac Company, a family-owned business based in New Orleans since 1850.
Sazerac House “will take visitors through a journey of the history and culture of spirits in New Orleans” through “a variety of experiences that are designed to entertain and educate,” says a spokesperson.
One such twist includes “virtual bartenders” who will appear on video screen to mix cocktails relevant to different styles of New Orleans bars—you can even get a selfie with the digital barkeep.
Tours will be self-guided with “experience ambassadors” posted along the route and free drink samples available (for adults), in addition to a tasting room for spirits and cocktails plus a gift shop with Sazerac products and merchandise.
The first three floors of the building will house the cocktail “experience”—that’s the word the company keeps using—with Sazerac Company offices upstairs.
In addition to learning about Sazerac and its role in New Orleans cocktail history, guests can also expect to walk away with “a more general, practical knowledge of rum, whiskey, and bitters, how they are produced and how they are important to the cocktail culture,” says the spokesperson.
Admission and tours for this boozy “experience” will be free. Keep on top of the impending grand opening at www.sazerachouse.com.