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Behind the bar at Sazerac - ctj71081/flickr

Fat Tuesday and the Rebirth of the Sazerac Bar

The Harper Way March 3, 2011 | By Andrew Harper

Sazerac Copyright Sazerac Bar

We would like to wish a very happy Mardis Gras to our three recommended properties in New Orleans: the historic Soniat House, the contemporary International House* and the stately Windsor Court Hotel. And for anyone celebrating Fat Tuesday this evening, we recommend a nightcap at the Sazerac Bar. Although the Sazerac is the signature cocktail of New Orleans, its origins remain obscure. It is widely held that an extremely similar drink was served at a “coffee house” called the Sazerac House in the late 1800s. This became known as the Sazerac Bar, which then moved to the Roosevelt Hotel in 1949.

The hotel went into decline in the latter part of the 20th century, but was brought back to life last year after a $145 million restoration by Waldorf Astoria. The Sazerac Bar was one of the most anticipated parts of the project, and this splendid art deco room now has a counter of polished African walnut and walls graced with 1930s Paul Ninas murals of New Orleans street life.

We recently squeezed into a banquette with some friends for a round of Sazeracs — a mix of rye whiskey, Peychaud’s Bitters and Herbsaint — before dinner one night and enjoyed ourselves so much we felt obliged to return the next evening!

*no longer a Andrew Harper recommended property

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Andrew Harper Photo Andrew Harper is the editor of The Hideaway Report, a luxury travel newsletter that first appeared in 1979. He travels anonymously and pays his own expenses in pursuit of unique properties that offer unusually high levels of personal service. Hotels have no idea who he is, so he is treated exactly as you might be.

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