New Orleans Club Storms the Sazerac

The Sazerac is a local New Orleans drink, composed of cognac or rye whiskey, absinthe or Herbsaint, and Peychaud's Bitters.

The Sazerac is a local New Orleans drink, composed of cognac or rye whiskey, absinthe or Herbsaint, and Peychaud’s Bitters.

New Orleans Club Celebrates MHC by Stormin’ the Sazerac

For nearly half the twentieth century, when women in New Orleans wanted to drink the famous Sazerac cocktail—a mixture of whiskey, bitters, and absinthe—they had to wait until Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras), the only day of the year they were allowed in bars. Yet on September 26, 1949, a group of thirsty women stormed the Sazerac Bar at the famous Roosevelt Hotel and demanded to be served. Taken aback, the bartender obliged, and from that day forward women were welcome in drinking establishments around the city.

The Mount Holyoke Club of Louisiana hosted a get-together in this historic locale in September, celebrating MHC sisterhood alongside the right for women to “partake” in public watering holes any day of the year. Alumnae stopped by to network, socialize, and reminisce.

In addition to area alumnae, a special group of friends from the class of 1973 joined the celebrations. These alumnae had traveled to New Orleans from around the country, and were pleased to find an MHC club event occurring during their stay. Joanne Henig ’73, Beth Burgeson ’73, Wendy Leys Rudolph ’73, and Deborah Allen Carey ’73 were in town to attend the wedding of the son of their former classmate, Maida Magee Riess ’73, who passed away in 1999. The groom had personally reached out to his mother’s friends, saying that their presence at his wedding would make him feel as if his mother were in attendance as well—a true testament to how far the MHC bond extends.

— By Taylor Scott



  • 3 oz rye whiskey (or blended American or Canadian if you can’t find rye)
  • 3/4 oz simple syrup
  • Peychaud bitters to taste
  • absinthe or absinthe substitute (such as Herbsaint)
  • Lemon twist for garnish


  1. Chill an old-fashioned glass by filling it with ice and letting it sit while preparing the rest of the drink.
  2. In a separate mixing glass, mix the simple syrup and Peychaud bitters together.
  3. Add the rye whiskey and ice to the bitters mixture and stir.
  4. Discard the ice in the chilled glass and rinse it with absinthe by pouring a small amount into the glass, swirling it around and discarding the liquid.
  5. Strain the whiskey mixture from the mixing glass into the old fashioned glass.
  6. Garnish with a lemon twist. Traditionalists will say that the lemon twist should be squeezed over the drink to release its essences but that the twist should not be dropped into the glass itself. Never use an orange twist.

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