Hello Darlings! The Missus here. Yes, you’re in luck this museum really does exist. The Museum of the American Cocktail is housed within the new Southern Food and Beverage Museum in New Orleans. It is the perfect place because all the other cities just make cocktails. New Orleans invented them. A guy named Antoine Amadie Peychaud, a Creole pharmacist, came up with his own proprietary blend called Peychaud’s Bitters, which became the Sazerac cocktail when mixed with a line of French cognac.
The museum traces the American cocktail from its birth in the early 19th century through its “golden age” in the early 20th century, up to its revival in the 1990s. The brainchild of collectors, historians, and mixologists, the Museum features exhibits of vintage cocktail shakers, glasses, Prohibition artifacts, and many other relics connected to the cocktail and its enthusiasts. There are also a series of mixology seminars given by preeminent mixologists and held at various holidays and festivals such as Mardi Gras and Jazzfest.
For a small space, it’s an impressive collection of old bottles, juicers, ice picks, glassware, bartending guides, and propaganda for pro- and anti-temperance forces. The collection’s highlights include a copy of the very Repository newspaper that first mentioned the word “cocktail,” and a cabinet taken from Antoine Peychaud’s pharmacy, both holy relics in the cocktail world.
The museum also offers a timeline of cocktail history, from the prehistoric “bitters” period, through the advent of electricity (which allowed for ice storage and instant carbonation) through Prohibition, then the post-WWII period, which brought us vodka and rum-based tropical cocktails. Even those of you that are cocktail nerds will probably learn new bits of trivia.
Is all this talk of drinks making you thirsty?
Here are some classic cocktail recipes sure to tickle your fancy…
Sherry Cognac Cobbler
1800 – 1850, The Early Years
1 orange and 8 lemons to prepare syrup
1 quart spring water
1 cup sugar
24 ounces fresh lemon juice
16 oz Emilio Lustau Pedro Ximenez*
1 bottle Martell Cognac
In a mixing glass filled with ice pour 2 ½ ounces of the base ingredient. Shake with ice to chill and strain into a goblet filled with cracked ice. Top with Berries and an orange and lemon peel.
(The Gilded Age 1880 – 1910, )
1 ounce Pernod Absinthe
1 ounce water
2 dashes Anisette
Fill a mixing glass with crushed ice and roll once or twice to chill strain into a goblet filled with crushed ice. Splash with seltzer.
The Major Bailey
(Post Prohibition) Served at demolition party on last night at Jack & Charlies
1 1/2 ounce Plymouth Gin
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 ounce lemon juice
1/4 ounce lime juice
Several mint leaves and a mint sprig
Muddle the sugar and mint leaves in the bottom of a Delmonico glass with a splash of seltzer to help dissolve. Add the crushed ice and gin stir and garnish with mint sprig.
Jasper’s Planters Punch
(The Revival 1980 – 2000)
1 1/2 oz Appleton 12-yr-old Rum
Float of Coruba Dark
1 1/2 oz. Jasper’s Mix*
Cherry, pineapple spear, and sugarcane stick garnishes
Assemble the two ingredients in a medium highball glass with cracked ice. Stir to chill top with additional ice and the float of Coruba rum. Garnish with the pineapple, cherry and sugarcane *(see page 177 of Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails (Deluxe Edition)
(The New Wave 2000 – 2011)
1 1/2 ounces Skyy Vodka
1/2 ounces fresh lime juice
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
1 ounce Velvet Falernum Syrup
1 ounce fresh orange juice
Shake ingredients well with ice, stain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a flamed orange.
For more information about the museum: