According to Rob Chirico, author of the Field Guide to Cocktails, this iconic New Orleans cocktail dates to the 1850s, when it was served at the Sazerac Coffee House. American whiskey eventually replaced the brandy of the original. Rinsing the glass with absinthe gives the cocktail the right touch of herbal perfume without upsetting the balance—you can always substitute Pernod if you don’t happen to have a bottle of absinthe.
What to buy: Peychaud’s Bitters were created in New Orleans around 1830 by the Haitian apothecary Antoine Amédée Peychaud. They’re lighter, sweeter, and have a more floral aroma than angostura. You can find them at well-stocked liquor stores.