In 2016, Hillary Clinton made history as the first woman ever to be nominated for the presidency by a major party. A huge milestone, without question, but she couldn’t have gotten there without the trailblazing women who came before her. Trailblazing women like those who stormed The Sazerac Bar 67 years ago today.
Back in the not-so-good-old days, bars were often an all-boys club, a place for politicians and businessmen to rub shoulders, though a few of the more progressive saloons would let the ladies in via a separate side entrance. The Sazerac Bar in New Orleans’ storied Roosevelt Hotel was no different.
Supposedly the home of America’s first and second cocktail ever (the first was its namesake and the second was the Ramos Gin Fizz), the hotel’s bar was also an old-school, high-end drinking establishment where women could only be served during Mardi Gras.
On September 26, 1949, that all changed. Looking to shake things up, the bar’s manager Seymour Weiss—known for his close relationship with Louisiana’s governor Huey P. Long Jr.—moved the bar to a space facing Bayonne Street. He also opened it up to women 365 days a year. Ever the showman, he packed The Sazerac Bar with beautiful women on opening day and gave the event a dramatic name: “The Storming of The Sazerac.”
“I think he wanted to move those movers and shakers into the hotel,” Russ Bergeron, a bartender at The Sazerac Bar, told The Times-Picayune. “Or he might have bought it for the shock value of allowing women in.”
We’d like to think that Weiss was simply a feminist moving with the times, but either way, we’ll raise a glass in honor of progress any day.
If you’re not lucky enough to be a native Louisianan, don’t worry, you can still sip this historical cocktail at home tonight during the debate in honor of all the women who couldn’t until 1949.
- 1 cube sugar
- 1½ ounces Sazerac Rye whiskey or Buffalo Trace bourbon
- ¼ ounce Herbsaint
- 3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
- Lemon peel
- Pack an old-fashioned glass with ice.
- In a second old-fashioned glass, place the sugar cube and add the Peychaud’s bitters to it, then crush the sugar cube.
- Add the Sazerac Rye whiskey or Buffalo Trace bourbon to the second glass containing the Peychaud’s bitters and sugar.
- Empty the ice from the first glass and coat the glass with the Herbsaint. Discard the remaining Herbsaint.
- Empty the whiskey/bitters/sugar mixture from the second glass into the first glass and garnish with a lemon peel.
Header Photo via Flickr