Old Is New Is Old Again At Sazerac's Just Opened Sazerac House In New Orleans - The Whiskey Wash

Old Is New Is Old Again At Sazerac’s Just Opened Sazerac House In New Orleans

Sazerac has long been regarded as one of America’s oldest family owned, privately held distillers. It is best known for its ownership of the historic Buffalo Trace distillery in Kentucky, which it purchased in 1992 at a point when the distillery was a shell of what it is today. The heart of the company’s history, however, is in New Orleans, Louisiana, where its namesake cocktail, the Sazerac, was introduced as the first “branded” cocktail in 1850. It is also here that Sazerac is now upping its consumer facing presence with the recent opening of the Sazerac House.

The Sazerac House, according to those behind it, has opened just a just a few hundred yards from the original 1850 Sazerac Coffee House—the site where the Sazerac Cocktail was first introduced and the company was born. The company has spared no expense in creating this new visitor’s attraction in New Orleans, doing a a full renovation of two nearly 200-year-old buildings which were previously vacant for more than 30 years. Said buildings, besides the visitor experiences listed below, also house meeting and event space as well as some company offices.

Featuring three floors of interactive exhibits across 48,000 square feet, Sazerac looks to have truly tried to outdo itself in this endeavor. In summary guests will “learn about the roots of the Sazerac family, which date back to the 1630s in France, explore interactive exhibits about the iconic Sazerac Cocktail, as well as learn about the impact of New Orleans on international cocktail culture.” They will also be able to “take part in the production of Peychaud’s Bitters and Sazerac Rye Whiskey—marking the first time that whiskey has been legally distilled in the New Orleans Central Business District.”

Sazerac House

The Sazerac House in New Orleans (image via Sazerac)

“The opening of the Sazerac House gives us a show-stopping homeplace in the heart of New Orleans, in a building with a history that aligns so closely to ours,” said Mark Brown, president and chief executive officer of the Sazerac Company, in a prepared statement. “The Sazerac House showcases our roots in this remarkable city, our commitment to our guests to create an incredibly memorable experience and our celebration of the Sazerac Cocktail.”

More specifics on what one can do here are detailed below for your consideration. Sazerac expects 200,000 or so visitors in the first year of its new attraction. Entrance will be complimentary, with tickets required for entry. It is noted as well that, while touring the facility, “guests who are age 21 and over will enjoy sampling stations with a variety of Sazerac products or cocktails, which will vary by day of the week and the season.”

Sazerac House Highlights Include:

  • Sophisticated Spirits – Sit down, choose a drink and enjoy a virtual cocktail mixed up by a New Orleans bartender. Four bartenders who represent the city’s diverse cocktail culture share their craft, cocktail history, and personal stories. Watch an expert in action and along the way, learn about important tools, ingredients, spirits, and lore. Visitors leave feeling inspired and empowered to order or make new drinks.
  • Café Culture – Café Culture captures the Sazerac House, c. 1902, one of the city’s top destinations–a place where the who’s who went to cut deals, handle business and discuss politics.  Visitors use physical coasters to activate the three stories and touch to expand upon story elements. Guests will meet the Sazerac House’s famous bartenders, enjoy tales of its spirited history, learn methods for making its most famous drinks, and get a taste for some of the celebrations. At the end, visitors can take the coaster as a souvenir, which has a drink recipe printed on the back.
  • Magic Mirrors – Using hidden motion sensors, seemingly regular mirrors magically reveal a series of animated films. Through each of the three mirrors, visitors will see historic advertisements, photographs, and iconic Sazerac products, including Herbsaint, Sazerac de Forge & Fils Cognac, and Sazerac Rye Whiskey.
  • The Power of the Dash – Visitors discover that bitters are a versatile product with the power to elevate cocktails and food recipes. They learn what bitters are, how they’re made, and simple pairings for each of the three featured Sazerac products. While learning about bitters as a concept, guests will also be able to view production and bottling of the famous Peychaud’s Bitters.
  • Mr. Boston – Inspired by the Mr. Boston Bartender Guide, this interactive exhibit offers a curated-but-extensive menu of cocktails and a playful mode to find just the right one. Spin the virtual wheel to locate the perfect drink based on favorite flavors and spirits. Visitors can also browse recipes and learn about how drinking has changed since the first Mr. Boston guide was published in the 1930.
  • Sazerac Rye Distillery Exhibit – One of the showstoppers of the Sazerac House is the Distillery Exhibit, which includes a new, custom-built still on the first floor of the Sazerac House. The 60-inch diameter, 500-gallon capacity still, which will produce Sazerac Rye Whiskey, is viewable from two stories through a glass front facing Canal Street, making it a prime attraction in the heart of downtown New Orleans. Sazerac Rye will also be bottled on site and available for sale in the Sazerac House retail shop. A 2,200 gallon thermal energy tank, viewable in the Distillery Exhibit, makes 14,000 pounds of ice at night to cool and condition the distillery equipment during the day.
  • Retail Shop – At the close of their visit, guests will have the opportunity to purchase items from the retail shop, including apparel, bar tools, exclusive gift sets and even the spirits represented at the Sazerac House.