1. The Sazerac
Where to find it: The Sazerac Bar, Kingfish, or any self-respecting cocktail bar in New Orleans
Well, this had to be number one, didn’t it? After all, it was literally voted into state law as the “official cocktail of the City of New Orleans.” And though there’s some debate on whether or not NOLA invented the cocktail itself, there’s no dispute that Antoine Peychaud created something magical when he combine cognac with sugar and his signature bitters, then strained the chilled mixture into a similarly chilled, absinthe-lined glass rimmed with a lemon peel. It is a potent but delicate drink, easy to make, but similarly easy to royally screw up. If any element is out of balance, the drink fails. But when it succeeds, it does so with aplomb.
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Scott Gold is a writer in New Orleans who actually holds a degree from the Crescent City School of Gaming and Bartending. For more tippling tips, follow him on Twitter @scottgold.