Archive for the ‘Sazerac Bar’ Category

The Roosevelt New Orleans Celebrates Official Opening with Ribbon-Cutting

Posted on: July 31st, 2009 by admin 2 Comments

Milestone Includes Ceremony in Typical New Orleans Style, Along with Dignitaries Present and “Past”

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At The Roosevelt’s ribbon-cutting ceremony July 30 are (left to right) former Louisiana Gov. Huey P. Long (played by a local actor); principal owner Sam Friedman of Dimension Development; Alan Rose with Dimension Development; Tod Chambers, general manager of the hotel; Paul Brown, president of Global Brands and Shared Services for Hilton Hotels Corporation); Jackie Clarkson, New Orleans City Council vice president); and Stacy Head, member of the New Orleans City Council.

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Also at the ceremony were former President Teddy Roosevelt, portrayed by a local actor; Tod Chambers, hotel general manager; Paul Brown, president of Global Brands and Shared Services for Hilton Hotels Corporation; Tim Benolken, senior vice president, also of Hilton Hotels Corporation; Andy Slater, area vice president of Hilton Hotels Corporation); and former Louisiana Gov. Huey P. Long, portrayed by a local actor.

To mark its official return as New Orleans’ grand-hotel and a top American luxury property, Hilton Hotels Corporation executives along with New Orleans dignitaries including two “legends” last seen at the hotel almost three-fourths of a century ago cut the ribbon today to The Roosevelt New Orleans, a downtown landmark.

“Today represents the passion and determination of the people of New Orleans, its city leaders and our ownership to preserving the past while celebrating the future of this great city and iconic hotel,” said Tod Chambers, general manager of the 116-year-old hotel. “Ecstatic, proud and a tremendous sense of accomplishment are words that come to mind.”

Following a $145-million historic restoration that returns the Roosevelt name for the first time since 1965, the hotel is the newest member of the Waldorf Astoria Brand. “The Roosevelt holds a special place in the hearts of New Orleanians and visitors from around the world. Today is definitely a day for celebration.”

Joining Chambers to cut the ribbon was Paul Brown, president of Global Brands and Shared Services for Hilton Hotels Corporation, of which the Waldorf Astoria Brand is the luxury arm.

To be part of the Waldorf Astoria Brand, a hotel must be an iconic local landmark that radiates timeless luxury, impeccable service and world-class style,” Brown said. “The Roosevelt does just that. From its classic elegance and storied venues, such as the Blue Room and the Sazerac Bar, to its incomparably rich history, The Roosevelt is archetypical example of the type of property that characterizes the Waldorf Astoria brand.

“Today’s ceremony is another important milestone in Hilton’s continuing commitment to New Orleans and to the vibrant spirit of this community.”

Other presenters were New Orleans City Council president Jacqueline Brechtel Clarkson and principal owner Sam Friedman of Dimension Development.

Taking to the podium following a downtown motorcade in a 1941 yellow convertible Cadillac coupe once owned by the Vanderbilt family were “Louisiana Gov. Huey P. Long” and “U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt.” Each was portrayed by a local actor to salute the pair’s connections to the legendary hotel.

Long, a populist governor in the late 1920s and U.S. Senator in the early 1930s until his death in 1935, kept a suite at he hotel for much of his public life and was responsible for tales regarding the hotel that linger today. The name of the hotel, which opened in 1893 as the Grunewald, was changed to The Roosevelt in 1925 in honor of the former President, who also was a frequent guest and whose likeness, complete with spectacles and moustache, still marks one of the hotel’s historic entrances. The hotel bore that moniker until it was renamed the Fairmont in the mid-1960s.

Providing music for the rebirth of the hotel and of the city itself were the Rebirth Brass Band and pianist Ronnie Kole.

The grand hotel boasts 504 rooms, of which 135 are luxury suites, some named for celebrities who once visited the hotel. Other amenities include a comprehensive business center, private dining and suite butler service, an outdoor pool and courtyard, and a specialty gift shop.

The Blue Room also has been restored to its previous splendor and already is serving as a place for families and friends to enjoy good music and food and celebrate life’s special occasions. On Sunday mornings starting in October, the Blue Room will feature a grand brunch complete with delights such as mascarpone-stuffed French toast with house-made satsuma marmalade, boiled Gulf shrimp, a carving table featuring the finest roasted meats and much more.

Guests have the opportunity to enjoy a beverage in the Sazerac Bar and Restaurant, a Roosevelt landmark for decades. The Sazerac Bar serves its signature Sazerac beverage and Ramos Gin Fizz – both invented in New Orleans and made popular worldwide by The Roosevelt and by Long – among other delights. In addition to beverages that stimulate the palate, Sazerac patrons again enjoy the Art Deco-style murals by artist Paul Ninas.

The Roosevelt New Orleans also features nearly 60,000 square feet of meeting and event space, including three spectacular ballrooms and 23 distinctive meeting and event rooms that span two floors of the hotel.

To take advantage of any of the hotel’s offers, guests and visitors can call 1-800-WALDORF or visit www.therooseveltneworleans.com. For more information about booking any of the rooms, contact Mark Wilson at (504) 648-1200 or at mark.wilson@hilton.com.

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Historic Roosevelt Hotel Cocktail Menu

Posted on: May 6th, 2009 by admin 4 Comments

Here’s more historic menu goodness from the Roosevelt hotel, with the official drink list full of classics that will, we hope, return to the Roosevelt this year along with their 21st Century concoctions. I don’t have an exact date for this menu, but presumably it predates the move of the Sazerac Bar to the Roosevelt Hotel in 1949, as you’ll note the conspicuous absence of the Sazerac Cocktail on the menu, as well as mentions of the bar.

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I love the beginning … ‘Correct drinking is an art, which is gradually coming back in America, after sixteen years of Prohibition.’ It is indeed, and is once again a lost art for so many. Perhaps we need this menu introduction again, in an age where on weekend nights people stand eight deep at the bar to order vodka tonics or vodka and Red Bull.

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While we see no Sazerac here, the Ramos Gin Fizz is, of course, front and center. Many classics here, with the interesting specification in many of J. & W. Bitters (made by Jung and Wolff) rather than Peychaud’s Bitters, as there were some rights issues at one point. (I’ve become hazy on the details, but Ted ‘Dr. Cocktail’ Haigh has done much research into this subject, and can perhaps enlighten us in the comments!)

There are also some odd versions here … The ‘Casino’ shown here with rum, anisette and pineapple juice bears no resemblance to what one would normally expect a Casino to be, with gin, maraschino, lemon juice and orange bitters.

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Sadly, I expect room service will end up being a bit more than a nickel per drink.

We Want Your Roosevelt New Orleans Stories!

Posted on: April 21st, 2009 by admin 26 Comments

The Sazerac Bar will be returning to its former glory in The Roosevelt New Orleans, and it will once again serve New Orleans cocktail classics like the Sazerac and Ramos Gin Fizz (recipes below).

But even more important than the drinks are the stories that accompany them. We’re sure the new bar will generate more than its share, but we want to hear about your most memorable visit to The Roosevelt New Orleans. When were you there? What did you order? What do you remember about it?

Share your story in the comments!

Sazerac

  • 1 cube sugar
  • 1 1/2oz rye whiskey
  • 1/4oz Herbsaint
  • 3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
  • lemon peel, for garnish

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 rye whiskey 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, then discard the remaining Herbsaint. Empty the whiskey/bitters/sugar mixture from the second glass into the first glass and garnish with lemon peel.

Ramos Gin Fizz

  • 2oz gin (Old Tom if you can find it)
  • 1oz heavy cream
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2oz lemon juice
  • 1/2oz lime juice
  • 2t sugar
  • 3 drops orange flower water
  • club soda, to top

Shake with cracked ice for at least a minute, and strain into a chilled rocks glass. Top with just a bit of club soda.

Sazerac Bar Takes the Spotlight

Posted on: March 14th, 2009 by admin 1 Comment

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The Sazerac Bar was in the spotlight in New Orleans March 5, from dawn almost to dusk, with live television comments by general manager Tod Chambers and the third Sazerac Roundtable.

Starting off the day was Chambers’ appearance on the WGNO-TV/ABC26 morning news, where he brought the station’s viewers up to date on the reopening of the hotel and, in particular, the re-launch of the fabled Sazerac Bar. Reporter Lorin Gaudin and the morning crew interviewed Chambers as bartender Michael Glassberg prepared Sazerac cocktails on the set, carefully following the drink’s recipe. “The Sazerac Bar once again will shine with the fabulous Paul Ninas murals originally painted in the 1930s,” Chambers said, “and the bar will reclaim its place as one of America’s finest cocktail destinations.”

Later that day, approximately 45 invited guests gathered at the French 75 Bar at Arnaud’s Restaurant to share stories about the Sazerac Bar, the Sazerac cocktail and the hotel itself. Chambers, as well as director of sales and marketing Mark Wilson, welcomed guests who included members of the news media, community leaders, business owners and others who are looking forward to the June 2009 reopening.

The Best Sazerac in Town

Posted on: March 10th, 2009 by admin 4 Comments

“Hmm … too bad we can’t really go try a Sazerac at every single bar in town.”

“Why not?”

Thus began The Great Sazerac Crawl of 2001, in which Wesly and I, during one of our annual trips back home to New Orleans, decided that we needed to do some comparing and contrasting. We had just finished a gorgeous Sazerac at Bayona, and although it was untraditionally served in a cocktail glass rather than a rocks glass it was really top-notch.

Sadly, my notes from that next few days are long gone, but we had a LOT of Sazeracs — I’d say we probably hit at least 15 different bars and restaurants. Most were just fine, some were spectacular, a few were truly rotten, but of all the spaces where we quaffed them, our favorite space was this one:


Chuck &Wes at the Sazerac Bar, 2001

Alas, the photograph is dim and blurry, a side-effect of eschewing flash in an attempt to preserve some atmosphere. In case you’re wondering, yes indeed, it’s the Sazerac Bar at the former Fairmont and former-and-soon-to-be-once-again Roosevelt New Orleans Hotel. I have to confess that we did want to smack a few of their bartenders at the time — simple syrup premix with bitters added to it does not make for a potable drink — but there was no better space for us to have one of what is undoubtedly my favorite cocktail. (I have no idea why some of their bartenders took that shortcut back then — adding the bitters in properly measured amounts separately from the simple syrup takes all of five seconds extra — but I have no doubt that the reincarnated bar’s standards will be nothing but top-notch, with beautiful Sazeracs made from scratch.)

The bar itself, the gorgeous murals, the banquettes (sadly removed a while back, but due to be restored) and all that history … this promises to rise to becoming one of the finest bars in the country. One really great way to achieve that, in addition to hiring creative, cocktailian bartenders who’d bring their own original concoctions to the bar, would be to look back into their own history.

Sazerac Bar Menu

Here’s an old Sazerac Bar menu from my collection, which I’m guessing dates to the early 1940s – please correct me if anyone remembers the exact years when you could get a Sazerac for 60 cents!

Sazerac Bar menu, Roosevelt Hotel, New Orleans, 1940s

Click on the photos for enlarged versions, and let’s start reading that menu:


Sazerac Bar menu, Page 2

The Sazerac, of course tops the list, with the Grasshopper listed second, interestingly — supposedly invented on the other side of Canal at Tujague’s. Martinis, natch (with a proper amount of vermouth, please; i.e., some rather than none!). The New Orleans staple anisette, Ojen (which is in dwindling supply — it’s actually not made anymore, and New Orleans has all that’s left. Find it at Martin Wine Cellar and Vieux Carré Wine and Spirits, and on the menu at Lüke and Commander’s). Look at those classics … Aviation, Jack Rose … yum. Let’s not forget the classics; everything old is new again.


Sazerac Bar menu, Page 3

More classics, and more locals: The Ramos Gin Fizz, of course, which here should be better than those served at any other bar on the planet. The Bayou Swizzle — anyone still have the recipe for that? Rickeys and Sours and Punch, oh my! Perhaps we’ll see punch bowls appearing in this bar again, as the preferred tipple of the 18th and 19th Centuries makes its way back to 21st Century bars.


Sazerac Bar menu, Page 4


Sazerac Bar menu, Page 5

The Sazerac Company no longer makes the pre-bottled Sazerac Cocktail, but I suspect we’ll see the signature glasses for sale, perhaps a 21st Century version?


Sazerac Bar menu, Page 6


Sazerac Bar menu, Page 7

There’s the Bayou Swizzle again, rather prominently featured. I’d really love to know what was in this (besides the warmth of a Southern sun and the subtle tang of a bayou breeze, of course).


Sazerac Bar menu, Page 8

I imagine the Ramos Gin Fizzes will be more expensive (but worth every penny), and I’ll bet the sandwich menu, if they offer one, will be a bit more exciting. Actually, the reopening of this bar and hotel is tremendously exciting. See you in June for a Sazerac!

Chuck Taggart is the author of the long-running web site The Gumbo Pages and its subsidiary blog Looka!, featuring New Orleans cuisine and culture, with a big serving of cocktails. Though not a professional bartender he’s a dedicated and enthusiastic mixologist whose recipes have been published in the Times-Picayune, Imbibe magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle and Robert Hess’ recent book The Essential Bartender’s Guide and served in bars from Seattle to Boston to the French Quarter.

New Generations of New Orleanians to be Hosted in World-Famous Blue Room and Legendery Sazerac Bar at The Roosevelt New Orleans

Posted on: February 12th, 2009 by admin 13 Comments

NEW ORLEANS – Feb. 10, 2009 – Through more than a century of operation, The Roosevelt New Orleans served as the backdrop for many historic events and often made history in its own right. Key among plans to restore the property to its previous grandeur and appeal will be the reopening of the hotel’s famed Blue Room and legendary Sazerac Bar.

The smell of Eggs Benedict, musical notes from horns and pianos, and the sound of laughter from receptions soon will fill the air at The Roosevelt New Orleans’ world-renowned Blue Room, scheduled to reopen in the summer of 2009.

The Blue Room – legendary with locals, visitors and celebrities – also will return to the Sunday brunch circuit complete with delights such as mascarpone-stuffed French toast with house-made satsuma marmalade, boiled Gulf shrimp, a carving table featuring the finest roasted meats and much more.

Many big-band fans around the world will warmly recall turning to WWL radio at night and hearing the sounds of the Leon Kelner Orchestra, the house band, live from the Blue Room. With gleaming chandeliers and carefully restored architectural details, the renovated Blue Room once again will host live entertainment that appeals to all ages.

“The Blue Room is a household name not just in New Orleans but across the country and even around the globe,” said Mark Wilson, sales and marketing director at The Roosevelt New Orleans. “For decades, the Blue Room was a place for family and friends to enjoy good music and food and to celebrate life’s special occasions. We’re excited to reintroduce this pastime to new generations of New Orleanians and visitors.”

In the golden era of supper clubs from the 1930s to the 1960s, the Blue Room played host to some of the best-known names in entertainment and big bands – including Tony Bennett, Louis Armstrong, Marlene Dietrich, and Sonny and Cher – as well as to elaborate floor shows.

In addition to hosting Sunday brunch and frequent entertainment, the Blue Room again will be available for the most special of special events, including weddings and carnival balls. For more information about booking the Blue Room for events, contact Earl Lizana, director of catering, at (504) 648-1200 or at earl.lizana@hilton.com.

The Sazerac Bar, a Roosevelt landmark for decades, again will serve its signature Sazerac cocktail and Ramos Gin Fizz – both invented in New Orleans and made popular worldwide by The Roosevelt – among other delights. In addition to beverages that stimulate the palate, patrons again will be able to enjoy the Art Deco-style murals by artist Paul Ninas and woodwork once held in awe by visitors.
When The Roosevelt New Orleans reopens, it will offer 504 guest accommodations, of which 135 will be suites, and 60,000 square feet of meeting and event space, including the spacious 20,000-square-foot Roosevelt Ballroom, 12,000-square-foot Crescent City Ballroom and the 7,000-square-foot Waldorf Astoria Ballroom, along with a total of 23 distinctive meeting and event rooms. For more information, visit www.waldorfastoriacollection.com.

Memories of the hotel’s meeting rooms, the Blue Room and the Sazerac Bar can be logged at the hotel’s blog site: www.therooseveltneworleans.com/blog.