Rivalry. The feeling of restless and prolonged animosity. Certain rivalries are only destructive. Others, however, are pretty beneficial and drive you to do things that you never would if it weren’t for the insatiable desire to beat your rival. A classic example is the war of the currents – the main players being Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison.
The (literally) electrifying rivalry began in 1884, when a young Nikola Tesla began working in Thomas Edison’s laboratory. In case you didn’t know, Edison was the guy who invented continuous electric current (DC), the light bulb and lots of ‘graphs and ‘scopes, such as the phonograph, vitascope and mimeograph.
Just one year later, Tesla resigned and started his own electric company. Funded by a banker, George Westinghouse, the inventor suggested that the standard electricity system in the USA should be alternating current (AC), rather than direct current to which Edison owned the patent.
in 1903 – afraid of losing the proceeds of his patent – Edison launched an advertising campaign to promote DC. In one of his commercials, the inventor electrocuted an elephant named Topsy using AC, just to show how risky it was. That, in this Dog’s opinion, is like grinding someone’s hand in a coffee grinder to show caffeine is bad for you.
Edison’s campaign didn’t work, and little by little DC was replaced by AC. The race to find the best model for lighting the USA brought huge benefits. The change of system meant that electricity could reach remote areas more easily and sparked the technological advances of the time.
Another advantageous conflict occurred in New Orleans the 1920s. The city had two beautiful hotels with great bars: the Monteleone and La Louisiane. The first created the classic Vieux Carré, a cocktail that today is among the best known in the world.
However, La Louisiane felt that, in order not to fall behind, it should also have a signature cocktail. The result was La Louisiane cocktail. Maybe creativity in naming things was not their forte, but it didn’t matter, because mixing drink certainly was.
For some reason I can’t shed any light on (see what I did there?), the La Louisiane cocktail has never reached the international prestige of its rival. Its first appearance was in Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix ‘Em, by Stanley Clisby Arthur. Later, the cocktail also appeared in The PDT Cocktail Book, by Jim Meehan and Chris Gall. Throughout its career, it also gained a variation of its original name: De La Louisiane.
The Cocktail à La Louisiane can be considered a hybrid between a Vieux Carré and a Sazerac. Like its contemporaries, it is made with the famous Peychaud’s bitters, produced in the city. The original recipe was made with equal parts rye whisky, red vermouth and Benedictine. This recipe appeared in Stanley Clisby Arthur’s book.
The version in The PDT Cocktail Book however, required a significant increase in the dose of whisky to balance the sweetness of the Benedictine. This is the recipe I’m going to give you here – although, my dear readers, if you do want to change the proportions, feel free. There is no rivalry here, only the incessant search for the best cocktail to suit your taste buds.
COCKTAIL A LA LOUISIANE
- 2 parts rye whiskey (yes, I know, the only one we have in Brazil is Wild Turkey 101 Rye, and even that it difficult to find. We recently received a batch of Wild Turkey Rye with lower ABV. You can use one of these or a bourbon with a high concentration of rye in the mash bill, like Bulleit)
- 1/2-part red vermouth (this Dog uses Miró Etiqueta Negra)
- 1/2-part Benedictine (if not, use Drambuie, but bear in mind that the cocktail will become spicier and sweeter)
- 3 dashes of Peychaud’s
- 2 dashes of absinthe
- Maraschino cherry to garnish (I’ll make this optional, before you, my dear reader, put a cherry-shaped chayote in your drink).
- Cover the inside of a glass with Absinthe and tip away any excess (I know you’re going to tip it into your mouth – go ahead).
- In a mixing glass, add lots of ice and the other liquid ingredients. Stir for about five seconds.
- Using a strainer, strain the mixture into a cocktail glass.
- Top with a glacé cherry.