How to Make a Criminal Cocktail | Off the Clock Economist Explores

Release Date
March 13, 2014


Criminal Justice

With a social-capital-inducing King Cake in tow, Off the Clock Economist Dan D’Amico heads out to a backyard bar. Discover how to make a New Orleans Sazerac, which many say was the very first cocktail ever invented. Why? Keep watching to learn how the criminalization of alcohol in the United States forever changed the way we consume liquor. There is no tastier way to figure out how social capital, unintended consequences, and government intervention helped the Big Easy create this famous drink – and don’t worry, the recipe is in the video too!
Check out Rob Hahne’s shop: Homestead NOLA

Sign up for Dan D’Amico’s academy program on Mardi Gras and New Orleans!

America’s First Cocktail: Was it the Sazerac? (infographic, video, and article): Discover more of the history behind the sazerac, and more on how to make them

Prohibition: Unintended Consequences (article): A historian’s quick examination of the failures of Prohibition

Dan D’Amico on Learn Liberty (webpage): Plenty more videos from Dan D’Amico, many of which deal with New Orleans, social capital, and unintended consequences

Drinkers Earn More Money Than Non-Drinkers (report): A very interesting Reason Foundation report that addresses the social capital of going to the bar

Desert Island Game (game, beginner): Can you learn something about trade and cooperation by being marooned on a desert island?

Trade Ruler (game, advanced): As the Supreme Ruler of an island, you want the country to prosper. By engaging in international trade, you can achieve this goal.

How to Make a Criminal Cocktail | Off the Clock Economist Explores
Dan D’Amico: So we have made gumbo and we have made King Cake but luckily Larry, from Swiss Confectionery he was nice enough to give us an extra King Cake to go. So we have got an opportunity to build some social capital. So for cocktails tonight we are visiting my friend Rob Hohne, a local entrepreneur/bar tender and he is going to make us some New Orleans inspired signature drinks. Howdy Rob.
Rob Hohne: Sup dude.
D’Amico: Good to see you man.
Hohne: Good to see you as well.
D’Amico: Brought you some King Cake.
Hohne: This stuff is worth its weight in gold
D’Amico: See?
Hohne: I appreciate it.
D’Amico: Awesome I want something authentic, something, something New Orleans inspired.
Hohne: Something classic?
D’Amico: Something classic!
Hohne: Let’s do something classic, let’s do a Sazerac. Some say it is the first cocktail ever invented.
D’Amico: Why don’t you tell me what is in a Sazerac?
Hohne: Alright so the first thing we’re going to do is we’re going to chill our glass.
D’Amico: Okay.
Hohne: So we throw some ice in there and some water. Your main base spirit is rye whiskey and we are using Old Overholt today which is a 4-year-old rye whiskey. Rye whiskey means it is 51% rye. We are using today some raw sugar and we will just do like to do 2:1 simple serve with this.
D’Amico: Prior to the prohibition era, people predominantly drank spirit straight so it was my understanding that when they started to make alcohol in like bath tubs and in the underground it tasted awful. So it was a strategy to mask the bad flavors of poorly produced gin, I mean bath tub gin doesn’t sound like something you want to drink unless you add a little bit of sweetness to it.
Hohne: So it is the sort of unintended consequences of scrappy bath tub gin and it is amazing cocktails we have today.
D’Amico: And it is not surprising New Orleans hosts this culture because of how much trade went through the river.
Hohne: Sure. I think so, and speaking of New Orleans so this is one of our, this is basically the main ingredient in a Sazerac right. Just a little Peychaud’s Bitters add about three dashes you can go six dashes kind of as heavy or light as you prefer; and then you are going to throw in two ounces of rye whiskey.
D’Amico: During the criminalization of alcohol people started switching to harder alcohol. Get it while you can, it was easier to transport, easier to smuggle. It’s almost ironic that we pay extra for craft cocktails, right? It’s a luxury, it used to be a necessity.
Hohne: People probably wouldn’t have come up with a lot of these things if they had had the high quality ingredients that we have at our fingertips today.
We will take our ice and our water there. Coat the glass with some Herb Saint, basically an absinthe, and then what you’re going to do is you’re going to coat the inside of your chilled glass here. Pour in your Sazerac cocktail. Here we go. traditional New Orleans Sazerac.
D’Amico: Traditional New Orleans Sazerac. New Orleans is the home of the cocktail so to speak, and the Sazerac is the ultimate New Orleans expression of the cocktail. But I can’t help but think what New Orleanians in the era of Prohibition would think of this delicious Sazerac that you just made me I just find it hard to believe that they would have access to these quality ingredients with a regime that would eliminate the production or criminalize the distribution or the sharing of it. I mean it is really a testament to prosperity and liberty the fact that we no longer criminalize having these things and now we can enhance it so much more. Thanks to the freedom to trade.
Hohne: I think you are right.
D’Amico: I think the real remarkable factor of cocktails is the culture around it sharing them with your friends.
Hohne: I think so too. Well cheers man wish I could join.
D’Amico: Why don’t you make yourself one?
Hohne: I think maybe I will.
D’Amico: Excellent.
Hohne: Gents, we’re going again.