As another college football weekend approaches, let’s talk whiskey.  All work and no play might save Jack’s liver from decaying into a bile-filled mass of diseased tissue, but the oil man needs a break from the burden of termination clauses, stolen trade secrets, and – as revealed by Yoko and Shawn – desecration of Mother Earth by those toxic gas wells he’s been drilling.

Cheer up, Jack! I’ve reported before on my search. (Perhaps you took the quiz?) Round two is really the neo-Sazerac, and our candidates, all in Dallas, tweak the traditional ingredients to great and tasty effect.

Princi Italia

Alternative ingredient: Black Sambuca instead of Absinthe. It’s lower in alcohol and hence more subtle and smooth than Pernod or Absinthe, with less of an alcoholic jolt. They’ll do it with Woodward Reserve Bourbon if you like. Don’t take them up on the offer – too sweet IMO. Aaron Neville and Linda Ronstadt in a glass.


Alternative ingredients: Where do I start? Grant, the very excellent mixologist, uses Whistle Pig, a 100 proof rye, and Bitter Truth Aromatic Bitters, 80 proof (higher in alcohol than Pernod or Absinthe). The absinthe is misted, rather than rinsed around the inside of the glass. Very cool. The bitters lingers for an aftertaste that’s as soothing as Eric Clapton channeling Elmore James.

A nice, not harsh, alcohol bite. Talking Heads in a glass.

Bonus drink that has no name: Five 50-proof or less Italian Amaro herbal liqueurs, the names of which I don’t know, with a spritz of something called Bittermen’s orange cream citrate, and who-knows-what-else. It’s an aromatic drink that is complex and … I have no idea … Exotic and incomprehensible? King Sunny Ade in a glass.

The Standard Pour

“Neo” in that they mist the absinthe in the glass and then flame it, giving it a kind of caramelized flavor. A tiny bit too much simple syrup IMO.

The Meters in a glass, with a Barrence Whitfield and the Savages chaser.