Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Sazerac Company

Stop by The Sazerac Company and see their beautiful new website.

They should have a nice Herbsaint related surprise for drinkers later this year...

Stay tuned for more info.

Friday, December 5, 2008

December 1933, Repeal And The Launch of Legendre Absinthe

December 5th 1933, Prohibition is repealed and J.M. Legendre launches "Legendre Absinthe" in New Orleans.

J. Marion Legendre was one of the first people in the southern United States to receive a Federal Rectifiers permit from the F.A.C.A. following repeal.
Legendre & Co. held Rectifiers Permit number R-48, which is still in use today by The Sazerac Co. in making Herbsaint in the modern era.

Marion Legendre was able to bring Legendre Absinthe to market much quicker than other distilled spirits that required years of aging, giving Legendre & Co. the advantage of having a delicious drink on the market ahead of his competition, that did not need years of barrel aging.

Pictured below is a rare news paper advertisement from December 1933 for the new Legendre Absinthe.

A very rare Legendre Absinthe bottle.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Legendre's Drugstore

Coming Soon: Legendre's Drugstore.

Stay tuned, we are getting caught up after Hurricane Ike.

A vintage image of Legendre's Drugstore on Baronne, (The original building still stands) with a nice Sazerac cocktail display in their window.

Vintage bottles from Legendre's Drugstore.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Herbsaint Pint Bottles

Legendre & Co. offered Herbsaint in three sizes ranging from the familiar 4/5 Quart, to the fairly common Mini bottle, and the hard to find pint bottle size. Legendre & Co. offered the pint bottles for their products from the 1930s through 1948, with Sazerac Co. continuing to offer Herbsaint in pint bottles through the late 1950s and into the 1970s.

Pictured is a group of1930s 120 proof Herbsaint pint bottles in very nice condition.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Herbsaint Drip Glass

In the mid 1950s The Sazerac Co. released a set of absinthe style drip glasses as a promotional item for Herbsaint. These very attractive and functional absinthe glasses with their unique Brouille, or dripper, that could hold ice and water, produce a perfectly louched glass of Herbsaint.
The glass Brouilles were popular in southern United States, back in the pre-ban era of absinthe, and were described in a number of vintage cocktail texts regarding the serving of absinthe.
The Brouilles were especially popular in places like New Orleans where the hot climate made serving iced drinks part of the norm.
Originally offered at $1.50 via mail order, the Herbsaint drip glasses were advertised for several years on the rear label of Herbsaint bottles, they offered an attractive and traditional way to serve a glass of Herbsaint in the traditional absinthe drip style.
The drip glasses were available from the mid 1950s through the late 1960s from the Sazerac Co.
Special thanks to Stanley Schwam retired Senior VP. of The Sazerac Co., and Kevin Richards, Brand manager for Herbsaint, for this beautiful Herbsaint glass.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Sazerac Beomes The Official Drink Of New Orleans

It's official! The Louisiana Legislature passed House Bill 6 designating The Sazerac as the official drink of the city of New Orleans!
To celebrate, some images of vintage Sazerac ingredients, shown with The Sazerac Company's excellent Sazerac Rye, and a vintage Hotel Roosevelt Sazerac Bar glass.

The Sazerac Recipe is courtesy of The Sazerac Company, makers of Sazerac Rye, Legendre Herbsaint, and Peychauds Bitters.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

1934: Herbsaint Given a Clean Bill Of Health

With the publishing of the first Legendre Herbsaint recipe booklet, Marion Legendre showed quite a bit of business savvy, by revising the inaugural Legendre Absinthe booklet, following the name change to Legendre Herbsaint. The first Herbsaint booklet was more than more than just a listing of drink recipes, this was not only an introduction to Legendre Herbsaint, but a carefully crafted booklet to educate, and ease the fears of a public unfamiliar with absinthe styled drinks.

Marion Legendre even took the unprecedented step of having Tulane University analyze Herbsaint and have the head of Tulane University’s Chemistry dept. issue a statement that there was no harmful or habit forming substances in Legendre Herbsaint, which was printed in the initial Herbsaint booklet.

Marion Legendre would also turn some of the controversy over the post prohibition absinthe confusion to his advantage, by using a recent New Orleans Item news story, written on May 6th, 1934, as a press release stating: Herbsaint Given Complete Bill of Health and go to state that Legendre Herbsaint is the only correctly labeled absinthe-styled drink made and sold in New Orleans. It complies with the law in every respect, and 
is sold nation wide.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Herbsaint Frappé

The signature Herbsaint cocktail is without a doubt the Herbsaint Frappé. The Herbsaint Frappé is the first cocktail recipe that appears in every Herbsaint recipe booklet, printed from 1934, to the mid 1950s. The Herbsaint Frappé is a New Orleans favorite, perfect on those warm humid days & nights in the Vieux Carré.

One of William B. Wisdom's iconic advertisements for Legendre & Company.
"At the close of the day Drink an Herbsaint Frappé"
Legendre Herbsaint Always served when absinthe is called for.


Friday, April 25, 2008

J. Marion Legendre

The man who created Herbsaint

A very dapper J. Marion Legendre pictured in 1982.

The elusive L. E. Jung & Wulff "Milky Way" Logo

The elusive L. E. Jung & Wulff "Milky Way" Logo, which has long been a source of mystery to absinthe collectors, has been found.


The L. E. Jung & Wulff Company, was an old New Orleans distillery that made absinthe before the 1912 U.S. government ban, L. E. Jung & Wulff who also made a number of liqueurs before prohibition, would also make several non alcoholic cordials during prohibition to keep the firm in business during the long dry spell in the USA.

Following the repeal of prohibition in Dec 1933, Jung & Wulff would revive production of absinthe and made approximately 1500, cases of absinthe before being ordered to cease by the FACA (Federal Alcohol Control Administration) in early 1934. Following this action L. E. Jung & Wulff would market their own absinthe substitute called Milky Way.

An excerpt the from the Jung & Wulff booklet The Mixologist L. E Jung & Wulff Trustees of Southern Traditions "Est. 1883".

The TRUTH about ABSINTHE ABSINTHE originated in Algeria, and was introduced into Europe by the French soldiers. It is a distillation of sixteen herbs, roots, seeds and leaves, including the much discussed WORMWOOD.
Some people believe that Wormwood is a poison. It is no such thing, but is a valuable tonic and stimulant for the stomach--see Webster's dictionary--when taken in such quantities as it appears in Absinthe. It is harmful only when taken in overdoses as is the case with anything.
When genuine Absinthe was prohibited by Federal Law, L. E. JUNG & WULFF CO. developed a non-wormwood product known as MILKY WAY, as a substitute for Absinthe. From this product was omitted only the prohibited wormwood, and the formula slightly changed to replace the wormwood. MILKY WAY can not be distinguished, in taste, even by the greatest Absinthe connoisseurs, from genuine Absinthe. We recommend its use wherever Absinthe is called for.
MILKY WAY is a distilled product, superior to all present day American Absinthe substitutes."

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Legendre Herbsaint Advertisement

From New Orleans Comes Herbsaint

Pictured is a striking advertisement for Legendre Herbsaint circa 1944 created by well known Southern writer William B. Wisdom.

William B. Wisdom created several striking advertisements for Legendre & Co., including a number of Legendre Herbsaint recipe booklets, and numerous iconic advertising slogans, with evocative period graphics. Wisdom also created tie-in ads for The Old Absinthe House, that feature Legendre Herbsaint prominently in the ad copy.

J. Marion Legendre recalled William B. Wisdom and his advertising work in Legendre's memoirs:

"I employed William B. Wisdom to promote and advertise “Herbsaint”, having a very fertile mind, he prepared recipe books and all sorts of advertising material. He painted Herbsaint as being a most delectable drink and described the product in glowing terms. Wisdom stated that the formula for Herbsaint was handed down from father to son and had been in the Legendre family for a long time. I told him that this might be questioned but he said “It is of no great importance”. As a matter of fact, I have never been questioned on this subject and I have never changed any literature printed by me and by Sazerac. No one really cares how Herbsaint came about as they either enjoy it or do not enjoy this drink"J. Marion Legendre October 5, 1984

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Legendre Herbsaint Mini Bottles

A selection of Legendre and Herbsaint Mini Bottles.

A group of assorted Legendre and Company Mini bottles pictured below.


A Legendre Herbsaint Cocktail mini, with a label typical of Legendre & Co. bottled cocktails, circa 1935.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A Glass of Vintage Herbsaint

A glass of vintage Legendre Herbsaint from the 1940s, a rare treat from old New Orleans.
The scent and taste of this vintage bottle of Legendre Herbsaint compares well to a vintage absinthe such as Pre-Ban Pernod Fils, and other quality Pre-Ban absinthes.

Legendre Herbsaint stands alone in it's category as an absinthe substitute, with an unbroken production record from 1933, to present day, long after other competitors have faded into history.

1940s Legendre Herbsaint


Friday, February 29, 2008

1930s Legendre & Co. Bottles

A Selection of 1930s Legendre & Co. BottlesTop images: A 1934 Legendre Herbsaint bottle, with the label in two parts, showing the new name, Legendre Herbsaint. This bottle dates from the early production of the newly revised label.
Also shown is the original Legendre & Co. stamped cork, rescued from the inside of the bottle.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Legendre Herbsaint Bottle From the 1940s

A still sealed full bottle of Legendre Herbsaint

This is a well preserved example of Legendre Herbsaint from the 1940s, still full with no ullage, this bottle waits for the day to be opened, and make this Herbsaint collector's heart grow fonder.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Legendre New Orleans Bitters

Legendre New Orleans Bitters

Legendre & Co. made their own high quality version of Peychauds bitters, this rare bottle dates from the 1930s. Legendre & Co. would market two types of bitters, The New Orleans Bitters, and Orange Bitters, in both mini bottle, and pint bottle size.

Legendre Old Absinthe House Cocktail

Legendre Old Absinthe House Cocktail

This Legendre Absinthe House Cocktail bottle is a very early Legendre & Co. artifact, dating from the immediate post prohibition era of December 1933.
The still sealed contents which appear to be intact, are likely a pre-mixed bottled Herbsaint Frappé that Legendre & Co. marketed with other pre-mixed cocktails, that J.M. Legendre made to expand his line of products.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Legendre Absinthe Label

Legendre Absinthe Label

The very rare, and short lived Legendre Absinthe label, used only from December 1933, through very early 1934, when the Federal Alcohol Control Administration objected to the use of the word "Absinthe" on the label, and would require Legendre & Co. to change the label. By March 1, 1934 Legendre & Co. would announce the new name, Herbsaint.

Early two piece Legendre Herbsaint label.The bottom Herbsaint logo was likely added to make the new label stand out, as the Herbsaint logo was transitioned into use in 1934.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Selection Of Vintage Herbsaint Booklets

A selection of Herbsaint recipe booklets, from the beginning to the Sazerac era.

From Left to right, original Legendre Herbsaint recipe booklets, from 1934, 1937, 1944, 1949.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

The Story of Herbsaint

Excerpt from the 1937 Legendre Herbsaint recipe booklet

French in name, French in origin, and French in its sophisticated appeal, Legendre Herbsaint is a drink distinctly European in character. Its very appearance differs from all other drinks. In its original state Herbsaint is a transparent greenish amber. Mixed with water or ice as in a frappe, Herbsaint becomes an opaque beverage whose gyrating whorls of coalescent strata have a distinct opalescent hue. This refreshing and delightful beverage pleases the palate of the connoisseur and man about town alike, and is reminiscent of the charm and unique appeal of New Orleans. in whose Vieux Carre it has attained its greatest popularity. To drink Herbsaint is to recall the glories of the past, to renew acquaintance with the romance and glamour of by-gone days of Old France and of that France of the New World-Louisiana.

Friday, February 1, 2008

New Orleans Absinthe History

Following the repeal of prohibition in December 1933, there were handful of distilleries in New Orleans that revived the spirit of absinthe in New Orleans, this is their story.J. Marion Legendre and the Story of Herbsaint
Legendre Herbsaint is the longest surviving absinthe substitute in America, made by Legendre & Company, and produced in New Orleans for many years, Legendre Herbsaint remains a New Orleans favorite to this day.

J. Marion LegendreThe founder of Legendre & Company, J. Marion Legendre, was a prominent New Orleans businessman and pharmacy owner, his creation called Legendre Herbsaint, would become the best known and longest surviving absinthe substitute in America.

Follow the creation of Herbsaint in New Orleans