As one of New Orleans' most famous and beloved figures, Antoine Peychaud is a name that resonates deeply among locals. But who was this renowned pharmacist — and how did he become one of the city's most celebrated icons?
Born in 1793, Peychaud moved to New Orleans from his native Haiti to pursue his dream of becoming a pharmacist. After finding success as an apothecary, Peychaud quickly rose to fame by crafting his own brand of medicinal elixirs – eventually creating a sweet-spicy concoction called "Peychaud Bitters".
But it wasn't until around 1838 when the apothecary truly made his mark on local culture with the invention of what would later become known as the "Sazerac": a spirit-forward elixir served in an egg cup called a coquetier. This early iteration included brandy and bitters, but it wasn’t until Leon Lamothe renamed it after a French brand of bitters (Sazerac de Forge et Fils) that it became popular among locals — even earning its own signature glass with rings embedded around the base to mimic eddies.
Today, Peychaud's image has been immortalized in statues and landmarks across New Orleans — including one dedicated to him in Jackson Square bearing the inscription: "Here stands Antoine Peychaud—Father of The Sazerac." And while some recipes may vary over time - typically calling for ingredients like rye whiskey, sugar syrup and bitters - one thing remains clear: when crafted right, there's no better way to enjoy a special occasion than with a glass of well-made Sazerac.