July is National Ice Cream Month, and as you’ve probably already heard, Tales of the Cocktail is happening this week. So The Roosevelt Hotel is commemorating both of these noteworthy events in one fell scoop. In a combined nod to both cocktails and ice cream, Deborah Heyd, the hotel’s pastry chef, has created a new Sazerac-flavored ice cream.
The Sazerac, which is considered to be America’s (and some even say, the world’s) very first cocktail, was created right here in New Orleans. And in 2008 it was declared the official cocktail of NO. Since The Roosevelt Hotel named their world-famous bar after the drink and has been serving gallons of Sazeracs to visitors and locals alike for years, they have done a great deal to popularize the cocktail. So it’s no surprise that a Sazerac in any form would be right at home within the walls of the Roosevelt. And now you can not only sip your Sazerac, you can spoon it up as well.
Though there are many variations on the Sazerac these days, the cocktail traditionalists still swear by the tried-and-true recipe of Sazerac Rye, Herbsaint, and Peychaud’s bitters. Chef Heyd sticks to convention by using all these classic ingredients in her ice cream, and the dessert is bartender-tested and approved to testify to its authenticity. She even tops the ice cream off with an Herbsaint spritz and garnishes it with a lemon peel, just like the real deal.
Heyd says she uses a full bottle of Sazerac Rye per five-gallon tub of ice cream. But, if you’re hoping to get a buzz off the frozen concoction, you better stick to a Sazerac in its original liquid form instead. She points out that since alcohol doesn’t freeze, she has to cook down the booze before using it in her recipe, or she’d never end up with ice cream at all. “I add enough liquor to maintain the flavor without compromising the texture,” she says.
The cocktail-inspired ice cream is only available at Teddy’s Café, located in the lobby of the hotel. Just one more great dining option the Roosevelt has to offer, Teddy’s is “an exclusive coffee lounge and sweets shop committed to the time-honored coffee-making tradition of New Orleans”. Whether you want a meal or a snack, Teddy’s offers hot and cold beverages, soups, salads, sandwiches, and a variety of mouthwatering desserts all created by Pastry Chef Heyd. Some of the most tempting goodies include her Almond Brioche Toast, which is fresh brioche soaked in orange simple syrup and topped with frangipane; or her variety of giant cookies, like the soft and chewy Crescent City Cookie. Made with everything you could dream of in a cookie, Heyd says she named the cookie after New Orleans because “it has a mix of ingredients just the way New Orleans is such a mix of cultures”. And it’s guilt-free! Heyd puts dieters at ease by mentioning, “This cookie has dark chocolate so you get antioxidants, and wheat germ so it’s healthy.”
Teddy’s also includes a rotating selection of four ice cream, gelato or sorbet flavors. Incidentally, for those, like myself, who never knew the difference, Heyd explains that gelato has less air and is creamier than ice cream (translation: more fattening). And the Sazerac Ice Cream may become a permanent addition to their flavor list. With Teddy’s located right next door to The Sazerac Bar, you can have your cake and have your ice cream and drink it too. Not to mention, if you don’t feel like forking out $16 for a Sazerac cocktail, grab a spoon instead. You can get two scoops of its namesake ice cream for half that price. So whether you want to satisfy your thirst or your sweet tooth, your hankering or your hunger... Sazerac Ice Cream is worth a taste.
Sazerac Ice Cream at Teddys Café, The Roosevelt Hotel, 130 Roosevelt Way, 504-648-1200, therooseveltneworleans.com.