Nick De Guzman Lights Aflame a Big Easy Classic
Jaco’s Bayfront Bar & Grille is using absinthe to set apart their fiery cocktails.
Nick DeGuzman, who has been mixing cocktails at Jaco’s Bayfront Bar & Grille in downtown Pensacola for several years, will tell you that since he comes from Gretna, Louisiana, just outside New Orleans, he’s fond of Big Easy classics.
Among the region’s classic cocktails, one is especially “close to his heart,” he says — the Sazerac, which at Jaco’s is known as the Jupiter Sazerac.
Jupiter is a Utah peak located near High West Distillery, which makes the Double Rye that is this cocktail’s main ingredient.
DeGuzman’s personal signature on this cocktail involves igniting an absinthe coating he sprays into the waiting, chilled rocks glass.
“Igniting the absinthe gives it very good visual effects,” he said “People like to see fire.”
When DeGuzman wanted to add Jupiter Sazerac to Jaco’s cocktail menu, he first did considerable homework.
“I came up with several variations of the recipe,” he said. “Some recipes have cognac, and we decided to do that, because it’s a little more modern and adds a little bit more of a sweetness to it.”
As this 32-year-old mixologist enthusiastically explains, “The layers of flavors that develop are unlike any other drink. That’s because it has the initial aroma of the absinthe, then you’ve got a little bit of sweetness from the simple syrup, you’ve got the rye in there with the bitters, and the garnish with the lemon twist gives a little bit of acidity to it.”
One sip confirms this is a unique, sophisticated and smooth cocktail. Jaco’s Jupiter Sazerac was a featured cocktail for a month late last year; DeGuzman estimates they sold 15 to 20 a week.
“It’s not really a difficult drink to make,” he said. “It’s just a little time consuming, but the end result is very much worth it. We had some people come in and say, ‘Oh, make me a drink,’ and this is the exact drink I made for them.”
The patrons were happy to give it a try.
“They were just sipping on it very slowly, because they were tasting the different flavors,” DeGuzman said. “A drink like this, you don’t just gulp. It’s also very high in alcohol.”
And their reaction?
“They loved it,” DeGuzman reports. “They come in all the time now, and they’re not even from here. I think they’re from Slidell, and when they visit once a month, this is one of their favorite stops.”
In a mixing glass, combine:1 ½ ounces of High West Double Rye½ ounce of D’Usse Cognac ½ ounce “house” simple syrup (made with Sugar in the Raw turbinado cane sugar) 2 dashes of Angostura bitters 4 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters Coat a chilled rocks glass with Absinthe ordinaire. Add ice to the mixing glass, stir and strain into the rocks glass. Garnish with a lemon twist or an orange slice.
Jaco’s Bayfront Bar & Grille
997 S. Palafox St., Pensacola. jacosbayfrontbarandgrille.com, (850) 224-0115
Monday–Thursday 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Friday–Saturday 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. –9 p.m.