March 20th, 2009

Last year when I was in New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail I visited many a bar – some good, some… not so good – but without doubt my favourite was Arnaud’s French 75 Bar. Arnaud’s restaurant has been open in New Orleans since 1918, and the French 75 Bar operates in a separate room adjacent to the restautant with its own street entrance. A small but stunning space, with a beautiful wooden bar, mirrors galore and ornate light fixtures, the French 75 Bar is a wonderful refuge from the gaudy excesses of Bourbon Street and a great place to enjoy a cocktail or three.

On my last night in New Orleans I called in to Arnaud’s for a few drinks with Craig and Heather to toast goodbye to the Big Easy, and was lucky enough to find Chris Hannah behind the bar. A perfect host and excellent bartender, Chris guaranteed an enjoyable final evening, and amongst the excellent drinks he made for me he offered a sip of a drink of his own making, the Bywater Cocktail. A delcious mixture made with his own home-made falernum and Amer Picon, I quickly handed over a business card and made him promise to email me the recipe.

Chris was good on his word, and shortly after I got back to England Chris provided me with the recipe. I knew the modern, weaker Amer Picon wasn’t going to cut it in this drink, so set about creating Jamie Boudreau’s Amer Picon replica, Amer Boudreau. After steeping my orange peels in vodka I set off to pick up a bottle of Stirrings Blood Orange Bitters only to discover they are no longer available in the UK. I tried making the Bywater with Ramazzotti but it didn’t quite work, lacking the bright orange needed to help lift the drink from the other aromatic flavours. I feared I wouldn’t taste another Bywater until Tales 2009.

Thankfully a recent trip to New York allowed me to stock up on Blood Orange Bitters, and now eight months later I can finally make the Bywater as it is supposed to be.

Bywater Cocktail

Bywater Cocktail

View in: oz | ml | shots

The mix of aged rum, Chartreuse and Amer Picon creates a beautiful mix of medicinal, aromatic flavours in the Bywater. Thankfully the orange notes of the Amer Picon and the zesty lime flavour of the falernum cut through this avoiding the drink becoming too muddy and bitter. Deep and complex yet excellently balanced the Bywater is a really wonderful drink, and I can’t wait to enjoy one made by Chris Hannah at Arnaud’s French 75 Bar next time I’m in New Orleans.

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Posted in Amer Picon, Chartreuse, Falernum, Recipes, Rum

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15 responses to “Bywater”

  1. Tiare Tiare says:

    Now i know one more thing i want to try when in New Orleans!

    What a wonderful picture Jay.


  2. blair frodelius blair frodelius says:

    What about using Torani Amer in this? Would it work?

  3. JohnTheBastard JohnTheBastard says:

    So you like the Stirring’s blood orange bitters? I see them stocked around here, but have mostly only heard people speak disparagingly about Stirring’s product line. Do you use the Stirring’s in other cocktails?

    I guess the 3 bottles of orange bitters in my liquor cabinet isn’t sufficient, and I need a fourth. Le sigh.

  4. Jay Jay says:

    Blair – Yes, I’ve not tried it but Chris recommends Torani Amer as an alternative in the drink.

    John – I only used Stirrings because that’s what is used in Jamie’s recipe. I never use them in drinks, and wouldn’t own any if I not need them to make Amer Boudreau. They’re really not a true orange bitters in my opinion, more and unusual flavouring.

  5. JohnTheBastard JohnTheBastard says:

    Thanks Jay. After I posted that, I found your write-ups on Orange and Aromatic bitters which sort of answered my question. Those were some excellent posts, by the way. I need to work my way through your archives.

  6. julia julia says:

    can’t wait to try this one tonight! but it’s spelled “arnaud’s” just fyi.

  7. Robert Simonson Robert Simonson says:

    Sounds good. Gonna try it.

  8. Jay Jay says:

    Julia – Whoops! Updated now.

  9. Mike S. Mike S. says:

    The Bywater is a truly outstanding drink. I think, though, that you have the quantities for the Chartreuse and Amer Picon reversed in the recipe above — all of the other versions I’ve seen (including on Paul Clarke’s and Chuck Taggart’s sites) call for 3/4 oz Picon and 1/2 oz Chartreuse, and that’s the only way I’ve ever made it.

    To answer the question about Torani Amer, yes it works brilliantly in this drink — so long as it’s a newer bottle as the formula for TA seems to have been quietly adjusted sometime in the past year or so and it no longer has that celery/vegetal note it used to have. The “new” TA is so good, in fact, that I’ve largely given up on making the Amer Boudreau recipe (which I never could get to work right anyway).

    Finally, when Paul Clarke first posted the recipe on his site, he mistakenly called for the use of yellow Charteuse rather than the green. Chris Hannah has since been confirmed that green is indeed the correct ingredient, but I still sometimes make them with yellow — both are excellent.

  10. Jay Jay says:

    Mike – Thanks for spotting the discrepancy. I double checked with Chris Hannah and the recipe I posted above is indeed the correct one, so I think Paul must have accidentally swapped the amounts.

    I’ve heard a lot of good things about the new formulation Torani Amer. Unfortunately it’s not available here in the UK, and I’ve never seen it when I’ve been booze shopping in New York. I might have to try and track down a bottle during my next visit to the States.

  11. Mike S. Mike S. says:

    Really? Wow, then I’ve never had a real one — I must (and will) correct that immediately! Like right now, seeing how it’s officially Cocktail Hour here in California. Please stand by….

  12. Mike S. Mike S. says:

    Yikes…This is indeed a very different drink with the Chartreuse at 3/4 oz and the Picon/Torani Amer at 1/2. I will of course bow to Mr. Hannah’s call on his own drink, but honestly, I’m not sure which ratio I prefer. Both have their merits….

    Hmm…Maybe I’m hampered by the lack of home-made falernum (all I have is Taylor’s Velvet; my bad), so next time maybe I’ll try adding a few drops of fresh lime juice to the mix.

  13. Jay Jay says:

    Mike – the lime element of the falernum is definitely an important part of the drink. I’m curious now about the different ratios, I’ll have to try the “wrong” recipe and see what I think.

  14. Bywater « The Barman Cometh says:

    [...] Recipe courtesy of Oh Gosh! [...]

  15. Jason Jason says:

    Great cocktail. Love the interplay of Chartreuse, Picon and Clove. Thanks for posting

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