In 1830, Thomas H. Handy was born in Maryland. Meanwhile, down in New Orleans a number of saloons veiled as coffee houses began lining the streets of the French Quarter. A young man named Antoine Peychaud Jr. began serving cocktails made with brandy and his secret family recipe for bitters. The cocktail became famous and was dubbed the Sazerac Cocktail, after the Sazerac Coffee House on Royal Street.
In 1847, Thomas H. Handy arrived in New Orleans. he immediately went to work for John Schiller at a liquor store on Royal Street. Schiller eventually bought the Sazerac Coffee House and Handy quickly became an expert barman, concocting fabulous Sazerac cocktails for his patrons.
In 1869 Handy's friend and boss John Shiller died. Handy bought the coffee house and asked his friend Peychaud to join him in business. It was the great age of coffee houses in New Orleans and there was one on every corner. The New Orleans Times newspaper published an article stating, "The oldest and best known of these houses is the Sazerac."
Thomas H. Handy was established and successful, but never content. In 1873, he altered the recipe for the Sazerac Cocktail by replacing French brandy with American rye whiskey. Patrons preferred the taste of rye whiskey over brandy because it was more robust and spicy. The whiskey had a bouquet of pepper and clove, and wonderful flavors including citrus and candied fruit.
Thomas H. Handy Uncut and Unfiltered Straight Rye Whiskey is bottled directly from the barrel, just as it was over a century ago. Enjoy the authentic American rye whiskey as a symbol of the timeless history of New Orleans and legacy of Thomas H. Handy.
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