When cocktail enthusiast and writer James Martin set out to explore the folklore surrounding one of America’s first cocktails, the Sazerac, in New Orleans last summer, his only mission was to uncover the truth behind this mysterious tipple’s beginnings. What he ended up with was a short documentary film full of history, charm and experts like cocktail writers David Wondrich and Robert Simonson as well as Imbibe magazine editor Paul Clarke.
Martin and his partner and producer, Jen West, have been making the film festival rounds with “Sazerac” over the last month; including a screening at Oxford Film Festival as part of their opening night event sponsored in part by the Southern Foodways Alliance. Now “Sazerac” comes home to Atlanta for two special screenings as part of the Atlanta Film Festival taking place April 1-10.
“It always feels special when you can showcase what you've been working on in your home city. You're surrounded by dear friends, most of whom had a direct hand in helping us to fundraise or execute specific components of the film,” Martin said of the Atlanta screening.
Atlanta will have two opportunities to see the short film on the classic cocktail’s origins and century-long transformation.
To kick off the festival, “Sazerac” will be screened as part of the STEEL block of WonderRoot’s local short film series on March 31 at the Plaza Theatre. If you’re unable to attend the March 31 screening, you’ll have another opportunity on April 5 at 7 Stages in Little Five Points as part of the festival’s COTTON block in partnership with Homespun.
Through the use of expert interviews, reenactments and demonstrations, Martin’s film aims to answer these questions: Was the Sazerac really America’s first cocktail? What has changed since Antoine Peychaud created the apothecaric concoction in 1839? Do contemporary interpretations of the Sazerac measure up to the original?
If you have yet to experience the deliciousness of New Orleans’ official cocktail of rye whiskey, Peychaud’s bitters and absinthe, Martin has arranged for $6 sazeracs to be slung at The Mercury in Ponce City Market, on April 7 starting at 7 p.m. as part of the Sound + Vision party the festival will be throwing throughout PCM, including the rooftop.
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