300 Legendre

Local entrepreneurs began crafting their own versions of Absinthe such as Legendre.

Historic New Orleans Collection

Even today, New Orleans is known for its love of the green fairy: Absinthe, as well as its cousin, Herbsaint. The French drink, typically with a high alcohol content and herbs including anise, wormwood and fennel, was adopted by the Creoles in New Orleans, following in the footsteps of their Parisian brethren. The traditional way to serve Absinthe is by dripping cold water over sugar and bars, including The Old Absinthe House in the French Quarter served it this way.

Absinthe, though, became more beloved by New Orleans’ residents in what would become the city’s signature cocktail: the Sazerac.

When Absinthe was banned in the United States in 1912 because of its of wormwood, considered at the time to be dangerous and deadly, several New Orleans’ entrepreneurs created their own substitutes.

When prohibition was lifted, distillers began manufacturing substitutes including Herb saint, Greenopal and Milkway. Herbsaint, manufactured J. Marion Legendre, was marketed as an absinthe substitute with the slogan, "Drink Herbsaint Wherever Absinthe Is Called For." Herbsaint liquor became part of the Sazerac cocktail and was bought by Sazerac Company in 1949. Herbsaint is still a preferred ingredient for Sazeracs. In 2015, the company brought back the original 1934 recipe for Herbsaint.