One Couple’s Journey to Make the Perfect Old Fashioned
In October of 2017, Lafayette residents Alex and Deanna Saizon thought they’d pop into a New Orleans bar and order an Old Fashioned on a whim. Little did they know, that whim would turn into a small business within the next two years.
On a romantic getaway to the Crescent City, the couple sat at a bar off Camp Street and ordered an original bar staple, the Old Fashioned. If you’re not familiar with the cocktail, it’s a bar and restaurant staple with Louisville, Kentucky origins dating back to 1880. It was reportedly invented by bartender James E. Pepper who served cocktails at the private social club, The Pendennis Club. Pepper was a respected bourbon aristocrat who eventually brought his recipe to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel bar in New York City. From there, it made its way into bartending recipe books and into the hearts of Americans seeking a sophisticated stiff drink.
At the bar in New Orleans, Alex and Deanna watched their Big Easy bartender craft their drinks. They noticed that she did something a bit different than other bartenders who were serving up Old Fashioneds. She pulled out two clear squeeze bottles; one with a syrupy clear liquid and the other, a thicker brown elixir. She finished it off with some dashes of bitters, followed by a whiskey pour and signature orange peel. The couple then tasted a drink that would send them on a journey to make the perfect Old Fashioned syrup to enjoy at home.
Perfecting the Recipe
“We spent a year perfecting the recipe,” Alex mentioned when I spoke with him at a recent Sirop de Saizon Whiskey Tasting at The Refinery in Downtown Lafayette. “We wanted to get complimentary amounts of molasses, natural vanilla bean, and nuttiness. Amazing ingredients make an equally amazing syrup,” he explained.
After over a year of perfecting, the first batch of syrup was made. The couple would enjoy their homemade concoction with different whiskeys. Their personal collection consists of over 100 whiskey brands today.
“We would make drinks using the syrups for our friends who would come over to visit. That turned into making batches as gifts, and then people started requesting bottles of it,” he explained. “It was always about slowing down and enjoying a sipping cocktail with friends…taking the time to spend with those who enrich your life…that’s what we’re passionate about…as we say, ‘One Ole Fashioned at a time.’” When the requests for the sweet syrup began repeating several times over, they decided to make small batches of the now named Sirop de Saizon (“Sirop” pronounced as the French translation “siro”) by the Sirop Trading Co.
Since its inception, there have been 29 batches produced and over 1,200 bottles sold. Since November 2019, the sirop found a home on shelves at Champagne’s Market in Lafayette’s Oil Center. You can now also find it at Nunu’s in Youngsville. Each bottle has a gold wax seal applied the “old fashioned” way with an engraved brass die, indicating which batch it belongs to. The couple’s sirop can also be ordered online for nationwide home delivery from their website www.SiropTradingCo.com.
Take my word for it. Gather some people you love, share a nice bottle of Bourbon, try an Old Fashioned with Sirop de Saizon. It’s the perfect way to slow down and spend time with those who enrich your life.