It was developed by J. Marion Legendre and Reginald Parker of the city, who had learned how to make absinthe while in France during World War I. It was originally produced under the name "Legendre Absinthe", although it never contained absinthe's essential ingredient, Grande Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium). It first went on sale following the repeal of Prohibition, and was unique in its category as an absinthe substitute, as opposed to a pastis. The Federal Alcohol Control Administration soon objected to Legendre's use of the word "absinthe", so the name was changed to "Legendre Herbsaint", French/Creole for "Herbe Sainte" (Sacred Herb), the Artemisia absinthium. As it happens, "Herbsaint" is a near-anagram of "absinthe".
The Sazerac Company bought J.M. Legendre & Co. in June 1949. Herbsaint was originally bottled at 120 proof, but this was later reduced to 100 proof, then changed a different 90 proof recipe in the mid-1950s. By the early 1970s only the 90 proof remained. In December 2009, the Sazerac Company reintroduced J.M. Legendre's original 100 proof recipe as Herbsaint Original.
|Primary alcohol by volume|
|Standard garnish||frosted glass|
|Standard drinkware||Highball glass|
|Commonly used ingredients|
|Preparation||Stir together with plenty of ice, then strain into a very well chilled glass. Serve very cold.|
Herbsaint was and still is used in several cocktails, including:
- Herbsaint Frappé
- Pour two ounces of Herbsaint into a thin six-ounce glass.
- Fill the glass three-quarters full with cracked ice.
- Add a half teaspoon of simple syrup or sugar and two ounces of carbonated or plain water, then fill glass with more cracked ice.
- Stir, using a long-handled spoon with up and down motion until outside of glass is well frosted.
- Strain into another glass that has been chilled.
- Remove the ice from the original glass.
- Pour back into the well frosted glass and serve.
- Sazerac cocktail.
- Jay Hendrickson, Absinthe in America I - The Story of Herbsaint Archived 2010-12-25 at the Wayback Machine, The Virtual Absinthe Museum at Oxygénée Ltd. (Access date December 7, 2010.)
- Absinthe Banned: Ruling Given by Analyst Archived 2011-01-04 at the Wayback Machine, reprint from New Orleans Item, May 6, 1934. (Access date December 7, 2010.)
- Todd A. Price, Sazerac Co. reintroduces the original recipe for Herbsaint, The Times-Picayune, December 19, 2009. (Access date December 6, 2010.)