Invented by an Italian bartender named Joseph Santini in New Orleans, the Brandy Crusta was one of the city’s first true calling-card cocktails; originally mixed in the 1850s, it predates even the rye whiskey-based Sazerac. Though it all but disappeared in the early 20th century, today, the Crusta is experiencing a revival of sorts, thanks to bartenders like Chris Hannah, who, in 2004, was the first to bring the drink back to its home city.
“It was not on any menu in the entire city,” explains Hannah. “It’d fallen off the radar.” His version, shaken and strained into a sugar-rimmed glass, has been balanced to suit the modern palate, but otherwise stays true to the original in its spirit-forward template. Like many of today’s Crustas, too, it includes a small dose of maraschino liqueur, an addition made popular near the close of the 19th century.