Masons, Medicines and Cocktail Mixtures
Did you know that a Frenchman who immigrated
to New Orleans (by way of Haiti) and started an
apothecary shop in 1811, invented the first
cocktail?
 Antoine Peychaud was a Mason and his group
held their meetings at the "Pharmacie Peychaud"
at 437 Royal Street.  Peychaud, who served his
fellow Masons refreshments, began experimenting
with bitters, brandy or cognac, sugar and spices.  
The drink was served in a small egg cup called a
"cocquetier."  Soon, he began selling them in his
pharmacy.  His American customers quickly  
turned "cocquetier" into "coc-tay," and,
eventually, "cocktail."
 For many years, the building where Antoine
Peychaud entertained his Masonic group almost
200 years ago has been owned and occupied by
Cohen Antiques - one of the oldest family owned
businesses in the U.S.  (Photo at left.)
There's another New Orleans "first" involving a
pharmacist.  "La Pharmacie Francaise," at 514
Chartres Street (now home to The New Orleans
Pharmacy Museum), was opened by Louis Dufilho, Jr.
in 1823.  For awhile, he held a distinction no other
pharmacist in the United States could claim.  Mr.
Dufilho was the first to pass Louisiana's licensing
examination for pharmacists, making him the first
licensed pharmacist in the United States.  Up to that
time, U.S. pharmacies followed no  regulations or
standards.
 The Pharmacy Museum, located in Mr. Dufilho's old
building since 1950, contains the largest
pharmaceutical collection in the United States.
 A picture of the building as it looked in 1920 is at
right.  Pictures of the rear courtyard are below.  On
the left, 1920, and the one on the right is the
courtyard of the museum as it is today.
While we're on the subject of
firsts, a visitor to the site
submitted a photo taken in 1915.  
Photo at right, the caption on
back:  "This building was the first
drugstore in New Orleans -
Barracks Street, between Chartres
and Decatur."  This would be in the
block across the street from the
Old Mint.  I don't believe this
building's still standing.
There are no photos of the Pharmacie Peychaud or La Pharmacie Francois, but I
thought you might like to see the interior of another Colonial era pharmacy.  
This is an apothecary shop in Salem, MA, exhibiting items of the period, in a
house which was an apothecary shop at that time.