So, this happened:
The letter is, of course, in response to the very delicious Sazerac cocktail we all drank together during Mardi Gras a couple of weeks ago, and I have to admit that I'm pretty flattered. Moi, with my measly little 200-hits-a-day, life-in-academia-and-sometimes-cocktails blog, warrants a quasi cease-and-desist letter from a big ass IP law firm? They must think I'm super influential and/or making money off this thing! Believe me, Cooley--I wish.
Now, let's break this down a bit, shall we?
1. Sazerac brand rye is named after a bar that itself was named after the Sazerac cocktail, so let's not kid anyone that your version of the cocktail is "authentic." In fact, the original wasn't made with whiskey at all, but with cognac.
2. Though I never "purported" (your words) to be authentic, as far as I can tell, there's nothing tragically wrong with my recipe. I've got all the main ingredients--rye, absinthe rinse, sugar cube, Peychauds, lemon peel--the only distinction is that I don't insist upon your brand, and that I happened to pour myself a double. It's not like I made a rum & coke, here. I've had a veritable host of Sazeracs at countless bars in my day, and I could probably count on one hand the number that were made with actual Sazerac brand rye.
3. Either way, you know what's one thing you'll never catch me putting in a Sazerac? BOURBON. So your suggestion to use Buffalo Trace (which you conveniently also produce) as an alternate to rye in my Sazerac cocktails is where you really lost my respect.
4. If I'm reading this post on cocktail IP rights correctly (yes, this is a thing! ht William Gunn), even if the name of a cocktail is trademarked, the trademark does not protect its ingredients or recipe, since these things are technically "mixtures," and mixtures can only be patented, not trademarked. Moreover, it's not even clear to me that the Sazerac brand TM in fact covers the Sazerac cocktail name.
5. My guess is that you may have tm'd the name "The Official Sazerac Cocktail," which--let's be honest--is about as meaningful as "Ray's Original Pizza." If you have, yay for you! But it doesn't preclude anyone from making themselves a regular old Sazerac any way they damn please, and it certainly doesn't keep that person from writing about it on the internet.