Similar to an Old Fashioned, the Sazerac is a blend of rye whiskey (or cognac), sugar or simple syrup, Peychaud’s bitters, and an absinthe rinse. The Sazerac differs from other simple, spirit-forward cocktails both in its preparation and its presentation. Traditionally, the Sazerac is prepared in a rocks glass, rather than in a mixing glass. It is then strained into another chilled rocks glass without ice.
You may also enjoy other classic New Orleans cocktails like the Hurricane, Ramos Gin Fizz, Vieux Carre, or Absinthe Frappe!
The history of the Sazerac
The Sazerac is a classic cocktail that was invented in New Orleans some time in the mid-1800s. It was first created by Antoine Amédée Peychaud, an apothecary best known for his blend of aromatic bitters. The Sazerac was originally made with cognac, but due to the phylloxera outbreak in the 1860s, rye whiskey replaced it as the spirit of choice. Today, rye whiskey is still the most common option, but you can make a Sazerac at home with cognac, rye, or even a combination of both.
How to make a classic Sazerac
- Set out two rocks glasses (or one rocks glass and a mixing glass).
- Add rye, simple syrup, and bitters to the first rocks glass (or mixing glass). Get my two minute simple syrup recipe.
- In the second glass, swirl about 1/4 ounce of absinthe to coat the inside of the glass, then discard the absinthe.
- Fill the first glass (or mixing glass) with ice and stir until well chilled, about 30 seconds. Strain into the absinthe-rinsed glass and garnish with an expressed lemon twist.
Pro tip: chill your rocks glass in the freezer for at least 30 minutes prior to making your cocktail to keep the cocktail colder longer.
If you’re looking for a classic New Orleans cocktail to celebrate Mardi Gras with, look no further than the Sazerac!
- 2 oz rye whiskey (or cognac)
- 1/4 oz simple syrup
- 4 dashes Peychaud's bitters
- 1/4 oz absinthe
- Set out two rocks glasses (or a rocks glass and a mixing glass).
- Add the rye, syrup, and bitters to the first rocks glass (or mixing glass).
- In the second glass, add the absinthe and swirl to coat the inside of the glass. Discard the absinthe.
- Fill the first rocks glass (or mixing glass) with ice and stir until well chilled, about 30 seconds.
- Strain into the absinthe-rinsed glass and garnish with an expressed lemon twist.