Cognac/Rye, Absinthe, Peychaud’s Bitters, and Sugar.
The Sazerac is a favorite of both Alex and Jordan. It’s a relatively simple drink with twist on the classic Old Fashioned. Like many classic cocktails, there is a significant amount of myth in the origin story. It likely did start in New Orleans, but more tipple educated men and women have disproved or laid doubts on any particular creator. Either way, the Sazerac is a classic cocktail with a rich history and many admirers.
The drink is most traditionally a combination of cognac or rye, absinthe, Peychaud’s Bitters, and sugar, although bourbon whiskey and/or Herbsaint are sometimes substituted. The defining feature of the Sazerac is its method of preparation, which commonly involves two chilled old-fashioned glasses. The first glass is swirled with a wash of absinthe for its flavor and strong scent. The second glass is used to combine the remaining ingredients, which are stirred with ice, then strained into the first glass. Various anisettes such as pastis, Pernod or Herbsaint are common substitutes when absinthe is unavailable.
The Traditional Sazerac
- 2 oz. Cognac or Rye Whiskey
- 1 sugar cube or 1 bar spoon simple syrup[i]
- Two dashes Peychaud’s Bitters[ii]
- Absinthe rinse[iii]
- Lemon peel garnish
Rinse a chilled glass you plan to serve the drink in with Absinthe. [iv] In another chilled glass, or with a mixing glass with ice, combine the other ingredients and stir well – if using a sugar cube, muddle the bitters and sugar together first. Strain the mixed drink into the rinsed glass and garnish with a lemon peel. Serve neat (without ice).
[i] Jordan prefers turbinado simple syrup.
[ii] Alex likes more bitters—like 6-8 dashes.
[iii] Jordan prefers Copper and Kings Lavender Absinthe
[iv] Some people use an atomizer to spritz the glass, but this is unnecessary, a nice coat of Absinthe by using a quarter oz. in the bottom of the glass and swirling it around until the interior surface is covered. Pour out any excess absinthe.