Sazerac

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Cocktail History

The Sazerac is a classic cocktail that was created by bartender Leon Lamothe in New Orleans, Louisiana in the early 1800s. It was made to use with Peychaud’s Creole bitters, a gentian-infused cordial that was invented by an apothecary in the French Quarter named Antoine Amedée Peychaud. He originally sold his bitters as a medicinal tonic, but they became a popular ingredient in alcoholic drinks by the mid-1800s. This recipe, traditionally made with Sazerac rye, sugar, Peychaud’s Creole Bitters, absinthe, and citrus, is now the most famous, so much that it eventually became the official drink of New Orleans.

Cocktail Ingredients

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Rye: This is a type of whiskey made with at least 51% rye grain, malted barley, corn, and water. We used Sazerac Rye 18-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey because it has a nice spiced flavor with notes of vanilla, pepper, and herbs. For a mocktail version of this drink, try The Gospel Responsible Rye Non-Alcoholic Whiskey in place of the whiskey.

Simple Syrup: This is a sweetener made with white sugar and water. We made ours at home using Alex’s stovetop recipe.

Peychaud’s Creole Bitters: This is a food product made with gentian root, anise, medicinal herbs, sugar, and alcohol. For a mocktail version of this drink, try All The Bitter Non-Alcoholic New Orleans Bitters in place of the Creole bitters.

Absinthe: This is a spirit made with anise, wormwood, fennel, botanicals, and alcohol. We used Great Lakes Distillery Amerique 1912 Absinthe Verte because it’s flavorful and made locally to us. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic Absinthe in place of the absinthe.

Lemon Twist: This is the peel of a lemon that has been twisted into a corkscrew shape.

Bartending Tools

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following bar tools:

Atomizer: This is use to rinse the glass with an ingredient. We used the True Martini Atomizer.

Jigger: This is used to measure and pour ingredients. We used the Japanese jigger from the A Bar Above 14-Piece Silver Bar Set.

Mixing Glass: This is used to hold the ingredients while they’re being stirred. We used the Viski 17 oz Cocktail Mixing Glass.

Bar Spoon: This is used to stir ingredients. We used the Barfly Stainless Steel Teardrop Bar Spoon.

Julep Strainer: This is used to strain out ice and solid ingredients after the cocktail is stirred. We used the A Bar Above Julep Strainer.

Peeler: This is used to remove the garnish peel from the citrus. We used the OXO Good Grips 2-Piece Peeler Set.

Tasting Notes

The Sazerac features distinct absinthe and spice aromas and the initial taste of the spiced whiskey rounded out with the bitters’ unique flavor and absinthe on the swallow.

Our Opinion of This Cocktail Recipe: Although fairly simple, this recipe lands on Alex’s list of top ten favorites because of its dry and somewhat bitter taste. Kendall, however, found the Sazerac to be too bitter for her palate. She’s also not a big fan of absinthe, so she passed on having more than a few sips.

Which of our palates is yours most like?
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Which of our palates is yours most like?
Find out if your palate is most similar to Alex’s or Kendall’s by answering five questions.

Take Our Quiz →

Recipe

This cocktail recipe was adapted from The Art of Vintage Cocktails by Stephanie Rosenbaum.

The Art of Vintage Cocktails
The Art of Vintage Cocktails
Hardcover Book; Rosenbaum, Stephanie (Author); English (Publication Language); 108 Pages – 01/07/2014 (Publication Date) – Egg & Dart (Publisher)
$21.56

AuthorThe Art of Vintage Cocktails

Yields1 ServingPrep Time5 mins

Ingredients
 2 oz Rye
 3 dashes Peychaud's Creole Bitters
 1 Spray of Absinthe
 1 Lemon Twist

Method
1

Rinse the inside of a lowball glass with absinthe.

2

Add rye, bitters, simple syrup, and cubed ice to a mixing glass.

3

Stir for 30-45 seconds.

4

Strain into absinthe-rinsed glass.

5

Garnish with lemon twist.

Ingredients

Ingredients
 2 oz Rye
 3 dashes Peychaud's Creole Bitters
 1 Spray of Absinthe
 1 Lemon Twist

Directions

Method
1

Rinse the inside of a lowball glass with absinthe.

2

Add rye, bitters, simple syrup, and cubed ice to a mixing glass.

3

Stir for 30-45 seconds.

4

Strain into absinthe-rinsed glass.

5

Garnish with lemon twist.

Sazerac

Make It a Mocktail: Use The Gospel Responsible Rye Non-Alcoholic Whiskey in place of the whiskey, All The Bitter Non-Alcoholic New Orleans Bitters in place of the bitters, and Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic Absinthe in place of the absinthe to try a booze-free version of this drink.

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More Classic Cocktails

If you like this classic cocktail recipe, here are a few others we’ve tried that you may enjoy:

Brain Duster Cocktail Recipe

Brain Duster: A rye cocktail made with absinthe, sweet vermouth, Angostura aromatic bitters, and a lemon twist

Brooklyn Cocktail Recipe

Brooklyn: A rye cocktail made with dry vermouth, maraschino liqueur, and Amer Picon

Blood & Sand Cocktail Recipe

Blood & Sand: A Scotch cocktail made with cherry liqueur, sweet vermouth, orange juice, and a cherry

Boo Radley Cocktail Recipe

Boo Radley: A bourbon cocktail made with Cynar, cherry liqueur, a lemon peel, and an orange peel

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