New Orleans is home to many great American cocktails, but the Sazerac has a special place for whiskey lovers. It’s a perfectly balanced drink that lets you feel a unique combination of flavors with every sip.
Check out how to make a classic Sazerac cocktail below so you never have to go out to enjoy it again.
The cocktail’s history can be traced back to the 1800s, so as you can imagine, the recipe has been tweaked a bit over time. That’s why you can find completely different recipes; for this article, we’ll look at the trademarked version from the Sazerac coffee house.
- 1/5 ounces of American rye whiskey
- 3 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters
- 0/25 ounces Herbsaint (or another anise-flavored liqueur)
- 1 sugar cube
- A lemon peel
- Get a glass and fill it with ice.
- Get a second old-fashioned glass and add the sugar cube and the Peychaud’s bitters.
- Muddle the sugar cube and add the rye whiskey.
- Add ice and stir gently until well-chilled.
- Take the first cocktail glass, discard the ice, and coat it with the anise liqueur.
- Discard the excess liqueur, and gently strain the cocktail into the coated and chilled glass.
- Garnish with a lemon peel and enjoy.
- Calories: 164 calories
- Carbs: 3g
- Sugars: 3g
- ABV: Around 35% if you use 80-proof rye whiskey. Sazerac rye whiskey is 90-proof, which increased the ABV to around 45%.
It’s a potent drink that should be sipped, which also means the drinker will pay attention to all the flavors.
For this reason, you should follow these tips:
- Presentation: You should never shake the drink; only gently stir it. While it’s supposed to be enjoyed chilled, you should never add it over ice to get the flavor balance just right.
- Don’t skip the coated glass. The anise coating adds extra depth to the cocktail without overpowering it. Though some skip this step, we recommend making it a part of your Sazerac routine. If you don’t have anise liqueur, you can also coat the glass with absinthe.
- Don’t add the lemon to the drink. Expert bartenders know the lemon peel should never touch the drink. Instead, hang it on the rim or muddle it gently over the cocktail to add some of its oils, and throw it away. Any lemon notes should be subtle.
- Choose the rye carefully: The original Sazerac has a spicy kick that only rye whiskey provides. Choose a bottle with more flavor if you want to get the classic drink just right, as some bottles can be on the mild side.
- Food pairing ideas: It’s a great barbecue drink next to some juicy ribs or a steak. Or, serve it next to classic New Orleans dishes like gumbo.
After enjoying a glass of traditional Sazerac, give these variations a shot, too:
- Anise or absinthe substitutes: Experiment with the anise or absinthe-rinsed glass and use other similar ingredients like arak or anise-flavored syrups.
- Add your favorite bitters: If Peychaud’s isn’t your favorite, feel free to add any other aromatic bitters you have handy, such as Angostura bitters.
- Make a Bourbon Sazerac: It’s less spicy and a lot sweeter, but it’s still a delicious Sazerac variation.
The Sazerac cocktail is a complex blend of ingredients that tastes elegant and rich. Even so, it’s surprisingly easy to make at home, and once you gather the ingredients, you can treat yourself to its company whenever you want.
So why not start now?