Sazerac Cocktail Recipe: Ingredients, Equipment and Instructions

The Sazerac, a cousin to the Old Fashioned, is a classic drink with rye whiskey or brandy, bitters, sugar, and absinthe. Originating in 1838, it became an official trademark in 1900 by the Sazerac Company and was named the official cocktail of New Orleans in 2008.

Originally made with French brandy, it evolved with Antoine Amédée Peychaud’s bitters, created by a pharmacist from Haiti who moved to New Orleans. Initially marketed as a health remedy, it gained popularity, transitioning to rye whiskey around 1885 due to a grape blight in Europe.

This timeless drink, hailing from New Orleans in the 1800s, enhances rye whiskey with a simple mix of four ingredients: rye whiskey, a sugar cube, Peychaud’s Bitters, and anise liqueur. Its balanced flavors complement the spicy rye exceptionally well.

While there are variations in ingredients and techniques, the trademarked recipe uses Sazerac Rye Whiskey, Herbsaint for the anise liqueur and Peychaud’s Bitters. Some key points: never shake the drink, serve it in an oversized old-fashioned glass without ice, and be careful not to let the lemon peel touch the drink—express the oils over the glass and either hang the peel on the rim or discard it.

Overview: How to Make Sazerac Cocktail Recipe?

Overview: How to Make Sazerac Cocktail Recipe?

To make a classic Sazerac cocktail, you’ll need a few key ingredients and follow specific steps for a perfect blend of flavors. Start by preparing a chilled rocks glass with a rinse of absinthe, making sure to discard any excess. This step sets the stage for the cocktail’s distinctive taste.

In a mixing glass, combine a sugar cube, cold water, and four dashes of Peychaud’s bitters. Muddle these ingredients together to create a flavorful base. Next, introduce 2 1/2 ounces of rye whiskey into the mix. Fill the mixing glass with ice and stir the combination for 15–20 seconds, ensuring it becomes well-chilled.

Once properly stirred, strain the mixture into the previously prepared glass with the absinthe rinse. This step brings all the flavors together in a harmonious blend. To enhance the drink further, twist a lemon peel over the surface of the cocktail to release its oils. Finally, garnish the Sazerac with the twisted lemon peel, adding a touch of citrus aroma to the finished cocktail.

Following these straightforward steps and using the specified ingredients will result in a well-balanced and classic Sazerac cocktail, perfect for enjoying the timeless flavors of this iconic drink.

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Classic Sazerac Cocktail Recipe - How to make sazerac recipe

Classic Sazerac Cocktail Recipe

Austin CarterAustin Carter
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  • Rocks glass
  • Mixing Glass
  • Bar spoon or stirring stick
  • Jigger or measuring tool


  • 1 cube Sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp Cold water
  • Absinthe ( (for rinsing))
  • 4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
  • 21/2 ounces Rye Whiskey
  • Lemon Peel (Garnish)


  • Start by rinsing a chilled rocks glass with absinthe, making sure to discard any excess, and then set the glass aside.
  • In a mixing glass, muddle together the sugar cube, water, and Peychaud’s bitters.
  • Add the rye whiskey to the mixing glass, fill it with ice, and stir for 15–20 seconds until the mixture is well-chilled.
  • Strain the mixture into the prepared glass.
  • Twist the lemon peel over the surface of the drink to release its oils, then use the peel as a garnish.
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Should a Sazerac use Cognac or Whiskey?

When it comes to making a Sazerac, the choice between Cognac and Whiskey is a classic dilemma. Initially, the Sazerac cocktail had its roots in Cognac, a grape-based brandy. However, around the early 1900s, due to supply challenges, the recipe underwent a significant shift and firmly embraced rye whiskey, a trend that continues today.

A well-crafted rye-based Sazerac boasts a delightful blend of flavors, delivering a powerful and rich experience. It’s worth noting that the rye version can pack a punch, which may be a bit intense for some palates. On the other hand, using brandy or Cognac produces a Sazerac with a fruity and floral profile, albeit lacking the distinctive spicy notes found in the modern iteration, attributed to the use of grain spirit.

This particular recipe recommends sticking to the contemporary norm of using rye whiskey as the foundation. However, the beauty of the Sazerac lies in its adaptability, allowing for experimentation to discover personal preferences. For instance, blending equal parts of Cognac and rye whiskey introduces unique dimensions to the cocktail. Regardless of your choice, the result is an unmistakably New Orleans drink that captures the essence of this iconic cocktail.

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