You can’t go wrong with this New Orleans gem. The Sazerac cocktail is a delicious mix of rye whiskey, bitters, and absinthe, and garnished with a twist of lemon peel for that perfect final touch.
You’ve got to hear about this rockstar cocktail named the Sazerac! Reigning from New Orleans since the 1800s, it’s a dynamite explosion of sweet ‘n spicy vibes with rye whiskey, Peychaud’s and Angostura bitters, a smidge of sugar, and a whisper of absinthe.
I recommend you give this wildcat a taste, and I promise you, it’s anything but shy. It throws a party in your mouth with bull’s-eye balance of spice, sweetness and herbals.
If you love the trusty Old Fashioned, well, the Sazerac might sound familiar. I mean, they’re both full of whiskey charm, sweet sugar, and saucy bitters. But here’s where Sazerac flips the script: it embraces absinthe and the crazy aromatic Peychaud’s bitters. The Sazerac is also a good variation to another all time whiskey classic, the Rusty Nail.
Why You’ll Love This Cocktail Recipe
- This is an aromatic cocktail that smells as amazing as it tastes.
- If you’re a fan of the Old Fashioned, you’ll love this cocktail.
- It is extremely easy to make, you just need to measure ingredients well.
- Mixing Glass
- Muddler (to crush the sugar cube)
- Jigger (to measure the whiskey)
- A spoon for stirring
- A strainer (to strain the mixture)
- An Old-Fashioned Glass
- Lemon Peeler or Knife (to peel the lemon)
- 2 oz rye whiskey
- 1 sugar cube
- absinthe for rinsing the glass
- 3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- lemon peel for garnish
- Rinse your glass with absinthe, swirling it to coat the inside of the glass. Pour out any excess.
- In a mixing glass, add your sugar cube, Peychaud's bitters, and Angostura bitters. Let the sugar absorb the bitters and then muddle it gently in the glass.
- Add your rye whiskey and a handful of ice cubes to the mixing glass and stir gently for about 30 seconds. Strain the mixture from the mixing glass into your old-fashioned glass.
- Twist a lemon peel over the drink, then drop it into the glass for garnish.
Tips and Tricks
Here are some handy tips to step up your mixing game:
- Chill your glass: This tips is valid for most cocktails, I recommend putting you old-fashioned glass into the freezer for at least 30 minutes before serving. It will give a fancy frosty look to your glass and it will stay cold longer.
- Pick the best ingredients: The most important ingredient is the rye whiskey, make sure to get a good one.
- Stir it up, don’t shake it: If you shake this cocktail it will become watery. It is a lot easier to stir it with a long bar spoon and gently mix it with ice for about 30 seconds.
- Strain it right: I recommend straining the drink in a julep strainer to catch any ice chips. You will get a cristal clear and smooth drink!
- Finish with a lemon twist: That’s another important tip, make sure to give a good twist to your lemon peel over your drink to let those citrus oils come to the surface.
There are plenty of fun and tasty variations of this classic cocktail. Let’s take a look:
Bourbon Sazerac: Dust off the bourbon you used in your Kentucky Mule and replace the rye whiskey in your Sazerac!
Cognac Sazerac: Just switch the whiskey for cognac, it is how the first Sazerac cocktails where originally made.
Chocolate Sazerac: Add a few dashes of chocolate bitters, a bit of chocolate syrup, or a sprinkling of cocoa powder.
Herbal Sazerac: For more herbal complexity, add a touch of herbal liqueur, like Chartreuse or Fernet-Branca.
Why not? Bourbon is a popular choice if you want a sweeter drink. I also like using half whiskey and half cognac.
A Sazerac is all about the whiskey so a mocktail version will obviously taste very different. You can try using a non-alcoholic whiskey substitute or maybe a strong tea. Don;t forget to use non-alcoholic bitters and some anis soda syrup to replace the absinthe.
I recommend using an absinthe that won’t overpower your whiskey. Pernod or Kubler work well. And remember, you only need a little bit.
Pastis, anisette, ouzo or sambuca can all work if you can’t get absinthe.
How to Store a Sazerac Cocktail
You can prepare the Sazerac ahead of time. Start by shaking together some rye whiskey, sugar, and bitters – just like the original recipe says (except the absinthe), but do it all in a big jar. Then store it for up to 2 weeks in your fridge until you’re ready to get your drink on. My trick is to add the absinthe in the glass right before serving. Also don’t forget that zingy lemon peel.