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Sazerac | Barorder


A classic from New Orleans


The Sazerac is synonymous with New Orleans and is part of a family of cocktails with similar ingredients. In our view, the Sazerac is a great starting point before trying the Vieux Carre or La Louisiane - we’ll cover those another day. The Sazerac is old! It dates back to 1838. Antoine Peychaud is credited with creating this drink at his apothecary, in the french quarter of New Orleans. He also created Peychaud's bitters, a critical ingredient in this cocktail. The original Sazerac was made with Cognac, which was very popular in New Orleans at the time. It was served at the Sazerac Coffee House, which was actually a bar. It became very popular and was the signature New Orleans drink. But then, in the 1870s the Phylloxera epidemic swept Europe attacking its grape vines. This dramatically reduced the amount of Cognac available for export and New Orleans began to run out of the crucial spirit for its Sazeracs. To keep them on the menu, they began mixing Rye Whiskey in addition to and eventually in place of Cognac. Throughout the 1900s all the way to prohibition, this recipe became incredibly popular. This creates the debate we have today, is a true Sazerac cognac-based, rye whiskey-based or both? There are now multiple variations and names for a Sazerac that is rye-based or cognac-based. We’ll cover our favourite here.

How to make it

1. This is a slow and strong sipper. We like it served ‘up’ so no ice in the drinking glass. Get your glassware chilling in the freezer long before you make this.
2. There’s no citrus in this so we’re stirring, not shaking
3. Add all your ingredients, minus the absinthe into a mixing glass
4. Add ice and stir for 30 seconds to chill
5. Add a small splash of absinthe to your drinking glass and swirl it around to coat the sides. Once coated, pour out the excess – it can easily overpower this drink. If you have a little spritzer bottle, 2-3 sprays will do it.
6. Pour the cocktail into your drinking glass.
7. For garnish, lemon peel is great, spritz it over the top and rub the edge of the glass. Drop it in the glass if you like, or discard it

On the nose it’s light and fragrant but you do get the fruit and spice from the cognac and rye. On tasting it begins really sweet and light but quickly moves to the dry fruit and deep spices as the rye and syrup mix. The Peychauds, absinthe and old fashioned bitters help to brighten it up. An outstanding cocktail.


More great cocktails to try