Sazerac Cocktail Recipe

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Sazerac Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The Sazerac cocktail has a rich history dating back to the 19th century in New Orleans, Louisiana. It is considered one of the oldest known cocktails in America. The drink was originally made with cognac, but later rye whiskey became the main ingredient due to the phylloxera epidemic in France.

  • Created by Antoine Amedie Peychaud, a Creole apothecary
  • Originally served in a small egg cup called a 'coquetier'
  • Official cocktail of New Orleans since 2008

How Sazerac Tastes?

The Sazerac is a complex, strong, and slightly sweet cocktail with a hint of bitterness. The combination of rye whiskey, absinthe, and Peychaud's bitters creates a unique, herbal flavor profile with a smooth, velvety finish.

Interesting facts about Sazerac

  • The Sazerac is named after the Sazerac de Forge et Fils brand of cognac, which was the original main ingredient
  • The Sazerac Bar in New Orleans is famous for its Sazerac cocktails and has been serving them since the 1930s
  • The Sazerac is sometimes referred to as the 'ancestor of all cocktails'


Rye Whiskey

With a bold, spicy character, 2 oz of rye whiskey forms the backbone of our Sazerac. Going under might leave you wondering where the kick went, while over may knock your socks off. Without it, it's not a sazerac—it's an identity crisis in a glass.

Emma Rose


Absinthe, 0.25 oz to be precise, provides a nuanced herbal undertone and a whiff of mystique. It's like a hint of magic in your glass. Omitting it is like forgetting the magic wand at a wizard duel. Tradition calls for it, but a rinse of Pernod or Herbsaint could also do the trick.

Alex Green

Peychaud's Bitters

Four dashes bring a unique Creole flavor with a light floral and slight anise aroma that sets the Sazerac apart. Any less, and it might fade into a boozier Old Fashioned; any more, and it's a botanical garden in a storm. Skip it, and the cocktail loses its New Orleans charm.

Mary Mitkina

Sugar Cube

The sweet spot is one cube, providing just enough sweetness to balance the bitters and rye. Like Cinderella's slipper, it just fits. Leave it out, and you may as well be kissing a frog instead of a prince.

Emma Rose

Lemon Peel

The zesty oil expressed from a single lemon peel kisses the drink with citrusy brightness—a graceful swan dive into our complex pool of flavors. Ignoring this final flourish is like leaving the ball at midnight without your glass slipper.

Alex Green

Ice Cubes

Enough to create a brisk chill while you stir, but not to dilute our star performers' soliloquies. The ice is the silent hero of the texture, the unseen stagehand that sets the scene for a smooth performance.

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make Sazerac Drink

  1. In a mixing glass, muddle the sugar cube with a few drops of water until dissolved
  2. Add the rye whiskey, Peychaud's bitters, and ice to the mixing glass
  3. Stir the mixture until well chilled
  4. Rinse a chilled Old Fashioned glass with absinthe, discarding the excess
  5. Strain the whiskey mixture into the prepared glass
  6. Express the lemon peel over the drink and discard or place it in the glass as garnish

Pro Tips

  • Use a fresh lemon peel for the garnish to get the most flavor
  • Chill the glass before serving to keep the cocktail cold longer
  • Muddle the sugar cube thoroughly to ensure it dissolves completely

Perfect Pairings


  • Oysters: The brininess of oysters complements the Sazerac's complex flavors.
  • Charcuterie: A board with a variety of cured meats can balance the strong notes of the cocktail.

Main Courses

  • Cajun Dishes: Spicy Cajun flavors pair nicely with the warmth of the whiskey.
  • Roast Duck: The richness of roast duck is a great match for the hearty Sazerac.


  • Dark Chocolate: The intensity of dark chocolate and the spiciness of rye whiskey are a match made in heaven.
  • Pecan Pie: A Southern classic that can stand up to the strong flavors of the cocktail.

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What you could change in Sazerac

  • Rye Whiskey: Can be substituted with Bourbon
  • Absinthe: Can be substituted with Pernod or other anise-flavored liqueur
  • Peychaud's Bitters: Can be substituted with Angostura Bitters, but the taste will be slightly different

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And of course - twists🍹

Apple Sazerac

  • Replace rye with apple brandy
  • Add a bar spoon of maple syrup
  • Use a cinnamon stick as garnish

The apple brandy brings a fruity warmth contrasted by the seasonal sweetness of maple syrup. Imagine autumn in a glass, with the cinnamon stick nudging you towards a log cabin by the fire.

Coffee Sazerac

  • Add 0.5 oz cold brew coffee
  • Use Demerara sugar cube
  • Garnish with a coffee bean

Introducing cold brew adds a caffeinated kick and a rich, smooth coffee flavor. It turns your cocktail hour into a jazzy coffee break. A little less NOLA, a little more morning pick-me-up.

Smoky Sazerac

  • Use smoked rye whiskey
  • Rinse glass with mezcal instead of absinthe
  • Add a pinch of smoked sea salt to the sugar cube

With the smoked whiskey and mezcal, this variation is like a Sazerac that's been camping in the wilderness. The smoky layers evoke the feeling of storytelling around a bonfire, with the sizzling salt stirring up tales of the sea.

In case you forgot basics how to make Sazerac

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Insert the spoon into the glass until it touches the bottom. Keep the back of the spoon against the inside wall of the glass, and stir in a smooth, circular motion. The goal is to swirl the ice and ingredients together without churning or splashing.

Learn everything on how to stir

The key to proper muddling is to crush the ingredients just enough to release their flavors and not overdo it. Over-muddling can result in a bitter taste, especially with herbs.

Learn everything on how to muddle

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Sazerac

What is the best time to enjoy a Sazerac?

While it can be enjoyed anytime, the Sazerac is traditionally consumed as an 'apéritif,' a pre-dinner drink meant to stimulate the appetite.

Is there a specific type of Rye Whiskey that is recommended for a Sazerac?

While any quality Rye Whiskey can be used, some brands like Sazerac Rye or Rittenhouse Rye are often recommended due to their robust flavor profiles.

How should the Absinthe be 'rinsed' in the glass?

Pour a small amount into the glass, swirl it around to cover the interior, and then discard the excess. This imparts a hint of anise flavor without overpowering the drink.

What does 'express the lemon peel' mean?

To 'express' a citrus peel means to twist or squeeze it to release the essential oils onto the surface of the drink, adding aroma and flavor.

Is it okay to double strain the cocktail?

Yes, double straining is a technique used to filter out any remaining ice shards or solid particles from the cocktail. This can result in a smoother drink.

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