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Sazerac Cocktail Recipe

Classic Sazerac – This timeless cocktail recipe includes Absinthe, bitters, and rye whiskey for a deliciously sip-able drink. With a twist of lemon on the rim, it’s ready to enjoy neat or on the rocks!

two sazerac cocktails one in front of the other with twists of lemon

What is the oldest American cocktail?

If you’ve ever found yourself wondering Hmm, what is the oldest American Cocktail? (as I did) well here’s a fun bit of trivia for you: The Sazerac cocktail is in fact known as the first cocktail recipe to be recorded in America. It was invented in the late 1800s by Aaron Bird of New Orleans – and is even the official state drink of Louisiana.

In addition to being an intricate part of American history, Sazerac cocktails have continued to be popular today.

They’re terrifically boozy, slightly bitter, and perfect for sipping on fall evenings.

What does a Sazerac cocktail taste like?

The unique flavors of Sazerac cocktails are certainly what have kept it a drink of choice for decades.

They’re made with anise liquor, which has a taste similar to licorice. This is paired with fruity and tart Peychaud’s bitters, plus the deep peppery flavors of rye whiskey. A bit of granulated sugar is also added for a hint of sweetness to balance the different elements.

What’s the difference between an old fashioned and a Sazerac?

Both Old Fashioned and Sazerac cocktail recipes include bitters and a sugar cube. However, an Old Fashioned is made with bourbon and has a slightly sweeter taste than a Sazerac, which is made with rye whisky.

Speaking of bitters… Old Fashioned cocktails typically use Angosturra bitters, while Sazeracs have to be made with Peychaud’s bitters to be authentic. These were the bitters used in the original Sazerac recipe when developed in New Orleans, named after the apothecary from which they were first sourced.

overhead top view of two glasses one with ice one without both with lemon twists to garnish, sugar cubes in the background

Ingredients You Need for This Sazerac Recipe

  • Anise liqueursuch as Absinthe, Pernod, Pastis
  • Granulated sugar or one sugar cube
  • Waterto dissolve the sugar into a syrup
  • Peychaud’s bittersadds a signature tart, fruity flavor and is essential for a traditional Sazerac
  • Sazerac rye whiskeya must-have for the perfect, well, Sazerac cocktail

And the classic garnish for a Sazerac cocktail is a twist of lemon peel.

Pro Tip: Use a veggie peeler to cut a section of lemon peel 1 ½ to 2 inches long. You can trim the edges or use as-is!

two finished glasses from sazerac recipe

How to Make a Perfect Sazerac Cocktail

These complex cocktails have layers of flavor, but this Sazerac recipe is quite easy to prepare in only a minute or so.

  1. First, chill a lowball or rocks glass. I suggest that you have these in the fridge or freezer for at least an hour before you plan to serve. Once the glass has chilled, add the anise liqueur and swirl around the glass to coat.
  2. Now add the sugar, water, and bitters to the glass. Muddle the sugar to dissolve.
  3. Pour in the Sazerac rye and swirl the glass to mix. Twist a lemon peel and add to the rim of the glass to garnish.

Serve the drink immediately while the glass is nice and cold.

Too strong? Serve this Sazerac cocktail over a large ice cube to dilute.

close up view of drink made with Sazerac rye whisky, bitters, sugar, and garnished with a twist of lemon

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Sazerac Cocktail Recipe

Prep Time: 1 minute
Total Time: 1 minute
This classic Sazerac cocktail recipe includes Absinthe, fruity and tart bitters, and peppery rye whiskey for a deliciously sip-able drink!
Servings: 1 cocktail

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon anise liqueur Absinthe, Pernod, Pastis
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar 1 sugar cube
  • ½ teaspoon water
  • 4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
  • 2.5 ounces Sazerac rye whiskey
  • Lemon peel garnish

Instructions

  • Chill a lowball or rocks glass. Once chilled, add the anise liqueur and swirl around the glass to rinse.
  • Add the sugar, water, and bitters to the glass. Muddle the sugar to dissolve.
  • Pour in the Sazerac rye. Swirl the glass to mix and garnish with a lemon peel. Serve immediately, while the glass is still cold.

Video

Notes

Too strong? Serve this Sazerac cocktail over a large ice cube to dilute. 
Lemon peel garnish tip: Use a veggie peeler to cut a section of lemon peel 1 ½ to 2 inches long. You can trim the edges or use as-is. Twist the peel before adding to the glass.

Nutrition

Serving: 1drink, Calories: 225kcal, Carbohydrates: 6g, Sodium: 1mg, Potassium: 1mg, Sugar: 5g, Calcium: 1mg, Iron: 1mg
Course: Beverage, cocktail, Drinks
Cuisine: American
Author: Sommer Collier

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One comment on “Sazerac Cocktail Recipe”

  1. this cocktail is so good and I love how easy that it is to make as well! Happy Hours have gotten just so much more better!