Cocktail of the Week: Sazerac
There's a lot to love about New Orleans, Mardi Gras, Bourbon Street, the King Cake; but one of its most important contributions, in my opinion, is the Sazerac. This delightfully classic cocktail is delicious and one of the oldest cocktails in America.
Back in the 1830s, a man named Antoine Amédée Peychaud ran a drug store in New Orleans and invented Peychaud's Bitters. A Haitian refugee that fled his home country to Louisiana after a slave uprising, initially got in to the business of curing people. To help make the medicine - his Peychaud's Bitters - gone down easy, he served his customers toddies mixed with bitters and Sazerac de Forge et Fils cognac. This was so popular with his clientele that a local coffee house bought his bitters and made a blend with the Sazerac cognac, bitters, sugar, and absinthe. Eventually the coffee shop bought the rights to the bitters and removed cognac in favor of rye.
The Sazerac remained popular for over a century but met a roadblock when absinthe was banned in 1912. The solution became a small rinse of anise-liquor in the glass instead of a full pour, a practice still in effect today. Despite the crackdown, the Big Easy's House of Representatives voted the Sazerac its official drink. A move that cemented this storied cocktail in the halls of mixology.
1 1⁄4 oz. rye
1 1⁄4 oz. cognac*
1 sugar cube (or ½ oz simple syrup)
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
1 dashes Angostura bitters
Absinthe or Herbsaint, to rinse
Rinse a chilled rocks glass with absinthe, discarding any excess, and set aside.
In a mixing glass, muddle the sugar cube and bitters with a dash of water.
Add the rye and cognac, fill with ice, and stir until chilled.
Strain into the rocks glass.
Twist a slice of lemon peel over the surface and discard or use to garnish.
*You can also make the Sazerac the more common way with 2 ½ oz rye instead of cognac.
Check out the full recipe page here.