Sazerac Drink Recipe

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This Sazerac drink recipe is a stiff one composed of an absinthe rinse, water, demerara sugar, Peychaud’s bitters, rye, cognac, and orange peel. It’s heady, aromatic, and has layers of flavors pretty complex for such a simple drink.

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When you smell and taste all the separate ingredients by themselves, it’s hard to believe everything will combine in a tasty cocktail.

Overhead shot of a Sazerac with an orange peel twist balanced on the edge of the glass.

The Old Fashioned has been my favorite cocktail for a long time. But now it has to move over a little to make room for a tie. Because the Sazerac is here. It’s slightly more complicated to make than an Old Fashioned but still fairly simple.

The Classic Sazerac Drink Recipe

Side head on shot of a Sazerac drink recipe in a rocks glass with an orange peel on the edge.

A classic Sazerac drink recipe contains:

  • An absinthe rinse in a chilled glass
  • Sugar cube
  • Peychaud’s bitters
  • Rye whiskey
  • Cognac
  • Lemon peel

Like with all classics, there are some strongly held opinions on what should and should not be in a Sazerac.

Some versions add Angostura bitters along with the Peychaud. Others ask for an orange peel instead of a lemon, which seems to be incredibly offensive to the writer of this Food and Wine article.

My Sazerac Drink Recipe

Angled 40 degree shot of a Sazerac in front of a bottle of absinthe and orange peel.

My recipe is based on the list of ingredients of a Sazerac I had at the Preserve in Winters, California. Because I really enjoyed it and wanted to make a similar tasting Sazerac.

It diverged from the classic in two ways:

  • It contained an orange peel
  • Demerara sugar was used instead of a sugar cube

Because I read that one article from Food and Wine that vehemently opposed using an orange peel, I decided to taste test Sazeracs made with orange and lemon peels. My family (myself included), liked the orange peel versions better.

I like to use demerara sugar in baking for its slight molasses and caramelized taste. That same reason is at work in the cocktail. Lots of whiskeys have wonderful caramel notes and demerara sugar helps brings that out.

Rye whiskey is the traditional spirit for the Sazerac. The first couple of months I was making it though, I used bourbon because that’s what I usually have in my liquor cabinet.

So out of curiosity, I also tested Sazeracs with different whiskeys:

Both Savage & Cooke whiskeys created smoother Sazeracs that were favored over Wild Turkey. But when it came down to narrowing between the rye or the bourbon, there wasn’t any particular favorite.

So, if you only have bourbon and don’t feel like buying rye to make a Sazerac, I say you’re fine.

Overhead shot of a Sazerac on a wooden plank surrounded by cloth.

Ingredients     

  • Chilled rocks glass (place it in the freezer for at least 5 minutes)    
  • 1 teaspoon absinthe (I used St. George Absinthe Verte)       
  • 1 teaspoon demerara sugar    
  • 1/2 teaspoon cold water         
  • 4 to 6 dashes Peychaud’s bitters        
  • 1 and 1/4 oz rye whiskey*     
  • 1 and 1/4 oz cognac   
  • Handful of ice
  • Orange peel    

Instructions    

  • Add the absinthe to the chilled rocks glass and swirl and roll it until the absinthe has coated the glass (try to get the whole glass coated). Set aside.                       
  • In a metal shaker or glass mixing vessel, muddle the sugar, cold water, and Peychaud’s bitters together until most of the sugar is dissolved.    
  • Add the whiskey, cognac, and ice. Stir for 20 t0 30 seconds until the metal shaker or mixing vessel is icy cold and sweating.    
  • Strain into the prepared rocks glass. Take the orange peel and twist it over and slightly inside the rocks glass, dispersing the aroma. Drop the orange peel into the glass and serve.

National Absinthe Day Meal and Cocktail Pairing

Overhead shot of a pizza, drinks, orange, and dip & chips.

This Galentine’s or Valentine’s Day, I had planned on creating a simple cocktail and main dish pairing.

Drinking a glass of wine with a homemade meal always feels like a treat. But drinking a cocktail with a main dish that is built around a common theme feels even fancier.

But recipe testing took too long and I didn’t get everything done in time. However, there’s always next year and March 5th is National Absinthe Day, which is the ingredient that all the recipes are built around.

Here are the recipes that were created to go with each other:

Sazerac Drink Recipe

This Sazerac drink recipe is a stiff one composed of an absinthe rinse, water, demerara sugar, Peychaud’s bitters, rye, cognac, and orangepeel. It’s heady, aromatic, and has layers of flavors pretty complex for such asimple drink.
Servings 1
Prep Time 7 mins

Ingredients

  • Chilled rocks glass place it in the freezer for at least 5 minutes
  • 1 teaspoon absinthe I used St. George Absinthe Verte
  • 1 teaspoon demerara sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cold water
  • 4 to 6 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
  • 1 and 1/4 ounce rye whiskey*
  • 1 and 1/4 ounce cognac
  • Handful of ice
  • Orange peel

Instructions

  • Add the absinthe to the chilled rocks glass and swirl and roll it until the absinthe has coated the glass (try to get the whole glass coated). Set aside.
  • In a metal shaker or glass mixing vessel, muddle the sugar, cold water, and Peychaud’s bitters together until most of the sugar is dissolved.
  • Add the whiskey, cognac, and ice. Stir for 20 t0 30 seconds until the metal shaker or mixing vessel is icy cold and sweating.
  • Strain into the prepared rocks glass. Take the orange peel and twist it over and slightly inside the rocks glass, dispersing the aroma. Drop the orange peel into the glass and serve.

Notes

If you don’t have a rye whisky, don’t worry, any whisky will do.
Author: Megan Wells
Course: Beverages
Keyword: absinthe, bourbon, food and drink pairings, rye, spirit forward, whiskey
This Sazerac drink recipe is a stiff one composed of an absinthe rinse, water, demerara sugar, Peychaud’s bitters, rye, cognac, and orange peel. It’s heady, aromatic, and has layers of flavors pretty complex for such a simple drink. | New Orleans | Spirit Forward Cocktail | Classic Drink Recipe | www.megiswell.com
This Sazerac drink recipe is a stiff one composed of an absinthe rinse, water, demerara sugar, Peychaud’s bitters, rye, cognac, and orange peel. It’s heady, aromatic, and has layers of flavors pretty complex for such a simple drink. | New Orleans | Spirit Forward Cocktail | Classic Drink Recipe | www.megiswell.com
This Sazerac drink recipe is a stiff one composed of an absinthe rinse, water, demerara sugar, Peychaud’s bitters, rye, cognac, and orange peel. It’s heady, aromatic, and has layers of flavors pretty complex for such a simple drink. | New Orleans | Spirit Forward Cocktail | Classic Drink Recipe | www.megiswell.com

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