Glorious History of Sazerac - The Official Cocktail of New Orleans

History of Sazerac - The Official Cocktail of New Orleans
About 150 years and still counting, the Sazerac cocktail has never lost his popularity since its constitution! We really feel that the history of this drink is a story worth telling. But don't worry, we won't leave you thirsty. We not only give the recipe the perfect Sazerac cocktail recipe, but also different variations that you can try.
Tastessence Staff
Last Updated: Feb 26, 2018
Call Me Sazerac!
This cocktail got its name from the brand of Cognac, Sazerac de Forge et Fils, which was used to make this drink initially.
The first written description of cocktails defines them as a mixture of spirits, water, sugar, and bitters. Sazerac is one of the earliest cocktails to be invented. It has stood the test of time and is still going strong, almost 150 years after its creation. It is for this reason that we can't resist ourselves from sharing the history of this glorious drink. Sure, it has undergone a few changes; just like us, this drink has evolved with age. To this day, this drink is so beloved that it was deemed as the official drink of New Orleans, in June 2008.
Going Back in Time
The credit for the creation of this drink goes to Antoine Peychaud, who invented it in the 1830s. He was an apothecary originally from the West Indies, who later moved to French Quarters, in New Orleans. His version of the drink was made with Cognac, a bit of sugar and water, along with his secret blend of bitters that is still used in this drink.

This drink soon became popular among the people of New Orleans and was soon being served in bars across the city, including The Merchants Exchange Coffee House. This bar was owned by Sewell T. Taylor, who later sold his bar to Aaron Bird and became an importer of a brand of Cognac called Sazerac de Forge et Fils. Bird used this Cognac in the drink, and later, started serving this cocktail under the name Sazerac. This drink soon became his signature drink, and this bar was later named The Sazerac Coffee House.

Around 1870s, the then owner of the bar, Thomas Handy substituted the main ingredient of the drink; Cognac for rye whiskey because most of the vineyards in France were destroyed due to pest infestation. This version of the drink became so popular that it replaced Cognac in the drink for good. This drink got a facelift with the addition of a hint of absinthe.

This drink underwent another round of transformation when absinthe was banned in US in 1912; it was substituted by other anise-flavored liqueurs by the year 1934. It was predominantly substituted with Herbsaint.
About Sazerac
Doesn't matter where you are, we guarantee you that you're gonna love this drink! The sweetness from sugar completely balances with the Peychaud's bitters. The hint of spice and liquorice from the absinthe and the citrus wafts from the lemon along with the smooth texture of rye whiskey creates a perfect symphony of the senses. Its seductively beautiful color will allure you till you just can't stay away anymore.

Did you really think we'd not give you any recipes after praising this drink so much? You know we're not really don't intend to do that. We give you the classic sazerac cocktail recipe along with a few variations that you'd like to try.
Sazerac Cocktail Recipe
Preparation time: 3 minutes
Ingredients
● Sugar cube, 1
● Sazerac rye whiskey, 2 oz.
● Absinthe (or Herbsaint), ½ oz.
● Peychaud's bitters, 3 dashes
● Lemon peel

Method
  1. Rinse a chilled rocks glass with absinthe completely and remove the excess.
  2. In a mixing glass, add the sugar cube and bitters.
  3. Muddle them till the sugar is completely dissolved.
  4. Fill the mixing glass with ice, and add the other ingredients to it.
  5. Stir for about thirty seconds and strain it in the glass rinsed with absinthe.
  6. Twist the peel over the drink and rub the rim of the glass with it.
  7. You can add the lemon peel to the drink as a garnish.
Variations of Sazerac Cocktails
Preparation time: 3 minutes
The Original Recipe
Ingredients
● Sugar cube, 1
● Sazerac Cognac, 2 oz.
● Absinthe (or Herbsaint), ½ oz.
● Peychaud's bitters, 3 dashes
● Lemon peel

Method
  1. Rinse a chilled rocks glass with absinthe and discard the excess.
  2. Muddle the sugar cube, lemon peel, and the bitters.
  3. Add ice and other ingredients to it.
  4. Stir for about thirty seconds, and strain it in the glass rinsed with absinthe.
With Angostura Bitters
Ingredients
● Sugar cube, 1
● Sazerac rye whiskey, 2 oz.
● Absinthe (or Herbsaint), ½ oz.
● Peychaud's bitters, 2 dashes
● Angostura bitters, 1 dash
● Lemon peel

Method
  1. Rinse a chilled rocks glass with absinthe completely and remove the excess absinthe.
  2. In a mixing glass muddle the sugar cube and both the bitters.
  3. Add ice and other ingredients to it.
  4. Stir for about thirty seconds and strain it in the glass rinsed with absinthe.
  5. Twist the peel over the drink and rub the rim of the glass with it.
  6. You can add the lemon peel to the drink as a garnish.
With Rye Whiskey and Cognac
Ingredients
● Sugar cube, 1
● Sazerac rye whiskey, 1 oz.
● Sazerac Cognac, 1 oz.
● Absinthe (or Herbsaint), ½ oz.
● Peychaud's bitters, 3 dashes
● Lemon peel

Method
  1. Rinse a chilled rocks glass with absinthe.
  2. In a mixing glass, muddle the sugar cube and the bitters.
  3. Add ice and other ingredients to it.
  4. Stir for about thirty seconds and strain it in the glass rinsed with absinthe.
  5. Twist the peel over the drink and rub the rim of the glass with it.
This drink is vibrant to look at as well as to taste, and we believe that this is what Mardi Gras would taste like if it were a drink!