With origins stretching back to antebellum New Orleans, the Sazerac is possibly the oldest American cocktail. It’s also the official cocktail of New Orleans.
- 1 sugar cube
- 2 1/2 ounces rye whisky
- 2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
- lemon peel
In an Old-Fashioned glass (not a mixing glass; it’s part of the ritual), muddle a sugar cube with a few drops of water. Add several small ice cubes and the rye whiskey,* the Peychaud’s bitters, and the Angostura bitters.**
Stir well and strain into a second, chilled, Old-Fashioned glass in which you have rolled around a few drops of absinthe (no substitute really works, but you can try either a mix of Pernod and green Chartreuse, or Absente) until its inside is thoroughly coated, pouring off the excess. Garnish with a twist of lemon peel (some people insist that this be squeezed over the drink and discarded; I’m not quite so picky).
* Use the good stuff, if you can find it: Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye (13 years old), or Sazerac Rye (18 years old).
** Optional. It’s not in the original recipe, but it’s traditional nonetheless, and it’s not bad.
last updated August 17, 2023