sazerac cocktail recipe: how to make a sazerac drink

Sazerac is probably one of the earliest known cocktails in America. It dates its origin back to the pre-civil war New Orleans in Louisiana. It is believed to be a corruption or variation of an old-fashioned cognac cocktail which was made from the now defunct cognac brand called Sazerac de Forge et Fils.


  • 1 1/2 shots of the Rye Whiskey (preferrably Sazerac Rye Whisky)
  • 1 Sugar Cube or alternatively 2 tablespoon of Simple Syrup
  • 3-4 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters
  • 1 tablespoon of Absinthe or Herbsaint
  • Lemon twist (optional)


The preparation of  the Sazerac is the defining part of the drink. It requires two chilled glasses, a mixing glass and a serving glass. The serving glass is usually an old-fashioned glass or a low ball glass as it is often referred to.  The drink is prepared in the mixing glass and then strained onto the serving glass.

Sazerac in an old fashioned glass with Rye Whisky and Absinthe
  1. Chill the old-fashioned serving glass. You may do it either in a freezer or by filling it with ice cubes and water and letting it sit for a while.
  2. Put a cube of sugar and 3-4 dashes of Peychaud bitters into the mixing glass
  3. Muddle the sugar and bitter well.
  4. Add your preferred Rye whiskey in to the mixing glass.
  5. Stir briskly to mix the contents well.
  6. Fetch the chilled serving glass (Empty ice cubes if they were used to chill the glass)
  7. Pour a tablespoon of Absinthe into the serving glass and swirl it to coat the sides of the glass.
  8. Empty excess absinthe from the serving glass.
  9. Add couple of ice cube to the mixing glass and stir briskly to chill the mixture
  10. Strain the drink from the mixing glass into the serving glass
  11. Add a lemon peel as garnish, if desired.


Original Sazerac Cocktail in and old fashioned glass

Though Sazerac is an old drink recipe there are not a whole lot of variations to the recipe. The main variations of the drink happens to be with the different whisky and bitters that are used.

Some recipes also add an extra dash of the Angostura bitters in addition to the Peychaud’s bitters

As the original Sazerac cocktail recipe is believed to have been originated from Cognac, you can also try this recipe with cognac instead of the rye whisky

You can also substitute Absinthe with either of Pernod, Absente, Herbsaint or Green Chartreuse. They were used at various times when the absinthe itself was not produced or available.


  • Though the recipe asks for muddling of the sugar cube with the bitters and stirring, you may substitute it with simple syrup.
  • Add the ice cubes to the mixing glass at the very end in order to avoid the drink from getting too diluted.
  • Be sure to use white sugar to prevent the drink from getting muddled.