It’s Friday … Have a Drink: Sazerac

It’s Friday … Have a Drink: Sazerac
Our weekly recommendation.

On the surface, this might seem like it’s basically just an Old Fashioned with Rye, but it’s really not that similar. The differences between Rye and Bourbon are substantial, and Peychaud’s bitters are one of the most unique flavor combinations available on the shelves. The real key, though, is the pastis/absinthe rinse, which brings depth and nuance to the cocktail.

The Sazerac is a venerable classic, dating back to around 1850. It was originally prepared with brandy (in fact, its name comes from Sazerac de Forge et Fils cognac), and that version is pretty delicious, but I like this one better. Something about the spicy kick of American rye whiskey seems to really go with the Peychaud’s. The world seems to agree; the current recipe has stayed in favor since the 1870s.

I’ve prepared this drink in the classic fashion — normally I put it on the rocks and use simple syrup. The original recipe calls for it to be served up, and I’m also using real sugar. That means a lot more stirring, but that’s OK! Give it some time, and it’ll come together.

Rinse a chilled rocks or old fashioned glass with pastis and discard the excess. Combine other ingredients in a pint glass and stir thoroughly to dissolve sugar. Add ice and stir for a few more seconds. Strain into the rinsed rocks glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

This article is a modified and enhanced version of a post that ran on my nightly cocktail blog, DrinkShouts. Liquors in parentheses are what I used when I made this recipe, and are included as suggestions.

Christopher Buecheler is a novelist, a web developer, an award-winning amateur mixologist, a brewer, a guitarist, a drummer, and an NBA enthusiast. He lives a semi-nomadic life with his wife and two cats, currently residing in Providence, RI. You can learn more at his website,

  • Matt

    One of my favorite go-tos. The bar I frequent rinses the glass in an interesting way; they dash the pastis in the glass, and then spin it between their hands in mid air. Certainly takes a bit of hand eye coordination, but it sure is flashy and completely coats the glass!

    • Christopher Buecheler

      Hah, that sounds fun. I bought a cheap travel perfume mister on Amazon and filled it with Pernod. Works like a charm!

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