The Sazerac dates back to the 1850s. It was originally made with Cognac brandy; however, when the Phylloxera bug struck Europe in the 1860s, the Sazerac's base spirit was shifted to the more readily available American Rye Whiskey.
Some people believe that the Sazerac was one of the original "cock-tails"; however, this is a false assumption, as the first reference to the "cock-tail" is from 1803, and the Sazerac only came along 50 years later.
Sazerac Cognac References
The Sazerac originally used a Cognac brandy by the name of Sazerac:
Reno Evening Gazette, 18th November 1879
"Sazerac Vintage, 1831"
The Charleston Daily Mail, 9th November 1933
"The crowds which lined the bars called for and got the gold or silver froth of the old Ramos ginn [sic] fizz, the amber Sazerac cocktail, the pale green absinthe frappe..."
The Gentleman’s Companion, by Charles H. Baker (1948)
"Hold under the nose, inhale the fragrant blend of scents, sip and relax . . . This, then, my dear children, is just how little Sazaracs are born! Mark well . . ."
Food of New Orleans, by John Demers, 1998
Sazerac Bar, Fairmont Hotel.
- 2 fl oz (60 ml) rye whiskey
- teaspoon Simple Syrup
- 3 dashes Peychaud's bitters
- 3 dashes Angostura bitters.
- Splash of water
- 2 dashes Herbsaint liqueur
- Lemon twist
Combine all the ingredients, except the Herbsaint and lemon twist, with ice. Pour the Herbsaint into a chilled rock (or old-fashioned) glass and coat the interior of the glass. Pour off any excess. Strain the rye mixture into the glass and add the lemon twist.
Official Sazerac Recipe
"Take two heavy-bottomed 3 1/2-oz. Bar glasses; fill one with cracked ice and allow it to chill while placing a lump of sugar with just enough water to moisten it. Crush the saturated lump of sugar with a bar spoon. Add a few drops of Peychaud's Bitters, a jigger of rye whisky and several lumps of ice and stir briskly. Empty the first glass of ice, dash in several drops of Herbsaint, twirl the glass rapidly and shake out the absinthe. Enough of it will cling to the glass to impart the desired flavor. Strain into this glass the rye whisky mixture prepared in the other glass. Twist a lemon peel over the glass, but do not put it in the drink."
Chris McMillian version
"Chris McMillian, late of the Library Bar in the Ritz Carlton New Orleans - among others, has the Sazerac glass into which is then added a sugar cube (would've been loaf sugar in the 19th century, so more like a sugar nugget) over which is dashed enough water and Peychaud bitters to create a syrup in the bottom of the glass, which is performed with the aid of a muddler, either of hardwood or hardwood with a porcelain muddling head. Several medium-sized pieces of ice are then added, and about 2 oz. of rye whiskey is poured in. This mixture is then STIRRED, as traditionally all drinks not containing egg or fruit juiced were, with a bar spoon and strained via a strainer, either Hawthorne or cobbler, into a SECOND Sazerac glass rinsed with pastis (generally Herbsaint) standing ready to receive the drink. A small piece of lemon peel is then twisted smartly over the surface of the drink which is then ready to serve."
- Taken from a Ted Haigh (Doctor Cocktail) post on the Drinkboy Cocktail Discussion board.