Wine Dharma

DharMag November 2016 Sazerac cocktail recipe, ingredients and history of a legendary drink

Sazerac cocktail recipe with brandy, Peychaud's bitters absinthe, best cocktail The Sazerac cocktail was born in the mid-1800s, in the delightful city of New Orleans, at the time a true Mecca for cocktails and boozy pleasures.

Many of the most famous cocktail recipes, with which we are amusing ourselves still today, were invented in this city, in this period, thanks to sophisticated drinking culture and the fact that the city was a crossroads of people, trades and cultures.

Making Sazerac is a ritual, not only because it is one of the oldest cocktails of all times, but also for its composition, which includes sophisticated and mysterious ingredients like and absinthe and Peychaud’s bitters.

The Sazerac recipe is simple: cognac, a lump of sugar-soaked with 2 drops of bitters and absinthe: a few drops of this elixir are enough to give a magic flavor to this drink.

The result is an enveloping cocktail with hypnotic scents, rich in herbaceous and evocative suggestions that weave the warm cognac hug. At the palate is majestic, warm, with bitter notes that create a myriad of purple shade.

Sazerac cocktail ingredients


Old-fashioned glass

  • 5 cl of cognac
  • 1 cl of absinthe
  • 1 sugar cube
  • 2 drops of Peychaud’s bitters

How to make the perfect Sazerac drink

Put 3-4 cubes of ice in a glass, wait until it’s chilled, drain then pour absinthe, with which you’ll coat all the glass.

Add more ice.

In a mixing glass put the sugar cubes soaked with bitters and muddle with a couple of water drops. Pour ice, then the cognac and stir gently.

Throw the ice, and any excess of absinthe, away, then pour the cocktail straining.

Pay attention to the absinthe’s aromatic potency, its flavor is indelible, so be careful to leave only a “green caress”, otherwise the cocktail balance is ruined.

Garnish with a lemon rind. If you want you can also twist the peel over the drink to instill a delicate citrus note.

Sazerac’s history

Sazerac’s history is fascinating: some theories (now disproved) want that it was one of the first original “cock tail” along with old buddy Ramos Gin Fizz. Think about New Orleans as a cosmopolitan city, imbued with elegance and plenty of Creole influences, where people came together from all over the country.

A man called Sewell T. Taylor began trading spirits and liquors, serving in his saloon a cocktail made with cognac and absinthe, in honor of a famous brand of cognac of which he was dealer, called “Sazerac-du-Forge et Fils”.

A short distance away from there stood the pharmacy of the legendary Antoine Amédée Peychaud, a virtuous apothecary inventor of tonics, bitter and potions that had portentous virtues (and delicious flavors).

But we know that at the time the boundary between science and witchcraft was very narrow. Anyway his bitter still exists, so his intuitions were not so wrong! La fée verte, the green fairy, (a poet slang for absinthe) was the icing on the cake: super fragrant and with a decadent reputation.

With the arrival of phylloxera the production of cognac had a scary crash and therefore the Americans, cunningly, replaced cognac with rye whiskey, and to be honest, the result is still very good, perhaps less aromatic and floral, but much stronger with a more like smash-mouth approach.

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