Learn Your Cocktail: Sazerac

By Betchy Crocker

If you’ve been to NOLA, you know and have, no doubt, come into contact with the Sazerac – the city’s official drink. A magical concoction of booze and happiness, the Sazerac is the go-to drink in the hot, humid, sticky, bad-hair, party atmosphere that is New Orleans.


A dude named Aaron Bird owned and operated a New Orleans bar around 1850 called Sazerac Coffee House. During that time, he began serving a Sazerac cocktail, which used an imported brand of cognac called Sazerac-de-Forge et Fils. The bar was sold a few times, and during that time an epidemic in France devastated the vineyards – making cognac extremely difficult to come by. So, the famous Sazerac cocktail starting being made with rye whiskey instead of the cognac.

We should also note that the original concoction used absinthe – that shit that makes Ewan McGregor hallucinate in Moulin Rouge – complete with Kylie Minogue as a strange green fairy. Absinthe was banned in the U.S. between 1912 and 2007, so many bars in NOLA make use of Herbsaint, another anise-flavored liquor.

Blah blah blah history – the important part here is that this is a decades old drink that deserves your drinking.


  • 1 cube sugar
  • 1 ½ oz Sazerac Rye Whiskey OR Buffalo Trace Bourbon
  • ¼ oz Herbsaint
  • 3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
  • Lemon peel

Grab two Old-Fashioned glasses. Pack one with ice. In the second, place the sugar cube and add the bitters to it – then crush the sugar cube. Add the whiskey or bourbon to the sugar glass.

Discard the ice from the first glass then coat the inside of the glass with the Herbsaint – pour out. Yes, you’re literally just flavoring the sides of the glass. Now, empty the whisky/bitters/sugar mixture Herbsaint coated glass. Garnish with a lemon peel.

Congrats on imbibing one of the oldest cocktails.





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