The Sazerac cocktail has historic origins in New Orleans and the Sazerac is the official cocktail of New Orleans. Some folks say it is an acquired taste, but if you drink whiskey it can be a drink of choice. I have the ingredients to make one on hand at all times, but the order rarely comes in.
Legend has it that Aaron Bird of the Sazerac Coffee House began serving the “Sazerac Cocktail” around 1850. It was made with Sazerac cognac and bitters made by the local apothecary, Antoine Amedie Peychaud. The Sazerac Coffee House subsequently changed hands several times after Bird owned it, and around 1870, Thomas Handy became its proprietor. It is around this time that the primary ingredient changed from cognac to rye whiskey, due to the phylloxera epidemic in Europe that devastated the vineyards of France.
At some point before his death in 1889, Handy recorded the recipe for the cocktail, which made its first printed appearance in William T. “Cocktail Bill” Boothby’s The World’s Drinks and How to Mix Them (1908), although his recipe calls for Selner Bitters, not Peychaud’s. After absinthe was banned in the US in 1912, it was replaced by various anise-flavored liqueurs, most notably the locally produced Herbsaint.
When you want to get in to the holiday spirit, I recommend you take family and friends to The Roosevelt Hotel to see the beautiful Christmas decorations and try a Sazerac at the Sezerac.
Sezerac Cocktail Recipe
Old Fashion Class
- 5 cl cognac
- 1 cl Absinth or Herb Saint
- One sugar cube
- Two dashes Peychauds Bitters
Rinse a chilled old-fashioned glass with the absinthe, add crushed ice, and set it aside. Stir the remaining ingredients over ice and set it aside.
Discard the ice and any excess absinthe from the prepared glass, and strain the drink into the glass. Add the lemon peel for garnish.
Sazerac 130 Roosevelt Way New Orleans, LA 70112 Phone: 504 648-1200
Hours: Daily 11:00 am – 2:00 am