Tomorrow is Mardi Gras. While most people drink Hurricanes during the festivities, I prefer the oldest New Orlean’s cocktail, the Sazerac.
The Sazerac is an elegant little drink. It’s mostly rye whiskey, but the other components–the sugar cube, the bitters, the lemon peel–are important into making this balanced, delicately textured drink. My favorite part is the silkiness that you get from coating the glass in absinthe first.
A good Sazerac is hard to find because most people don’t know how to make them. You usually get some combination of bourbon (wrong!), absinthe, and ice in a glass, maybe with some bitters floating on top. No. So, I talked to Drink of the Week on the proper way to make a Sazerac and we came up with the following recipe.
I should add that the original Sazerac, made around 1812 or so, had cognac in it. In fact, that’s where the drink got its name–there was a brand of cognac from Limoges, France called Sazerac-de-Forge-et-fils. In 1870 or so, they started making the Sazerac with rye, and that’s how most people still make it today, thus our recipe below:
How To Make A Sazerac
(makes one cocktail)
2 oz rye whiskey
1 sugar cube (roughly 1 tsp sugar)
4 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
A few drops absinthe
Lemon twist for garnish
Get out an old fashioned glass (or a coupe glass, as pictured above) and fill it with ice. Let sit 3-5 minutes so the glass is icy cold.
In a separate glass or cocktail shaker, drop in the sugar cube. Add four dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters on top of the sugar cube. Muddle the sugar and bitters together.
Pour the rye whiskey on top of the sugar and bitters. Transfer the ice from the glass onto the whiskey. Stir with a bar spoon until the rye whiskey absorbs the sugar and bitters.
With a paper towel, dry out the glass you are going to drink from. Put a few drops of absinthe in the glass. Pick up the glass and rotate it until the drops of absinthe have coated the entire glass.
Strain the whiskey into the glass. Top with a lemon twist.
Happy Mardi Gras!