How to Make a Sazerac

How to make a Sazerac. The history of the official cocktail of New Orleans.

The Sazerac Cocktail is known as the official cocktail of its birthplace, New Orleans.

In 1838 an owner of a New Orleans apothecary created brandy toddies for friends and family from a recipe of his own invention. Antoine Peychaud created his very own key ingredient, “Peychaud’s Bitters,” from a secret family recipe. These toddies were made utilizing a double-ended egg cup, known as a “coquetier” from which the word “cocktail” was derived, as a measuring cup or jigger. This was the birth of the world’s first cocktail.

In 1850, the Sazerac Cocktail, made using Sazerac French brandy and Peychaud’s bitters, became the first “branded cocktail.”

In 1873 the recipe for the Sazerac Cocktail was altered to replace the French brandy with and American Rye whisky and a dash of absinthe was added.

In 1933 the Sazerac Cocktail was bottled and marketed by the Sazerac Company of New Orleans.

In 1940 the Official Sazerac Cocktail recipe was modified to include Herbsaint as the absinthe. Herbsaint, a patis, was made according to a French recipe and was named for the New Orleans term for wormwood, “Herb Sainte.”

Finally in 2000 the Official Sazerac Cocktail recipe was modified to use Sazerac Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey.

The Official Sazerac Cocktail


  • 1 cube sugar
  • 1 1/2 ounces Sazerac Rye Whiskey or Buffalo Trace Bourbon
  • 1/4 ounce Herbsaint
  • 3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
  • Lemon Peel


  • Pack an Old-Fashioned glass with ice.
  • In a second Old-Fashioned glass place the sugar cube and add the Peychaud’s Bitters to it, then crush the sugar cube.
  • Add the Sazerac Rye Whiskey or Buffalo Trace Bourbon to the second glass containing the Peychaud’s Bitters and sugar.
  • Empty the ice from the first glass and coat the glass with the Herbsaint, then discard the remaining Herbsaint.
  • Empty the whiskey/bitters/sugar mixture from the second glass into the first glass and garnish with lemon peel.