Sazerac Cocktail Recipe

4.50 from 2 votes
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Sazerac Cocktail Recipe

The sazerac is a classic cocktail originating in New Orleans’ French Quarter in the mid-1800s. Maybe I’m a nerd, but the idea of sipping a cocktail crafted nearly 200 years ago is absolutely amazing. There are so few things in life that really survive the test of time as deliciously as classic cocktails.

The Sazerac cocktail recipe is an interesting combo of rye whiskey (I like Sazerac Rye), sugar (simple syrup), absinthe, Peychaud bitters, and lemon peel. Peychaud’s bitters give the cocktail its signature reddish hue and somewhat floral aroma. Don’t try to substitute the bitters or leave them out. It’s the most essential ingredient in the cocktail.

If you’re an old fashioned drinker or whiskey lover, this cocktail is certainly for you!

How to Make a Sazerac Cocktail

The Sazerac is bold, smooth, and refreshing with fresh lemon aroma. If you’re serious about making the Sazerac, buy some absinthe, Peychaud’s bitters, and Mardi Gras beads, and hit the ground running. You’ll thank New Orleans and New Orleans will thank you.

  1. Start with a chilled or frozen double old-fashioned glass. The sazerac is served straight up with no ice. A chilled glass will keep your drink cool for longer. To quickly chill a glass, fill it with ice and water and stir.
  2. The sazerac starts out with what’s called an absinthe rinse. Pour a bar spoon of absinthe into your serving glass and twirl it around to coat the entire interior of the glass. Discard the rest or take a swig. The other option is to buy a mini cocktail spray bottle and mist the absinth into the glass. This works really well and doesn’t waste any absinth.
  3. Combine all remaining ingredients (except the lemon peel) in a mixing glass and vigorously stir with plenty of ice.
  4. Strain into the absinthe-coated glass.
  5. Finish with oil of a lemon peel. Point the outer peel (non-pith side) outward facing the Sazerac and gently squeeze the edges so the oils spray out over the top of the drink. If done properly, you can actually see an oily film floating on the surface of your cocktail. The aroma should hit your nose as you sip.

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Sazerac Cocktail Recipe
4.50 from 2 votes

Sazerac Cocktail Recipe

Servings: 1 cocktail
Prep: 5 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
The official cocktail of New Orleans. The Sazerac is made with rye, sugar, Peychaud's bitters, absinthe, and lemon peel.


  • 1 1/2 ounces rye whiskey, Try Sazerac Rye
  • 1 sugar cube and splash of water or, 1/4 ounce simple syrup
  • 3 dashes of Peychaud's bitters
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • Absinthe rinse
  • Lemon peel


  • Place a barspoon of absinthe into a chilled old fashioned glass. Twirl to coat the inside of the glass. Discard the excess and set aside.
  • In a mixing glass, muddle 1 sugar cube with a dash of water until mixed well. Add whiskey and bitters and a cup of ice. Stir vigorously for 15 seconds and strain into the old fashioned glass.
  • Twist and squeeze the lemon peel over the cocktail to release the oils. Rub the rim of the glass with the peel and drop it into the cocktail and serve.


If you don’t have a sugar cube use roughly one teaspoon of sugar. The best option is always simple syrup.


Serving: 1gCalories: 131kcalCarbohydrates: 9.5gSodium: 103mgSugar: 3g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Cocktail
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @kitchenswagger or tag #kitchenswagger!

About Shawn Williams

My name is Shawn, author behind Kitchen Swagger. I'm a food & drink enthusiast bringing you my own simple and delicious restaurant-inspired recipes.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 4 stars
    I only gave it 4 because I don’t like Rye. I want to like it but I can’t! Reason being Kevin Plank founder of Under Armour has a micro distillery here in Maryland and puts out Sagamore Farms Rye. He is from here and stayed bless his heart. Could I substitute bourbon?

    1. I’m a bourbon lover as well. Experiment with it – why not. Have you tried Sazerac Rye? It’s pretty smooth and well balanced. My favorite rye for this cocktail since it was made for the cocktail!

    2. 5 stars
      Certainly make it with bourbon – it works that way IMHO. BTW Sagamore Rye is excellent and not too spicy, and as Shawn says, Sazerac Rye is also very smooth and obviously perfect for this cocktail… cheers!