Sazerac Cocktail Recipe

The official cocktail of New Orleans. Rye, sugar, Peychaud’s bitters, absinthe, and lemon peel.

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
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Sazerac Cocktail Recipe

  • Author: Shawn Williams
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Total Time: 5
  • Yield: 1 1x
  • Category: Cocktail
  • Cuisine: American


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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 Size: 1
  • Calories: 131
  • Sugar: 3g
  • Sodium: 103mg
  • Fat: 0g
  • Saturated Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 9.5g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Protein: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

Keywords: sazerac drink, new orleans cocktails, sazerac recipe