How to Make a Sazerac


If you can scrounge up some cognac, absinthe, bitters and a sugar cube—you’ll find yourself only four steps away from making the official cocktail of New Orleans. That’s right, you read that correctly. The Sazerac has been the official cocktail of New Orleans since the Louisiana Legislature named it as such on June 23, 2008.

Although it has been the official cocktail of New Orleans for only a short time, the drink has a long history in The Big Easy. Its origins date back to before the Civil War and many believe the Sazerac to be the oldest known American cocktail. In 1850, a man named Sewell T. Taylor sold his New Orleans bar to become an importer of spirits. One of the brands of cognac that he brought into the city was called Sazerac-de-Forge et Fils. The man who purchased the bar from Taylor was named Aaron Bird, and around the same time he began making a new drink using this particular brand of cognac.  Alas, the Sazerac cocktail was born.


  • 1 2/3 oz. Cognac or rye whiskey
  • 1/3 oz. Absinthe
  • 1 Sugar cube
  • 2 Dashes of bitters
  • 1 Lemon peel

How To:

One of the defining characteristics of the Sazerac cocktail is the way in which it is prepared. The proper method involves two separate and chilled old fashioned style glasses. In the first glass, add a wash of absinthe and swirl it around. Once the first glass has been rinsed with absinthe, add crushed ice and set it aside.  In the second glass, stir the remaining ingredients together with ice. When fully mixed, remove the crushed ice and excess absinthe from the first glass. Strain the contents of the second glass into the first glass to separate its ice.  Finally, garnish with a lemon peel and serve.