Cocktail Kingdom Library (home)


rye whiskey, simple syrup, Peychaud’s Bitters, absinthe (and sometimes maraschino liqueur)

The Sazerac is a particular way of serving the Improved Whiskey Cocktail developed at the Sazerac House, New Orleans, in the 1890s. The Sazerac went on to great fame, and is distinguished by an absinthe-rinsed glass and the use of the local Peychaud’s Bitters.

The recipe shown above is from the addenda of the 1908 edition of Bill Boothby’s American Bartender, and it’s considered the earliest authoritative recipe in print. (A great many wrong recipes appear in early 20th Century literature—like the Daiquiri, the Sazerac was famous long before many bartenders understood how to make it.)


Prepare a chilled old fashioned glass rinsed with absinthe or pastis.

Combine in a mixing glass:

  • 1 tsp superfine sugar
  • 1 splash water

Muddle to dissolve.


  • 2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
  • 1 lemon twist
  • 2 oz straight rye

Add ice and stir

Strain into the prepared glass.

Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails, p. 625–6; barware icons courtesy of Haus Alpenz