A close cousin to the Old Fashioned, the Sazerac has been kicking around in one form or another since 1838 (and was trademarked in 1900 by Sazerac Co.). In 2008, it was crowned the official cocktail of New Orleans, a designation more suited to marketers than drink mixers. The truth is the Sazerac has always belonged to the Crescent City.
Up until the late 1800s, it was made with French brandy as a base—Sazerac de Forge et Fils, to be exact—before bartenders switched to rye, the spirit newly arriving by the barge-load down the Mississippi. A well-made Rye Sazerac is indeed a tasty thing, full of spice and depth, though perhaps, we think, a hair too much muscle.
Which is why Liquor.com’s house recipe combines equal parts cognac and rye, not as a gestural homage to a lost classic but because the two work together so perfectly. The coupling is a boozy yin-yang that when accented by the licorice flavors of absinthe produces a cocktail that’s simultaneously soft and bold, smooth and brash, and so unmistakably New Orleans.
- Absinthe, to rinse
- 1 Sugar cube
- 1/2 tsp Cold water
- 3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- 1 1/4 oz Rye whiskey
- 1 1/4 oz Cognac
- Garnish: Lemon peel
Rinse a chilled rocks glass with absinthe, discarding any excess, and set aside.
In a mixing glass, muddle the sugar cube, water and both bitters.
Add the rye and cognac fill with ice, and stir until well-chilled.
Strain into the prepared glass.
Twist a slice of lemon peel over the surface to extract the oils and then discard.