AskDefine | Define sazerac

Dictionary Definition

Sazerac n : a cocktail made with bourbon with bitters and Pernod and sugar served with lemon peel

Extensive Definition

The Sazerac is one of the oldest known cocktails, with its origins in pre-Civil War New Orleans, Louisiana. The original drink is based on a combination of Cognac and bitters created by Antoine Amédée Peychaud. Since its creation, many different recipes have evolved for the drink, usually involving some combination of Cognac, rye whiskey, absinthe, pastis, Peychaud's Bitters, and Angostura bitters.
The Sazerac cocktail was named by John Schiller in 1859 upon the opening of his Sazerac Coffee House in New Orleans. Both most likely derive their name from a popular brand of Cognac, Sazerac-du-Forge et fils .


The defining feature of the Sazerac is the preparation of the glass with absinthe or pastis. Absinthe is used traditionally but was, until recently, difficult to obtain in the United States and other countries due to importation and production restrictions. Pernod, Ricard, Herbsaint, Absente and green Chartreuse are common substitutes. The inside of an old fashioned glass is coated with small amount of absinthe, and any excess is discarded. The coated glass is either used to prepare the cocktail or is used as the serving glass.
Traditionally, a sugar cube was muddled with a small amount of water in the bottom of the glass. Today, simple syrup is frequently used instead.
The original Sazerac was a grape brandy-based drink. More recent tradition defines that rye whiskey should be used. Bourbon is sometimes used in place of rye whiskey.
Some combination of several drops to several dashes of either one or both of Peychaud's Bitters and Angostura bitters are added.
The ingredients are added to an ice-filled glass and stirred until chilled. The mixture is then strained into chilled old fashioned glass. The serving glass is garnished with a lemon peel.

Historical information

A recipe for the Sazerac is listed in Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix 'Em by Stanley Clisby Arthur, published in 1937.
In March of 2008, LA state senator Edwin Murray, D-New Orleans, filed Senate Bill 6 designating the Sazerac as Louisiana's official state cocktail. The bill was defeated on April 8th, 2008. A recent amendment makes the Sazerac the official cocktail of New Orleans — the alcohol-friendly city where the rye whiskey-based concoction originated and where residents are less likely than those in more conservative areas of the state to object to the designation.
The "Professional Mixing Guide" produced by the The Angostura-Whuppermann Corporation in 1957 contains an entry for the Sazerac, but not a recipe. Instead, it states:
''Out of respect for the property rights of others, no attempt is made herein to list any recipe for a Sazerac. Others have, on occasion, printed what proported to be a recipe for a "Sazerac Cocktail," but so far as it is known, the genuine recipe is still a deep, dark secret.''

In popular literature

In W.E.B. Griffin's Honor Bound series Sazerac is a favorite drink of OSS agent Cletus Frade.

See also


sazerac in German: Sazerac
sazerac in French: Sazerac
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