Classic Sazerac Cocktail Recipe

This Mardi Gras, mix up this drink, created in the 1830s and considered America's first cocktail.

New Orleans on Fat Tuesday can be a blast, but of late, it’s become just another spring break spot—like Daytona Beach with way better architecture.

To drink in the glorious debauchery of the pre-Lenten party without wading through the crush of droopy-eyed coeds, mix up this classic Sazerac from Kingfish bar in the French Quarter.

Mixed with mostly NOLA-made elixirs, the Sazerac was created there in the 1830s, and many consider it (and not the old fashioned) to be America’s first cocktail. And while it’s a seriously stiff belt, the Sazerac began as a breakfast beverage. “It was called a bracer,” says T.A. Breaux, an absinthe historian and NOLA native who also makes the stuff in France. “Traditionally, it was something you took in the morning—it was ‘medicinal.’ ”

The Sazerac

1 sugar cube
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
2 ounces Old Overholt Rye
½ ounce Herbsaint Legendre (an herbal liqueur similar to absinthe)
Lemon twist, for garnish

Place the sugar cube in a rocks glass. Dash the bitters onto the cube, then pour ¼ teaspoon water on the cube. Muddle until the sugar dissolves. Add the rye and ice, then stir.

Pour the Herbsaint into a chilled rocks glass, then swirl it around to coat the glass. Pour out any remaining Herbsaint, then strain the rye mix into the glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Published on February 12, 2015
Topics: At-Home Bartending, Cocktail Recipes, Spirits Trends
About the Author
Kara Newman 
Spirits Editor

Kara Newman reviews spirits and writes about spirits and cocktail trends for Wine Enthusiast. She's the author of Shake.Stir.Sip.: 40 Effortless Cocktails Made In Equal Parts (Chronicle Books, 2016) as well as ROAD SODA: Recipes and techniques for making great cocktails, anywhere (Dovetail Press, 2017). Email:

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