THE SAZERAC COCKTAIL RECIPE
And I think this would be an ideal time to talk about what those ingredients are.
To make the Sazerac cocktail, you’ll need:
2 oz rye whiskey (or cognac, if you’re a Frenchy McFrench-Face who’s still mad about phylloxera)
1 sugar cube, or a half oz of granulated sugar
Several dashes of a creole-style Aromatic bitters (like Peychaud’s or our Embitterment Aromatic Bitters)
In a mixing glass, soak your sugar cube with several generous dashes of bitters, add a tiny splash of water, and muddle the mixture until you’ve got an aromatic slurry that’s partially dissolved. Then, add ice and your whiskey and stir for 20 seconds until properly diluted and chilled. In a rocks glass, add ½ oz of absinthe and coat the bottom and inner sides of the glass, then discard, shoot, or return the absinthe to its bottle as you please. Add ice, strain the cocktail into the absinthe rinsed rocks glass, and garnish with an expressed lemon twist.
You’ll notice that the process I just explained is much more complicated than a traditional Old Fashioned. And this is due, in large part, to the Absinthe rinse.
Absinthe, for those of you who don’t know, if now legal again in the United States. It was banned in a number of places around the world for bad evidence that it made people hallucinate and do crazy things, but these stories have been largely discredited over the years. But back in the days when the Sazerac came to power, it was just another one of those French spirits that was in vogue, and so of course, it found its way into the cocktail.
Of course, there’s the glass rinsing method I just described, but it just feels a bit wasteful for me to pour out a bunch of sweet, delicious absinthe that I just used to coat a glass.
This is where one of my favorite esoteric cocktail tools comes in – the atomizer. This device is designed to spray a fine mist of something fragrant (like a perfume) over a distributed surface area. So you can see how it might be even more attractive, cost-effective, and aesthetically pleasing to mist the inside of your glass with Absinthe before making your Sazerac.
Now, there’s arguments on either side of the debate – with most purists leaning toward the absinthe rinse – but that’s why we’re going to publish a video in the next day or two here so you can check out both methods and decide which one is right for you.
The last thing I’ll mention regarding the Sazerac formulation is the lemon twist. This is another departure from the Old Fashioned, which employs an orange twist. And really this change is due to the dark, anisey flavor profile of the absinthe and the creole-style bitters. In my view, the lemon is designed to emphasize that this drink is hard to pin down. If you’re indulging in a fine, dark whiskey, there’s a brooding anise flavor in the background. And before that absinthe gets the chance to steal the show, the lemon oils swoop in like a golden ray of light from heaven.
The Sazerac is grounded, but it doesn’t sit still. It’s a momentary respite from reality, but it has its finger on the pulse of the world. That’s why I love it, and it’s why I enthusiastically encourage you to sample one in the comfort of your own home, or in New Orleans, the crescent city, next time you visit.