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Sazerac Cocktail

I like to use Buffalo Trace’s Sazerac 6-Year rye in my Sazeracs. The nose is sweet and fruity, but the palate is nice and dry with a lot of spice – a perfect choice for the Sazerac experience.

Sazerac Print Me

  • 1 tsp/5 ml 2:1 simple syrup
  • 3 dashes Peychaud's bitters
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • 2 oz/60 ml rye whiskey
  1. Fill an Old-Fashioned glass with ice and water, and set aside to chill. Once cold, drain ice water and rinse with absinthe.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass.
  3. Fill mixing glass with ice and stir contents until well-chilled.
  4. Strain into absinthe-rinsed old fashioned glass.
  5. Twist lemon peel over drink to express oils, and discard peel. Serve! (And for more fun with Sazeracs, be sure to check out this discussion on proper Sazerac technique.)

Recipe printed courtesy of

44 Replies to “Sazerac”

  • Angie says:

    Thanks so much for the reply! I was basing 25% dilution off of the chart in The Bar Book that says 20-25% for stirred, and 25-40% for shaken. (So curious to know what cocktail the 40% dilution would be for). But I will for sure try another round for sat 15-20%. Again, many thanks for helping me back out of the Sazerac dead end. -Angie

  • Angie says:

    SOS Batch Sazerac Help

    Hello, Jeffrey,

    I tried everything in my power to not have to write this comment… as I know you are incredibly busy with your bar Pacific Standard here in Portland and your involvement in distilled spirits worldwide. Not to mention this post is almost two decades old.

    But I was hoping you could help me with an issue I’m having with trying to make a batch of 10 Sazeracs taste as good as one made in the mixing glass.

    I faithfully make your Sazerac recipe here, and I follow all your Sazerac Dos-and-Dont’s on the other page. The result is a Sazerac with a wonderful mouthfeel, aroma, and that is perfectly chilled. Great cocktail.

    Then I scale this baby up by 10, pour all the ingredients in a glass bottle. I weigh the base drink and add 25% water to dilute. I put it in the fridge overnight, then the freezer for 2 hours to get to the same temp as when I stir one cocktail for 40 seconds. I use a food scale to check weights to figure 25% dilution, and a beverage thermometer to check the temp of the one-off and the batch serving.

    One “solo Sazerac” is the same weight and temp as the same-volume pour from the batch. So why does the one made on-demand taste great, and the batched one taste mediocre and unbalanced, with not as good a mouthfeel?

    I simply multiplied all measurements by 10 to make 10 servings. Except I scaled back on the bitters by 1/3, because that’s what someone seemingly-legit said they did on Reddit. Haha…I should’ve just asked you first.

    I’m using 6-year Sazerac Rye by Buffalo Trace like you said you do in this recipe.

    Anyhow, this question is a long shot, but the Sazerac batch is for my future sister-in-law’s party, so the pressure of not being rejected by my future family is pushing me to do something very difficult…aka, ask for help.

    Any clues on what I might be doing wrong? Any lead from you (or commenters) is much appreciated.

    • Hey Angie

      I could try diluting your batch to 15-20% first, and seeing how you like that. 25% is the dilution I use for shaken drinks but I think the lower dilution for a stirrer cocktail might make you a little happier. I’d also make sure you taste the batch before dilution and add anything you think is missing, to taste.

  • Pickled Hippo Trucking Co says:

    This is the current recipe that I’m using and to me it’s delicious. If I want something spicier I’ll use Rittenhouse by itself and if I want something smoother I’ll use just Old Overholt…but this to me is the perfect middle ground.

    1 oz Bulleit Rye
    1 oz Copper & Kings Brandy
    4 dashes Peychauds
    1 tsp simple syrup
    2 sprays of Kubler absinthe into a chilled glass
    Express with lemon peel and drop in glass

  • Colleen Collins says:

    Recently, a bartender flamed my Sazerac. Yuck! Instead of tasting the richness of the drink, I tasted a burnt taste. Now, every time I return, I have to specifically request my drink not be torched.
    Has anyone ever heard of this done to a Sazerac? I thought it was torture done to the drink and to myself…I should have sent it back 🙁

  • Courtney Powers says:

    2oz Bulleit Rye
    6 dashes Peychauds
    3 dashes Angostura
    2 sprays of Herbsaint/absinthe via atomizer
    lemon garnish (with the added spice of the angostura, try an orange peel…its quite good)

    Glass must be chilled.
    No sugar
    Don’t shake. Stir.

  • Wayne says:

    I’ve been barrel aging Sazerac’s for awhile and I love them. I use bullet Rye, simple syrup and bitters. Age it for a month or two depending on the freshness of the barrel. Bottle and refrigerate. Chill the glass absinthe rinse and lemon peel. It doesn’t get much better and the best part it’s quick to make after bottling

  • Bill says:

    The creation of the perfect Sazerac Coctail has now become my quest. Email me an address and I can send you some fixens as Floroda has started getting some great Absentes.

    And this after years as a Bourbon Man and still Hop Head.

  • Arif says:

    Jeffrey, when you said Wild Turkey rye as one of your favorites (as well as the default for the bar), were you referring to the 81 proof or the 101 proof version?

  • Mark says:

    I saw the questions above about barrel aging the Sazerac, which is also my question, but did not see an answer. So, I would like to know what liquor (or mix of liquors) you would use if you were to barrel age? Or, is barrel aging of this drink a bad idea?

  • Jan says:

    Jeffry — what do think about using white rye in a sazerac? had one in NOLA and thought it was pretty smooth.


  • Richard neeno says:

    I plan on barrel aging sazeracs. I prefer cognac, but I am thinking of mixing cognac & rye 50/50 for extra spice. Any thoughts? Also, could you offer help in scaling up your recipe, especially the bitters and absinthe?


  • Leo says:


    What about barrel aging a Sazerac recipe? have you done this? Also, if so have you tried utilizing the absinthe in the barrel aging recipe or would you stick to the rinsing technique before you pour into glass? Thank you in advance.

  • Nickolas says:

    Hi! I’ve been on an absinthe kick for about 6 months, and am now totally smitten with sazeracs. I’m surprised this hasn’t been brought up before, but has anyone tried louching the absinthe before the glass rinse? The difference in flavor is so dramatic to me that I wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t complement the rest of the drink in the same way, but I also find the louched absinthe to be a lot more complex. Would any of that depth come through in the finished sazzy?

  • Marshall says:

    Sorry I’m so late to the party. I love love love sazeracs.

    Kylie–many people find dropping the lemon peel a bit too overpowering. I personally think the lemony smell is absolutely essential, and I can’t get enough of it, so I always drop it in. However, another common method is to use the inside of the lemon peel to wipe the rim of the glass; this helps maintain the flavor and aroma.

    RP — I’m not sure how well that would work. Coating the glass with absinthe serves a similar purpose to the lemon–it’s there for the aroma. I don’t really like it mixed into the actual drink.

    So far, Rittenhouse has been my preferred. I’m super eager to try out Old Petrero 18th century, as I’ve never heard of it. Looks a bit pricey but incredibly interesting.

  • Kylie says:


    Can you please tell me why you discard the lemon peel? I’ve been using your recipe and getting drinks returned.


  • Montgomery Sutton says:

    I’ve been a fan of Bulleit Rye Whiskey for my Sazarecs… And I usually up the Peychaud’s and Angostura by 1-2 drops each. With the simple (and affordable) Absinthe Ordinaire from France. I prefer it without the peel at all, though — anyone have ideas for improving this mixture or other preferences to experiment with?

  • RP says:

    Two questions (technically one, with a follow up)…

    1. Would it be insane to try to barrel-age a sazerac, or does that really just defeat the purpose? I get the pureness of the drink and it’s process, but would be curious to know how it might taste with a few weeks in oak.

    2. If that’s reasonable (or at least not a “no, you idiot”), then would these roughly be the proportions you’d use for a 2L barrel?

    1780 oz Rye Whiskey
    110 ml Simple Syrup (2:1)
    55 ml Peychaud’s Bitter
    35 ml Absinthe
    20 ml Angostura bitters

  • John says:

    I look forward to using some of your suggestions tomorrow night. I especially like the idea of using the Cognac instead of rye whiskey. Serving drinks in a family restaraunt in Eugene where some folks might not be used to the straight whiskey sazerac… meaning the Cognac will make it a bit more drinkable for some people. Any suggestions on using cognac instead of rye whiskey? Or would sticking to the same recipe you had and substituting the Cognac result in a good Cocktail?

  • Paul says:

    I didn’t have absinthe on hand. I subbed in Becherovka and a little but of Brennivin. Absolutely the same effect.

  • Johnathan – My three favorite affordable ryes in a Sazerac cocktail are Rittenhouse Bonded, Wild Turkey Rye (our default choice at the bar) and Sazerac Rye.

  • Johnathan says:

    That should say “sort” of rye whiskey. Auto-correct.

  • Johnathan says:

    I’m wondering if you could shed some light on what sorry of rye would make the most traditional Sazerac. What were the mashbills like for rye at the time? Is a Kentucky rye high in corn acceptable, or should I seek out a higher rye count, such as Whistle Pig or any of the LDI-made 95%ers on the market?

  • Michael – I originally called for 1/4 oz (7.5 ml) 1:1 simple syrup, but I’ve changed that to reflect the recipe we use at the bar, which is 1 tsp 2:1 simple syrup. Either way, it comes out about the same.

    But yes, a half ounce would have been way too much.

  • Michael says:

    15ml (1/2 oz) is way too much sugar for my palate. 10ml maybe 11ml is plenty. The spice of the rye gets lost in the sweetness. But this all depends on the rye of course. Rittenhouse demands less sugar than Old Potrero for example, however Old Potrero is such an incredible a rye that you can almost have it with no sugar. i find an Old Potrero 18th Century sazerac is gods gift to the cocktail world. However we cant get Harbsaint in Australia, so absinthe has to do.
    And remember to throw your glass!! its so much more fun!

  • Jenn says:

    Am having a Christmas cocktail party in about a month and love Sazeracs, but don’t want to bartend all night. Is there any way to turn the Sazerac into a punch for large quantities? Is this blasphemy? Thanks!

  • NickS says:

    @confused: At least for my palate, no additional water is necessary if using simple syrup. The water is only necessary to help the sugar cube dissolve. I do tend to let the liquids sit over ice for 30 seconds or so as I cut my lemon peel, so that probably provides a fair amount of dilution.

    Just watched a well meaning, but terribly bad Sazerac recipe video at — I gave it a try, and Oh Lord, is that version awful, at least with the amount of simple syrup displayed (if not shown — he appears to squeeze much less than 1/2 oz of simple syrup). I just tried it, and 1/2 oz of simple syrup + a pernod rinse is disgustingly sweet. Like drinking alcoholic sugar water.

  • confused... says:

    Hi Jeffrey,

    just wondering with your recipe, does it still require a small splash of water if one is using simple syrup?

    What is the correct level of dilution for this drink? (correct being what you have found works best for peoples palates today.)


  • Absinthe says:

    I am very happy that I found your blog. Keep up the good work.

  • I’m not sure I follow you, NJ Lady.

  • NJ Lady says:

    One thing I’d be curious about regarding Herbsaint is that it is intended to leave the breath “perfumed” and not smelling of alcohol. Is it really that floral?

  • I mentioned this on the Dos & Don’ts page, but will reiterate my plug for my favorite pastis: La Muse Vert. (Not Le Tourment Vert!) Can be had from I haven’t had too much experience with absinthe (aside from the listerine-like stuff they have everywhere in Prague), but it beats the hell out of Herbsaint and Pernod.

  • John, anyone with a palate is going to take you to task for comparing absinthe the Jägermeister.

    The truth of the matter is that while Herbsaint makes for a wonderful – and quite traditional – Sazerac (I’ve been making and drinking them with Herbsaint for years), Herbsaint can’t match the depth of flavor that a good absinthe like Lucid can provide.

  • John Claude says:

    I actually prefer Herbsaint over Absinthe in a Sazerac. Absinthe is overrated in the same was as Jager. It’s all psychosomatic.

  • Aimee

    Use a splash of water and a muddler to dissolve the sugar cube before adding the alcohol. Sugar doesn’t readily dissolve in cold water or alcohol, so you need to use the muddler with a little water before you add the booze.

    Hope this helps!


  • Aimee Scarlett says:

    I am so insanely jealous that you went to the same high school as Steinbeck.

    So on a more technical note (and maybe this should go on the Saz blog) I attempted to make a Sazerac for a young guest the other night at work and in a hurry as usual, I couldn’t get the sugar cube to dissolve and I couldn’t keep stirring it for time’s sake, which resulted in unsightly white crystals in the bottom of my cocktail. I was irritated but had to go serve food to people. I had considered using the simple syrup, but John had hidden it from me.

    Anyway long story short, is there any good way to ensure the darn sugar cube disintegrates in a timely fashion without compromising the drink quality? Many times I have much less time than I’d like to craft the drink.

    Okay, here it is, so what’s wrong with my sugar cube?

  • The Tourment Vert is the only absinthe listed in Oregon, which is a shame because it isn’t really absinthe.

    It tastes like it might actually be half Listerine and half Axe Body Spray. It’s garbage. Steer clear.

  • Jeff Frane says:

    A recent visitor to Oregon is Le Tourment Vert, which is offered in a truly lovely bottle at something around $56 (IIRC). Tempting, yes, until I checked it out at The Wormwood Society.

    The only positive review came from someone who found all the other absinthe he’d tried “too strong.”

  • Yes, Mark, it’s well worth it. And if you have any extra, send me a few bottles – Oregon gets very little of the stuff in.

  • Mark Parry says:

    Not to sidetrack the Sazerac discussion but the only Absinthe I’ve seen in my neck of the woods (Clearwater, FLA) is Lucid at $60/bottle. Is it any good/worth it?

  • Sidney says:

    I’d skip the Herbsaint and use Absinthe. You can get it now legally in the US, no more clandestine boxes arriving from across the pond.

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