How the Sazerac Cocktail Came to Be
In 1838, Antoine Amedie Peychaud, owner of a New Orleans apothecary, treated his friends to brandy toddies of his own recipe, including his “Peychaud’s Bitters,” made from a secret family recipe. The toddies were made using a double-ended egg cup as a measuring cup or jigger, then known as a “coquetier” (pronounced “ko-k-tay”), from which the word “cocktail” was derived. Thus, the world’s first cocktail was born!
By 1850, the Sazerac Cocktail, made with Sazerac French brandy and Peychaud’s Bitters, was immensely popular, and became the first “branded” cocktail. In 1873, the recipe for the Sazerac Cocktail was altered to replace the French brandy with American Rye whiskey, and a dash of absinthe was added.
In 1933, the Sazerac Cocktail was bottled and marketed by the Sazerac Company of New Orleans. That same year, “Herbsaint,” a pastis, was made according to a French recipe; “Herbsaint” was so named for the New Orleans term for wormwood – “Herb Sainte.”
In 1940, the Official Sazerac Cocktail recipe was modified to use Herbsaint as the absinthe.
Finally, in 2000, the Official Sazerac Cocktail recipe was modified to use Sazerac Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey.
The Official Sazerac Cocktail
1 cube sugar
1½ ounces (35ml) Sazerac Rye Whiskey
¼ ounce Herbsaint
3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
- Pack an Old-Fashioned glass with ice
- In a second Old-Fashioned glass place the sugar cube and add the Peychaud’s Bitters to it, then crush the sugar cube
- Add the Sazerac Rye Whiskey to the second glass containing the Peychaud’s Bitters and sugar
- Empty the ice from the first glass and coat the glass with the Herbsaint, then discard the remaining Herbsaint
- Empty the whiskey/bitters/sugar mixture from the second glass into the first glass and garnish with lemon peel