Sazerac is a cocktail made with rye whiskey, absinthe, Peychaud's Bitters, and sugar. It is of American origin and may be one of the oldest American cocktails.


What is a Sazerac?

Sazerac is a cocktail made with rye whiskey, absinthe, Peychaud’s Bitters, and sugar. It is of American origin and may be one of the oldest American cocktails. Some ingredients may be substituted. However, the official recipe from the Sazerac Company uses Sazerac Rye Whiskey, Herbsaint, and Peychaud’s Bitters.

  • The name of the cocktail comes from Sazerac-de-Forge et fils brandy, which was a favorite of Antoine Peychaud, the inventor of the drink.
  • It is a classic cocktail, and appears on the International Bartender Association’s (IBA) list.

Some popular rye whiskey-based cocktails are: 

  • Sazerac
  • Figs & Fernet
  • Manhattan
  • Sagamore Cider
  • A Place in the Sun
  • Celebrated Sagamore
  • New York Rye Ball
  • Rye Old Fashioned
  • Brown Derby
  • Campfire Sling

Origin of sazerac

This cocktail was probably invented at the Sazerac Coffee House in the 1830s by Antoine Peychaud. He mixed Peychaud’s bitters with cognac to create a health tonic. The blight that destroyed vineyards in Europe in the late 1800s and the American Civil War, which made imports impossible, led to the replacement of the cognac with the locally produced rye whiskey. A 1908 recipe for the cocktail listed gum syrup, Selner bitters, Sazerac brandy, and absinthe as the ingredients.


Nutritional profile for Sazerac (1 glass):

Since whiskey is distilled in copper stills, it contains copper, which helps in the creation of red blood cells, absorbs iron, boosts the immune system, protects cells, and prevents the onset of anemia and osteoporosis. Additionally, whiskey contains antioxidants, which help in preventing heart diseases. In addition, bitters are known to improve digestion. Also, the herbs in them provide a number of health benefits.

The absinthe in the cocktail contains wormwood, which has a number of beneficial properties. Also, it may help in improving digestion, preventing worms and parasites from developing, and reducing ulcers or preventing them from forming. It has properties that may help in protecting the liver and the nervous system, strengthening the immune system, preventing or treating certain types of cancers, and reducing pain. However, absinthe also contains thujone, which is a toxin and must be limited to 10 mg/kg. In general, it is best to consume cocktails responsibly and in moderation. 

Commercial production

To prepare Sazerac, the ingredients required are rye whiskey, simple syrup, Peychaud’s bitters, absinthe, and lemon peel. First, the whiskey, sugar, and bitters are mixed together in a mixing glass and ice is added in for chilling. Meanwhile, a glass is rinsed with absinthe and the cocktail is then strained into it. Finally,  it is garnished with a lemon peel. It is best served in a lowball glass or an old-fashioned glass.

Sazerac recipes

This drink has a few variations that may add or replace the ingredients. Here are a few recipes:

FDA regulations

Rye whiskey is defined by the TTB as whiskey made from a mash of at least 51 percent rye and aged in charred new oak barrels. Bitters are defined as distilled spirits distinguished by their bitterness, which is usually produced by blending extracts of plants, seeds, herbs, barks, or roots with any distilled spirits. In addition, absinthe is defined as a high alcohol content, anise-flavored distilled spirits product derived from certain herbs, including Artemisia absinthium, or wormwood. 


Szopa, Agnieszka et al. “Artemisia absinthium L.-Importance in the History of Medicine, the Latest Advances in Phytochemistry and Therapeutical, Cosmetological and Culinary Uses.” Plants (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 9,9 1063. 19 Aug. 2020, doi:10.3390/plants9091063,

Heather Wibbels, How to Make the Best Sazerac Cocktail, Cocktail Contessa,