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September 4,5  2010 (part of Cocktail Chronicle)

Arguably the most famous drink out of New Orleans. As far as venerability goes, Sazerac stands tall. Not only it consists of just four ingredients, i.e. little room to hide, one of them is anise liqueur. There is a very thin line between utterly undrinkable to sublime.

I have to confess that I think the recipe from MIXSHAKESTIR is awful, way too sweet and Pernod chokeholds the entire drink. Even with modifications, I can not take more than 3 sips.

However, the write-up from In the Land of Cocktails makes great sense and moves me to give Sazerac another go.

And 3rd time is indeed the charm.

The contributing factor is switching from Pernod to Herbsaint which is less intense and less sweet. The modest amount, ½ tsp, of simple syrup, also helps.

While I was at it, I also made what’s in Imbibe!, which prefers Rittenhouse Bonded rye over Old Overholt, and makes it very clear that Peychaud’s bitter should be used. Not Angostura and not a combination of both as in In the Land of Cocktails.

As it turns out, they are quite different and I love them both. I love how well balanced the former is and the first word that comes to mind is ‘ethereal’. For the latter, I love the masculinity of Rottenhouse Bonded rye, and the counterbalance from the slightly more pronounced lemon flavor. The only thing is, too sweet. Old recipes tend to be sweet. ‘Dry’ is a modern sentiment.

In both, Herbsaint is rightfully there, but only as a supporting cast.

Peychaud and Angostura are very different if you take them just by themselves. I will need to experiment more to really tell the difference between the 2 bitters after everything else is mixed in as in Sazerac.

Slightly modified version of Sazerac from In the Land of Cocktails (Makes 1):

  • 1 tbsp of Herbsaint to coat the glass
  • 1.5 oz rye whisky such as Old Overholt or Rittenhouse
  • ½ tsp simple syrup
  • 5 dashes of peychaud’s bitter
  • 2 dashes of angostura bitter
  • 2 strip of lemon peels


  1. Fill an rock glass with ice and set aside to chill.
  2. Before serving, pour out the ice and coat the inside with Herbsaint. Pour out the excess.
  3. Shake ice, 1 strip of lemon peel, Old Overholt, both bitters in a shaker and pour into the Herbsaint-coated glass.
  4. Rob the edge of the glass with the remaining lemon peel and drop it in. Serve immediately.

2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. By Cocktail Chronicle « Sunnyvaleglutton's Blog on 11 Sep 2010 at 12:53 am

    […] Sazerac (Rye Whisky, Herbsaint, 09/04/2010, 09/05/2010) […]

  2. […] Sazerac (Rye Whisky, Herbsaint, 09/04/2010, 09/05/2010) […]

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