The Sazerac cocktail is rumoured to be the worlds first cocktail. It hails from New Orleans and it’s mighty tasty. It was originally made with brandy but now it’s made with rye. Canada makes some fine rye whisky. I’ve started to really like using Alberta Premium Dark Horse Rye for my sazeracs. It’s made with Canadian rye wheat but finished like bourbon in charred oak barrels. It’s a little darker and more flavourful than traditional rye whisky.

I work with a group of guys who enjoy bourbon and whisky cocktails. We club together to order wonderful ingredients from The Crafty Bartender. They supply all kinds of tasty cocktail ingredients that are quite difficult to find North of the U.S. border. Luxardo Marachino Cherries for Old Fashioned cocktails. One of the must have ingredients for a proper Sazerac is Peychaud’s Aromatic Cocktail Bitters. The Crafty Bartender doesn’t sell that one separately. They sell it in a pack with Dr. Adam Elmegirab’s Boker’s Bitters and Regans’ Orange Bitters No. 6. At first I wasn’t too keen on shelling out for three bottles of bitters when I really only wanted one, however; all three of these bitters are really very good. I’ve stopped using Agnostura bitters in Old Fashioned because Boker’s and Regan’s combine to make a flavour that’s so much better than simply using the old standard of Agnostura bitters.

My love of whisky cocktails was being satisfied with the Old Fashioned but on a recent trip to Saskatoon I took a chance and ordered a sazerac at 6Twelve Urban Lounge. It was very, VERY tasty. It made me want to make my own back at home. Since then I’ve made a few of these and I’ve learned a few tricks. I’ve seen recipes that tell you to chill the glass by putting ice in it. I’ve found that simply putting a thick bottomed old fashioned glass in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes does the trick very well. I tried making this one time with a sugar cube. This drink is too cold for the sugar to dissolve. You really need simple syrup. Agave nectar works really well too.

Making the sazerac


2 oz rye whisky
Splash of absinthe
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon simple syrup or agave nectar
2 – 3 dashes Peychaud’s Aromatic Cocktail Bitters
2 – 3 dashes Regans’ Orange Bitters No. 6
Lemon peel for garnish


Place a thick bottomed old fashioned glass in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes to chill. Remove glass from freezer and pour in a splash of absinthe. Turn the glass on it’s side and carefully rotate it so the absinthe coats the side of the glass. Add the bitters and syrup. Pour in the rye whisky and give it a stir. Cut a good sized piece of lemon peel and give it a little squeeze above the rim of the glass before dropping it in. I add a single ice cube but that’s totally optional.

Sazerac Cocktail

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