Bourbon Sazerac Cocktail Drink

Bourbon Sazerac

A shot of Gavin Wrigley looking to the camera in a dimly lit room
Written by Gavin Wrigley
Andrea
Tested by
Andrea Ottaiano

Are you looking for a bold cocktail? This Bourbon Sazerac recipe is your answer! It’s full of flavor and you can easily make it with a few ingredients – the perfect drink to spice up your day.

Bourbon Sazerac Recipe

Indulge in this simple Bourbon Sazerac recipe! Crafted with bourbon, absinthe, sugar, Peychaud’s bitters, and a twist of lemon, this bold & heartwarming cocktail is ideal for fall.

Prep time:

1 minute

Mixing time:

1 minute

Servings:

1

Calories:

174 kl

Ingredients

  • 2 oz Bourbon
  • oz rich sugar syrup
  • 3 dashes of Peychaud's Bitters
  • 2-3 barspoons of absinthe, to rinse the glass
  • Lemon peel, for garnish, optional

Equipment

  • Old Fashioned Glass
  • Mixing Glass
  • Bar spoon or long stirrer
  • Cocktail Strainer

Instructions

  • Prep Glass: Pour 2-3 barspoons of absinthe into the Old Fashioned glass. Swirl to coat the inside of the glass and fill with crushed ice. Set it aside.
  • Add Bitters: Pour 3 dashes of Peychaud's Bitters into the mixing glass.
  • Add Sugar: Measure and pour ⅓ oz rich sugar syrup (2 parts sugar to 1 part water) into the mixing glass..
  • Add Bourbon: Finally, add 2 ounces of Bourbon to the mix.
  • Add Ice and Stir: Fill the mixing glass with ice. Using a bar spoon or a long stirrer, stir well (for about 15-20 seconds). Give it a taste and stir a bit more if you feel like more dilution is necessary.
  • Strain: Take your Old Fashioned glass and discard the crushed ice. Using the cocktail strainer, strain the drink into the chilled glass.
  • Garnish: Garnish with a lemon twist: express the lemon zest on top of the drink to release the oils and then discard it.

Notes

Substitutes:

  • Bourbon: If you don't have bourbon on hand, rye whiskey is a traditional substitute that works well in this cocktail. It gives the drink a spicier edge compared to bourbon's sweet, full-bodied flavor.
  • Peychaud's Bitters: Angostura bitters can be used as a substitute, but remember that it will significantly alter the flavor profile. Peychaud's has a lighter, floral, and anise-like flavor, while Angostura is more robust and spicy.
  • Absinthe: Pernod or another pastis can rinse the glass if you're out of absinthe. These anise-flavored spirits will give a similar aromatic quality to the cocktail.

Making a Pitcher of Bourbon Sazerac:

  • Scale: To make a pitcher serving 8, multiply all ingredients by 8. That's 16 oz of bourbon, 4 oz of sugar syrup, and 16 dashes of Peychaud's bitters.
  • Mix: Pour the bourbon, the bitters and the sugar syrup in a large pitcher. Add some ice and stir well.
  • Serve: Rinse each Old Fashioned glass with absinthe, strain the mixture into the glasses, garnish with a lemon peel, and serve immediately.

Making it Non-Alcoholic:

  • Bourbon Substitute: Use a non-alcoholic bourbon substitute; several on the market mimic the sweet, full-bodied flavor of bourbon.
  • Peychaud's Bitters Substitute: Opt for a non-alcoholic bitter or make a simple syrup infused with anise and a touch of bitterness from grapefruit juice.
  • Proceed As Usual: Use these non-alcoholic substitutes instead of the regular ingredients, follow the original steps, and enjoy a non-alcoholic version.

Making it Vegan:

This cocktail is already vegan-friendly as it doesn't contain any animal products. Just ensure that the sugar you're using is vegan (some sugars are processed using bone char).

Nutrition Facts

Calories
174
% Daily Value*
Sodium
 
1
mg
0
%
Carbohydrates
 
5
g
2
%
Sugar
 
4
g
4
%
Potassium
 
1
mg
0
%
Calcium
 
0.1
mg
0
%
Iron
 
0.02
mg
0
%

 

Bourbon Sazerac Cocktail Drink

Bourbon Sazerac Recipe

Gavin Wrigley Written by Gavin Wrigley
Jump to Video
Indulge in this simple Bourbon Sazerac recipe! Crafted with bourbon, absinthe, sugar, Peychaud’s bitters, and a twist of lemon, this bold & heartwarming cocktail is ideal for fall.
Prep time: 1 minute
Mixing time: 1 minute
Servings: 1
Calories: 174

Ingredients
 

  • 2 oz Bourbon
  • oz rich sugar syrup
  • 3 dashes of Peychaud's Bitters
  • 2-3 barspoons of absinthe - to rinse the glass
  • Lemon peel - for garnish, optional

Equipment

  • Old Fashioned Glass
  • Mixing Glass
  • Bar spoon or long stirrer
  • Cocktail Strainer

Instructions

  • Prep Glass: Pour 2-3 barspoons of absinthe into the Old Fashioned glass. Swirl to coat the inside of the glass and fill with crushed ice. Set it aside.
  • Add Bitters: Pour 3 dashes of Peychaud's Bitters into the mixing glass.
  • Add Sugar: Measure and pour ⅓ oz rich sugar syrup (2 parts sugar to 1 part water) into the mixing glass..
  • Add Bourbon: Finally, add 2 ounces of Bourbon to the mix.
  • Add Ice and Stir: Fill the mixing glass with ice. Using a bar spoon or a long stirrer, stir well (for about 15-20 seconds). Give it a taste and stir a bit more if you feel like more dilution is necessary.
  • Strain: Take your Old Fashioned glass and discard the crushed ice. Using the cocktail strainer, strain the drink into the chilled glass.
  • Garnish: Garnish with a lemon twist: express the lemon zest on top of the drink to release the oils and then discard it.

Notes

Substitutes:

  • Bourbon: If you don't have bourbon on hand, rye whiskey is a traditional substitute that works well in this cocktail. It gives the drink a spicier edge compared to bourbon's sweet, full-bodied flavor.
  • Peychaud's Bitters: Angostura bitters can be used as a substitute, but remember that it will significantly alter the flavor profile. Peychaud's has a lighter, floral, and anise-like flavor, while Angostura is more robust and spicy.
  • Absinthe: Pernod or another pastis can rinse the glass if you're out of absinthe. These anise-flavored spirits will give a similar aromatic quality to the cocktail.

Making a Pitcher of Bourbon Sazerac:

  • Scale: To make a pitcher serving 8, multiply all ingredients by 8. That's 16 oz of bourbon, 4 oz of sugar syrup, and 16 dashes of Peychaud's bitters.
  • Mix: Pour the bourbon, the bitters and the sugar syrup in a large pitcher. Add some ice and stir well.
  • Serve: Rinse each Old Fashioned glass with absinthe, strain the mixture into the glasses, garnish with a lemon peel, and serve immediately.

Making it Non-Alcoholic:

  • Bourbon Substitute: Use a non-alcoholic bourbon substitute; several on the market mimic the sweet, full-bodied flavor of bourbon.
  • Peychaud's Bitters Substitute: Opt for a non-alcoholic bitter or make a simple syrup infused with anise and a touch of bitterness from grapefruit juice.
  • Proceed As Usual: Use these non-alcoholic substitutes instead of the regular ingredients, follow the original steps, and enjoy a non-alcoholic version.

Making it Vegan:

This cocktail is already vegan-friendly as it doesn't contain any animal products. Just ensure that the sugar you're using is vegan (some sugars are processed using bone char).

What is a Bourbon Sazerac?

A Bourbon Sazerac is a whiskey-based cocktail made of bourbon, absinthe, sugar, and Peychaud’s Bitters. This classic New Orleans drink is considered a variant of the traditional Sazerac, which initially used cognac as its leading spirit.

The Bourbon Sazerac is relatively easy to make but requires specific ingredients and careful attention to detail. The process involves stirring the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice, and then rinsing the glass with absinthe before straining the cocktail into it.

A side shot of a Bourbon Sazerac cocktail in an old fashioned glass on a white coaster placed on a black surface surrounded by a cigar and three sugar cubes

What is a Bourbon Sazerac made of – The ingredients

If you want to mix up a Bourbon Sazerac, you’ll need these ingredients:

  • Bourbon Whiskey: The bourbon cocktail’s base spirit gives the Sazerac its robust and full-bodied flavor.
  • Absinthe: Used to rinse the glass, it imparts a subtle anise flavor that complements the bourbon.
  • Sugar: Adds a sweetness to balance out the intense flavors of the other ingredients.
  • Peychaud’s Bitters: A key ingredient in a Sazerac, these bitters add complexity and depth with their unique blend of spices and botanicals.
  • Lemon Peel: Used as a garnish, it adds a hint of citrus aroma, enhancing the overall drinking experience.

Bourbon, rich sugar syrup, Peychaud's Bitters, Absinthe and sugar cubes laid out on a white bar table

How do you make a Bourbon Sazerac?

Learn the process of creating a Bourbon Sazerac with our detailed guide:

1
<p>Start by adding absinthe into an Old Fashioned glass.</p>

Start by adding absinthe into an Old Fashioned glass.

2
<p>Rinse the inside of an Old Fashioned glass with the absinthe, coating the entire interior.</p>

Rinse the inside of an Old Fashioned glass with the absinthe, coating the entire interior.

3
<p> Then, fill the Old Fashioned glass with crushed ice.</p>

Then, fill the Old Fashioned glass with crushed ice.

4
<p>Add three dashes of Peychaud's Bitters into the mixing glass. These will provide the distinctive flavor profile of the Sazerac.</p>

Add three dashes of Peychaud's Bitters into the mixing glass. These will provide the distinctive flavor profile of the Sazerac.

5
<p>Measure and pour half of an ounce of rich sugar syrup. This will form the sweet base of your cocktail.</p>

Measure and pour half of an ounce of rich sugar syrup. This will form the sweet base of your cocktail.

6
<p>Pour two ounces of bourbon into the mixing glass. The bourbon is the star of the show in this cocktail, so choose a good quality one.</p>

Pour two ounces of bourbon into the mixing glass. The bourbon is the star of the show in this cocktail, so choose a good quality one.

7
<p>Fill the mixing glass with ice cubes.</p>

Fill the mixing glass with ice cubes.

8
<p>Stir the mixture for about 30 seconds. This will chill the drink and help to blend the flavors.</p>

Stir the mixture for about 30 seconds. This will chill the drink and help to blend the flavors.

9
<p>Discard the ice from your now chilled Old Fashioned glass and strain the mixture from your mixing glass into it.</p>

Discard the ice from your now chilled Old Fashioned glass and strain the mixture from your mixing glass into it.

10
<p>Finally, express a lemon peel over the top of the drink. This means twisting it over the glass so the oils spray and land on the drink's surface. </p>

Finally, express a lemon peel over the top of the drink. This means twisting it over the glass so the oils spray and land on the drink's surface.

11
<p>Then, rub the peel around the rim of the glass before discarding it. This will add a bright citrus note to your Sazerac.</p>

Then, rub the peel around the rim of the glass before discarding it. This will add a bright citrus note to your Sazerac.

History and Origin of the Bourbon Sazerac

The Bourbon Sazerac cocktail has a rich and fascinating history that takes us back to the 19th century. It all started in New Orleans, Louisiana, known for its vibrant nightlife and unique culture.

In the early 1800s, Antoine Peychaud, a Creole apothecary, moved to New Orleans from the West Indies. He brought with him a family recipe for a medicinal tonic called bitters. Soon, he began serving his bitters mixed with cognac to remedy various ailments. This concoction was served in an egg cup, or “coquetier” in French, which some believe is where the word “cocktail” comes from.

As time went on, the drink evolved. Around 1850, Sewell Taylor, owner of the Sazerac Coffee House in New Orleans, started selling mostly one brand of cognac – Sazerac-de-Forge et Fils. The popular drink at his coffee house became a mix of this cognac, Peychaud’s bitters, sugar, and water. Thus, the Sazerac cocktail was born.

The Bourbon Sazerac is obviously made with Bourbon instead of cognac, if the drink was born with Bourbon or Cognac is still a reason for debate nowadays. 

A Bourbon Sazerac cocktail in an old fashioned glass on a beige surface surrounded by Bourbon, rich sugar syrup, Peychaud's Bitters, Absinthe and sugar cubes

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FAQ

How many calories does a Bourbon Sazerac contain?
A standard Bourbon Sazerac cocktail contains approximately 150-200 calories. However, this can vary depending on the specific ingredients used and their quantities.
How strong is a Bourbon Sazerac?
The strength of a Bourbon Sazerac can vary based on the bourbon used, but typically, it has an Alcohol By Volume (ABV) of around 35%, which translates to 70 proof. This makes it a relatively potent cocktail.
What type of alcohol is used in a Bourbon Sazerac?
As the name suggests, a Bourbon Sazerac primarily uses bourbon whiskey as its base spirit. It also includes a small amount of absinthe for an extra kick.
In what type of glass is a Bourbon Sazerac served?
Traditionally, a Bourbon Sazerac is served in an Old Fashioned or rocks glass.
What does a Bourbon Sazerac taste like?
A Bourbon Sazerac offers a complex flavor profile that's sweet and spicy. The bourbon provides warmth and depth, while the sugar adds sweetness. The absinthe and Peychaud's bitters contribute herbal and anise notes, creating a balanced and robust taste.
What is the ratio of ingredients in a Bourbon Sazerac?
The typical ratio for a Bourbon Sazerac is 2 ounces of bourbon to 1/2 ounce of sugar syrup, 3 dashes of Peychaud's bitters, and a rinse of absinthe.
How is a Bourbon Sazerac served with ice?
A Bourbon Sazerac is usually served neat – without ice – after being chilled in an ice-filled glass.
Where did the Bourbon Sazerac originate?
The Bourbon Sazerac originated in New Orleans, Louisiana. It's considered one of the oldest known cocktails in the United States.
Is there a specific time or occasion to enjoy a Bourbon Sazerac?
While there's no hard and fast rule about when to enjoy a Bourbon Sazerac, it's often enjoyed as an after-dinner drink due to its strong and complex flavors.
Is it easy to make a Bourbon Sazerac at home?
Absolutely! Making a Bourbon Sazerac at home is straightforward as long as you have the necessary ingredients – bourbon, sugar, Peychaud's bitters, and absinthe – and follow the traditional preparation method.

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