Today I would like to talk about a drink that is a little more complex than just simply combining a few ingredients.  Let’s talk about the sazerac.  Crafting a great sazerac, or any classic cocktail for that matter, is not always the easiest thing to do but it’s certainly rewarding.  I could very easily go out and buy some Jack Daniels, Coke, and have myself a “cocktail” in minutes but there’s no fun in that.  A sazerac employs a few different techniques that aren’t used in most commonly used cocktail recipes.  It requires you to wash your glass with absinthe and muddle sugar cubes. I hope to drop some knowledge on you so you’ll feel more comfortable crafting this cocktail than I did prior to starting thirsty bouche.

First off, lets talk about the absinthe wash.  This step will probably be the most foreign to you of the three.  In this step,  you to add ice and a touch of absinthe to the glass you are going to enjoy your beverage from.  You let the absinthe and the glass “get to know one another” while you craft the other components of the cocktail.  A few things to note about this:

  1. You don’t have to use much absinthe because you are going to be discarding most of it anyway.  The first time I tried this, I used way too much and wasted a lot.
  2. Like I said before, you will be discarding most of the absinthe so even if you don’t like the taste of it, just try it before you knock it. It’s subtle, I promise.
  3. I recommend using a coupe or a flute (as opposed to square or whatever asymmetric shaped glassware you kids are using these days.)


After the absinthe and glass are chilled you are going to “wash” or coat the sides of your glass with the absinthe.  To do this you should very slowly start to pour the ice and absinthe out of your glass into the sink (or another glass if you want to drink it) while spinning the glass.  This will coat the entire inside of your glass with absinthe, giving your cocktail flavor, but not overpowering it.

Next, we need to muddle our sugar.  A sazerac calls for a sugar cube that is muddled with both peychauds and angostura bitters.  This step I had issues with at first because I wasn’t muddling the sugar enough found lots of full sugar grains in my drink.  Ain’t nobody got time for that. It’s best to place the cube in a glass or shaker that you can muddle in.  Then you should add your bitter directly onto the sugar to begin to saturate it.  Use a muddler to break down the cube and the sugar granules.


Finally, you will need to garnish with a lemon peel.  This seems fairly straight forward but they reason I bring it up is more for safety than for an explanation.  Make sure you have a sharp peeler or knife to do this.  DO NOT do what Whit tried to do and take a peel with a dull peeler.  That is a great way to take your finger off.  Luckily for me and my appetite she only took 25% of her thumb. (You can still cook with 75% of your thumb right?)  (I wish he was kidding about this. I cried alligator tears.)


There you have it.  Those are the more complex processes required to make a sazerac.  These methods can definitely be employed for use in other cocktails as well, read:old fashioned.  No go ahead and get to muddling!


By Brian, January 24, 2013




Begin cooling the absinthe in your glass for the absinthe wash.  Muddle the sugar and bitters.  Add ice and the whiskey to the sugar and bitters.  Stir until cold.  Complete the absinthe wash, removing the excess absinthe and ice.  Strain the whiskey mixture into the absinthe washed glass.  Squeeze a lemon peel over the cocktail and use as a garnish.



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About Brian

Brian is the Chief Taste Tester, Mixologist, and Resident CSS Wizard at Whit's Amuse Bouche. When he's not writing code, you can find him with a brown drink in one hand, and a hairbrush in the other. He prefers Colorado-raised lamb to all other meats. View all posts by Brian →

3 Responses to Sazerac

  1. This sounds awesome. If you’re ever in the French Quarter, be sure and have a couple sazeracs with Whitney at Arnaud’s. They are the bomb, and will definitely get you in the right frame of mind. . .


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