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The Roosevelt Hotel- Sazerac Bar
The Roosevelt Hotel- Sazerac Bar

Classic New Orleans Drink Cocktail: Sazerac

The official cocktail of New Orleans

History of The Sazerac

The story goes that back in 1838, Creole apothecary Antoine Peychaud invented the Sazerac in his shop at 437 Royal Street. They say he first served it to his fellow Masons after hours in an egg cup –a coquetier—a word that some insist morphed into “cocktail.” The name of the drink comes from Peychaud’s favorite French brandy, Sazerac-de-Forge et fils. Somewhere along the line, American Rye-whiskey was substituted for the cognac and, in 1873, bartender Leon Lamothe added a dash of Absinthe. Called the “Green Fairy” for its color and the “Black Death” for its licorice flavor, Absinthe was banned in1912 for allegedly causing hallucinations. Soon after, Peychaud’s special bitters were substituted in its place.

Rebecca Todd
Victory Bar

The Sazerac House

A new addition to New Orleans in Fall 2019, this state of the art attraction is dedicated to the famous cocktail. On the corner of Canal and Magazine, the historic building houses a sensory experience that will take you through the history of cocktail culture in New Orleans. Learn the methods of distilling whiskey, taste some bitters and perfect The Sazerac yourself. This is a one-stop-shop for all things Sazerac.

Sazerac Week

Only since June 23, 2008 has The Sazerac been the official cocktail of New Orleans. This June 20-26, enjoy a week-long celebration of The Sazerac at Sazerac House. Reserve your free tour of Sazerac House online to partake in this special week.


Now for the taste test. Today, you can still enjoy this simple yet potent drink at the Sazerac Bar in the Roosevelt Hotel where it has been served to everyone who’s anyone since 1938. No serious cocktail connoisseur would leave town without discovering it either here or at another fine restaurant or bar in the city. The recipe is a little complicated but well worth the result.

Sazerac Recipe

  • 1 cube sugar
  • 1½ oz. Sazerac Rye Whiskey or Buffalo Trace Bourbon
  • ¼ oz. Herbsaint
  • 3 dashes Peychaud's Bitters
  • lemon peel

Pack an old-fashioned glass with ice. In a second old-fashioned glass place the sugar cube and add the Peychaud's Bitters to it, then crush the sugar cube. Add the Sazerac Rye Whiskey or Buffalo Trace Bourbon to the second glass containing the Peychaud's Bitters and sugar. Remove the ice from the first glass and coat the glass with the Herbsaint, then discard the remaining Herbsaint. Empty the whiskey/bitters/sugar mixture from the second glass into the first glass and garnish with lemon peel.


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