Master of Cocktails – The Sazerac

Master of Cocktails The Sazerac

Another classic for this week’s #MasterofCocktails, the Sazerac.

Now this really is a very, very simple drink, but, like the Mojito from a few weeks ago, one that people love to overcomplicate. The most common over-complication is the belief that you need to stir a sugar cube with the whiskey forever and a day…

Luckily enough though, some bright spark has invented this stuff. It’s called Sugar Syrup. You may have heard of it.

Master of Cocktails Sugar Syrup

Sugar Syrup, it’s a thing.

Master of Cocktails Sazerac ingredients

You’ll be needing these…

List of Ingredients

Straight to it then. There really is very little to this drink. First things first, grab yourself a measure of Rye. This’ll do, I suppose. It was Whisky Advocate’s Craft Whiskey of the Year after all…

Master of Cocktails FEW Rye Whiskey

60ml of FEW Rye should do it.

Master of Cocktails Measure FEW Rye

Sling that into a stirring glass and add a dash (about 5ml?) of Sugar Syrup.

Master of Cocktails Measure Sugar Syrup

Now a couple of shakes of bitters. There can’t be any substitute here. It has to be Peychaud’s. (Although @AdamsBitters recommends The Bitter Truth Creole Bitters, which I must try…)

Master of Cocktails Peychaud's Bitters

Give it a quick swirl and taste for sweetness. Remember that things taste sweeter when warm, so go slightly sweeter than your first inclination.

Now sling in a handful of ice, and give the drink a quick stir.

Master of Cocktails Ice

Leave it alone for a bit whilst you prepare the glass now. You could pre-freeze if you’ve got chunky tumblers. I’ve not, these are so thin that they don’t hold a chill.

Master of Cocktails Tumbler

So, grab a glug of St. George Absinthe and roll it round the inside of the glass…

Master of Cocktails Absinthe Rinse

Might as well tip it back into the bottle afterwards. No need to waste it if your glass is clean.

Master of Cocktails St George Spirits Absinthe Verte

The reasoning here is that you’re primarily deriving aroma from the coating inside the glass. Flavour is secondary.

Okay, so now strain your well-chilled, well-diluted cocktail into the glass.

Master of Cocktails Strain

Finish off by expressing a fresh lemon twist over it. Discard the twist, don’t add it.

Master of Cocktails Express

Then serve. The Sazerac. A genuine classic: Strong, Smooth, Superb.

Master of Cocktails Sazerac




As always, send your pics to @MasterOfMalt as we’d love to see them, our friend Juan has been at it again this week:

Master of Cocktails @DJOsito Sazerac

@djosito used Hudson Maple Rye from Tuthilltown Spirits in his Sazerac

Next time, we’ll not only be making another great cocktail (LHS), but also doing a little preparation for the drink that’s to come the week after next (RHS)…

Master of Cocktails Next Week

Next week, you’ll be needing these…
For next week’s cocktail: Angostura Bitters, Hine Rare VSOP and Orgeat Syrup.
Necessary prep for two weeks’ time: White Caster Sugar and Lemons.


Categories : Absinthe, Cocktails, Whisky

6 comments on “Master of Cocktails – The Sazerac”

  1. Hi guys,

    While this is my favourite cocktail, I disagree with the discarding of the lemon twist. I suggest chucking it in there, but before you do that, scorch it a little bit with (preferably) a match to bring out more of the oils of the peel.

    And a second tip: you could also drink the absinthe. Quite nice if the glass was properly chilled 🙂

    And a general remark that works well with your choice. I very much prefer the more spicy rye whiskies over the sweeter ones.

  2. Yeah – I could go with peel in (or flamed, or scorched). All valid.

    To be clear on the glass-chilling point, it’s really just that those particular glasses are so thin and light that even taking them out of a deep-freeze at -22c, they’re back to room temperature within 30 seconds or so due to their low thermal capacitance.

    There’s a balance to be had between a glass that actively contributes to the system of keeping a drink chilled, and one that has a very fine rim and pleasing aesthetics. I’m kind of surprised at my own personal stance on this, as it sounds like form over function, but hey, them’s the breaks. I’m fickle.

    I’d definitely agree spicy over sweet for a Sazerac. In the same vein, I’d probably opt for young over old too.

  3. Sjoenne says:


    Great stuff there! Where can i find the 10 oz (30cl) Peychaud’s? I can only find the 15 cl version in your shop.

  4. Hi Sjoenne,

    Short answer is I’m not sure… I don’t think I’ve seen a 30cl one anywhere, and they’re certainly not available to the UK Market AFAIK.

  5. Sjoenne says:

    Hi Ben!

    The one used in the pictures for this blogpost is the 30cl(296ml) 😉
    Maybe its not for retail at all…

  6. David says:

    My approach with the lemon peel is to express it over the drink, rub the rim of the glass with the peel, but do not drop it in.

    And I agree with others – spicy Rye for a Sazerac.

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