Few cocktails feature a history as varied and intriguing as the Sazerac, widely regarded as the world’s oldest cocktail. According to legend, the Sazerac was invented in 1838 by a Creole apothecary named Antoine Peychaud in his shop on Royal Street in New Orleans, Louisiana. He originally provided this drink after business hours to his fellow Masons by serving it in an egg cup, also referred to as a coquetier. This is often considered the source of the word “cocktail.” Peychaud named his drink after his favorite French cognac, Sazerac-de-Forge et fils from Limoges, France, a popular choice among the Creole community during the 19th century.
Sazerac Through the Centuries
Over time, the recipe changed throughout New Orleans, and bartenders began substituting rye whisky for the cognac as the result of the phylloxera epidemic decimating most European vineyards. Sources claim that in 1873, famous bartender Leon Lamothe changed the Sazerac forever by adding a splash of absinthe, a licorice-flavored high-proof spirit known as the Green Fairy for its characteristic green color. Absinthe is made from green anise, sweet fennel, and Artemisia absinthium, or grande wormwood. Grande wormwood contains the substance thujone, which is considered responsible for producing hallucinogenic effects—although the modern US market strictly regulates thujone levels.
Peychaud’s favorite cognac lends its name to the Sazerac House, a famous drinking establishment in New Orleans that served as the social center of the city. Founded in 1850, it quickly became the premier spot for cultured New Orleanians to drink, play cards, and discuss business matters. By 1957, the popularity of the Sazerac cocktail led Peychaud to purchase an ad in the local paper promoting his line of bitters and informing readers of its availability at the Sazerac House and other leading “coffee houses” within the city. In 1903, the Washington Post reported on “the spectacle of the immortal Sazerac,” and today, it is the official drink of New Orleans.
How to Make a Sazerac
Check out this recipe from our friends at My Kitchen for the perfect Sazerac:
1. Muddle two sugar cubes, two dashes of Peychaud’s aromatic bitters, and two dashes of orange bitters in a shaker glass.
2. Add 2 oz of your favorite whiskey to the shaker and stir gently.
3. Place two ice cubes in the shaker and continue stirring the mixture until chilled.
4. Coat the inside of two chilled rocks glasses with ¼ oz absinthe, swirling to evenly cover the glass, then discard the absinthe.
5. Rim the rocks glasses with lemon zest, pour the mixture into the glasses, and enjoy.
Visit Us for Everything You Need to Make the World’s Oldest Drink
If you’re ready to find out first-hand why the Sazerac holds the title of the world’s oldest drink, visit Payless Liquors today to pick up all the necessary supplies to make this beloved cocktail.
Our experienced staff can help you choose the right whiskey from our extensive selection, so your Sazerac turns out just the way you want. We even offer convenient online ordering for curbside pickup. Complete your order today by calling us at (317) 784-9105 or submitting the form on our website.