Before the recipe was ever printed, the sazerac—known as one of the world's oldest cocktails—was basically an elixir concocted by a New Orleans pharmacist. Antoine Amedie Peychaud, a Creole descendant of escaped slaves, had created a bitter that he'd drop into brandy and serve to guests. Soon, Peychaud's eponymous bitters were being manufactured on a larger scale and the brandy was replaced with American-made rye whiskey. By the mid 1850s, the cocktail had become immensely popular and the appeal hasn't really waned. Why should it? Straightforward and potent, it's a manly sort of tipple. And like most drinks that have stood the test of time, it's not really hard to make. The key is a proper layering of flavors. We asked Russ Bergeron, the beverage manager of New Orlean's Roosevelt Hotel, home of the famed Sazerac Bar, for their house recipe. "You want to use a good six to eight year-old rye whiskey such as Old Overholt, Rittenhouse or Sazerac, of course," says Bergeron. "And while the cocktail is traditionally made by dissolving a sugar cube, you can make the process a little easier, like we do at the bar, by substituting simple syrup." Herewith, his technique.
Pack an old-fashioned glass with ice.
In a second glass, add the simple syrup along with three dashes of Peychaud's Bitters. Then add your rye whiskey.
Add the ice from the first glass and stir. Then coat the sides of the now-chilled glass with the absinthe and discard any excess.
Strain the whisky mixture into the chilled absinthe-rinsed glass and garnish with a lemon twist.