icon The Sazerac
from the Monteleone Hotel, New Orleans

The Sazerac is said to be the oldest cocktail invented in America, with origins in Antebellum New Orleans. The cocktail was named by John Schiller in 1859 upon the opening of his Sazerac Coffee House in New Orleans.

The original drink is a combination of Cognac and bitters created by Antoine Amédée Peychaud. Peychaud was a New Orleans pharmacist born in Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti) in 1803, and migrated to New Orleans during the mass emigration from Saint-Domingue following the Haitian revolution and slave rebellion. In New Orleans in 1830, he invented the citrus based tincture, which became known as "Peychaud's Bitters" and is central to the Sazerac cocktail.

Since the creation of the cocktail, many different recipes have evolved, usually involving some combination of Cognac, rye whiskey, absinthe or Herbsaint and Peychaud's Bitters.


  • 6 measures ounces rye whiskey
  • 1 measure Absinthe
  • Three dashes Peychaud's Bitters
  • One sugar cube or simple syrup

Shake well with ice and pour into a martini glass. Add a thin slice of lemon peel.


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Last updated: October 12, 2010
Photograph from Wikimedia Commons used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.