According to legend, the Sazerac was the first concoction to be called a cocktail: the French pharmacist  Antoine Amédée Peychaud created the mixture in the early 19th century behind his counter in New Orleans. To do so, he used a so-called cocquetier. According to the legend, cocquetier became “cocktail” when mispronounced. While only one of the possible explanations of the word “cocktail”, it is certainly one of the more plausible ones. During prohibition, the word “cocktail” then became popular as code for an alcoholic beverage.

The Classic Sazerac:

  • 1 teaspoon Pernod
  • 2 ounces Cognac
  • 3 or 4 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters
  • Lemon twist


Use Pernod to coat inside of an old-fashioned glass and discard the excess. Shake the cognac and the bitters with ice and strain into prepared glass. Twist the lemon peel and drop it in drink.


Sometimes, bourbon or rye whiskey is substituted for cognac. The New Orleans Sazerac uses bourbon and herbsaint, or also absinthe. For a New Orleans Sazerac, put a sugar cube in old-fashioned glass and saturate with bitters. Add ice and two ounces of bourbon, 0.25 ounce of herbsaint, and 0.5 ounce of fresh lemon juice. Stir well, twist the lemon peel and drop it in drink.

Back to Classic Cocktails

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