Fabulousness for the fall!

Summer seems to be in the rearview mirror at long last, and it’s finally time for transitional drinking. On those temperate-to-chilly evenings coming up, we like something solid, yet refreshing. Not light and citrusy, yet not a big wallop. Recently we were served a couple of Sazeracs, and that was just the ticket. Hailing from New Orleans, where it’s always time for a party, a Sazerac is also nice for a quiet hour – alone or with someone special – as the sun slips behind the trees.

Made with rye – spicy and less-sweet than bourbon – and employing hints of anise, bitters and sugar, the result is a lively redish-brown quaff, with layers and layers of flavor. It’s definitely a stand-up drink, one to be respected. But not a giant flavor-bomb like a Manhattan (which we also love, but in the winter).
Sazeracs are a bit more complicated to assemble than the usual, but no citrus-sqeezing is required, so we think you can handle it.


  • 1 tsp Herbsaint
  • 2 oz rye whiskey (You can use Sazerac brand rye if you wish, but there are lots of other good ryes out there, so don’t worry about it.)
  • 1 tsp simple syrup
  • 3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters (remember, a dash is 6-8 drops)
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters

Take a chilled on-the-rocks glass, add the Herbsaint and roll it around to coat the inside of the glass. Toss out the excess Herbsaint and set the glass aside. In a shaker or mixing glass combine the rye, bitters, and simple syrup (some use a sugar cube muddled with the bitters – either way is fine) and stir with ice until it’s very cold. That means stir without stopping for at least 30 seconds. 60 seconds is better. Strain the whiskey into the chilled glass without ice. Add a lemon peel if you wish, and sip. Do NOT gulp. Also, do NOT use bourbon.
About Herbsaint: Without going into a ton of tangled detail, we’ll simply say that Herbsaint is an anise-flavored liqueur from New Orleans. There are others quite similar – Absinthe and Pernod, in particular – that some Sazerac makers insist upon. We’re pretty flexible on this point. It just needs to impart the anise flavor. One time, in a pinch, we used ouzo. Nobody complained.
Welcome autumn!! What took you so long to get here?