The Sazerac cocktail has its roots in the pharmacy and eventually became a New Orleans favorite.

Classic cocktails have experienced a resurgence in popularity in recent years.  Among those drinks enjoying the current spotlight is the Sazerac, one of the oldest cocktails.  The Sazerac originated in 1838 with Antoine Peychaud, a Creole pharmacist who owned an apothecary in New Orleans.  Mr. Peychaud created his own secret blend of bitters, including his “Peychaud’s Bitters” which is still available for purchase today and the authentic type to use in the cocktail.  He would make brandy toddies for his friends using his special bitters.  The original Sazerac cocktail was made with a French brandy called Sazerac de Forge et Fils and Peychaud’s bitters.  The drink was a big hit in New Orleans by the 1850’s.  In 1873 the original recipe was altered to use American rye whiskey instead of brandy and a dash of absinthe was added.  In 1940 the recipe was changed again to replace the absinthe, which had since been banned in the United States, with Herbsainte, an anise flavored spirit from New Orleans.

In June, 2008 the Louisiana Legislature named the Sazerac the official cocktail of New Orleans.  Today the brand Sazerac Rye Whiskey is owned by the Sazerac Company and produced by Buffalo Trace Distillery of Frankfort, Kentucky.  The company also still produces Peychaud’s Bitters.


Sazerac cocktail photo

Photo by quinn.anya