Tools: mixing glass, muddler, strainer
Glass: old-fashioned glass
Garnish: lemon twist
Of all the classic cocktails, the history of the Sazerac is probably the most well established. Sewell T. Taylor sold his bar around 1850 and began importing liquor. At the same time, Aaron Bird took over the bar and renamed it the Sazerac House, based on a type of cognac Taylor imported called Sazerac-de-Forge et Fils. The original Sazerac cocktail was supposedly made with cognac, and bitters made by Antoine Amedie Peychaud. There is actually some debate over whether or not Peychaud actually invented the original recipe. Sometime around 1870, Thomas Hardy took over the Sazerac house, and due to a shortage of cognac, he began using rye whiskey instead.
His recipe would eventually pass into William T. Boothby’s book, The World’s Drinks and How to Mix Them, published in 1908. However, that recipe called for Selner bitters as opposed to Peychauds, so there does exist some debate over the authenticity. Once absinthe became illegal in the US, several other varieties of herbal liquors were used in the Sazerac. Luckily, we can now enjoy this amazing cocktail as originally intended.
On June 23 of 2008, Louisiana became the first state to designate an official cocktail when they named the Sazerac the official cocktail of New Orleans.