Photo by Joseph De Leo, Food Styling by Michelle Gatton

This Sazerac recipe comes from Chris McMillian, the fourth-generation bartender and fount of cocktail lore who presides over the bar at the Library Lounge at the Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans. He prefers to use sugar over simple syrup, which is made of equal parts water and sugar, because it gives him the option of increasing the drink's sweetness without diluting it. Herbsaint came into common use when absinthe was outlawed, but feel free to use absinthe instead if you have it on hand. 

Makes 1 drink


    • 1 cube or 1/2 teaspoon sugar
    • 4 dashes Peychaud Bitters
    • Splash water, about 1/2 teaspoon
    • 2 ounces rye whiskey
    • Splash Herbsaint (or Pernod), about 1/2 teaspoon
    • Lemon peel for garnish
    • Ice


    1. In old-fashioned glass, add ice and set aside. In another, combine sugar, bitters, and water. Muddle until sugar is completely dissolved. Add rye whiskey, fill with ice, and stir well, about 15 seconds. From first glass, discard ice, then add Herbsaint. Holding glass horizontally, turn it so that Herbsaint completely coats the interior. Discard any excess. Strain contents of second glass into chilled glass. Twist lemon peel directly over drink to release essential oils, and serve.

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