Did you know that the original Sazerac recipe was actually made with cognac? One of the oldest mixed drinks, this classic whiskey cocktail is spirit-forward, aromatic, and complex. 

And while an American rye whiskey Sazerac is a thing of beauty, you haven’t really experienced the perfection of this cocktail until you’ve had it with cognac.

Pouring a cognac and base of rye whiskey mixture into a mixing glass
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If you make this cocktail solely with cognac, however, it lacks the spicy bite of the rye whiskey, but makes up for it with the floral aromatics in cognac. It’s worth trying, but I really recommend what we’re offering today: a split base of rye and cognac together.

With this version of the classic cocktail consisting of both whiskey and cognac, first you smell the lemon oil and absinthe and then taste what is essentially a Peychaud’s Old Fashioned with a rye base spirit and the richness of cognac– a very distinctive flavor profile, especially combined with the licorice flavor of the absinthe. Then you can enjoy a nice, smooth finish.


stirring 50 percent whiskey and 50 percent cognac french brandy
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Before the mid-19th century, cognac was a barman’s staple – And it wasn’t until phylloxera decimated French grapes that cognac started to get replaced with American whiskey, thanks to its increased availability and cheaper cost.

Before this, the original Sazerac recipe called for Sazerac cognac (thus explaining the cocktail’s name). But eventually, due to the lack of cognac availability, the drink became known as a whiskey cocktail. Nowadays, either option is acceptable– but we love using both base spirits.

The Sazerac was born in New Orleans and is actually the official cocktail of Louisiana as of 2008.

pouring a sazerac into a glass with absinthe, an anise-flavored liqueur
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If you haven’t had a Sazerac yet, order one the next time you go out to your favorite craft bar… Or better yet, make one after this video!


Note that our recipe calls for simple syrup. If you don’t have the time to make simple syrup or don’t have some already prepared in your fridge, a muddled sugar cube with a splash of cold water will do; just wet the sugar cube with about a teaspoon of water and muddle into a syrup paste before adding your other cocktail ingredients.

One teaspoon of sugar = 1 sugar cube, give or take, so 2 teaspoon simple syrup should be about equivalent.

You’ll also see Chris use our brand new atomizer to spray the cocktail glass before chilling the glass with ice cubes. Make sure to grab yours if you don’t already have a set!

Bartender holding a balanced drink

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This aromatic drink can be played with in a variety of ways. Here, we’ve made it a split-base Sazerac with a mix of rye whiskey and cognac brandy, but you can also just have a base of rye whiskey alone, eliminating the cognac completely. 

As I mentioned, you can also try it with just cognac, although it’s a much softer flavor, lacking the typical “bite” you expect from the whiskey mixture– after all, it then stops being an all-time great whiskey cocktail, doesn’t it? Or you can use bourbon whiskey instead of rye if that is your personal preference.

If you’re set on your base spirit but still want to play around, try these tricks:

  • Use Demerara or Turbinado syrup instead of plain simple syrup with cane sugar.
  • Split the bitters between Peychaud’s and Angostura.
  • Add a dash or two of orange bitters.
  • As mentioned before, use a sugar cube instead of simple syrup.
Sazerac cocktail on a bar in a cocktail glass

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Ok, cocktail lovers, let us know in the comments which version of this classic cocktail you think is the finest recipe. We’d love to hear your thoughts! Meanwhile, get out your Old-Fashioned glass, grab our recipe below, and get to stirring. Cheers!


Sazerac cocktail in a rocks glass with ice cubes removed

Cognac Sazerac

Ever had a Sazerac made with cognac? Here, we're using a split-base of rye and cognac.
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Course: Drinks


  • 1.5 oz Rye Whiskey Camus VSOP Borderies
  • 0.5 oz Cognac
  • 0.25 oz Simple Syrup
  • 3 dashes Bitters Peychauds
  • 1 rinse Absinthe Lucid
  • 1 each Lemon Peel for garnish


  • Chill serving glass with ice.
  • In a mixing glass, combine all ingredients, except Absinthe, add ice, and stir until mixed.
  • Dump ice from chilled glass and coat the glass with absinthe, discarding any extra.
  • Strain your cocktail into the prepared glass.
  • Garnish with an expressed lemon twist.