The Sazerac tastes like New Orleans in a glass—spicy, strong and seductive. But as alluring as the combination of rye whiskey, absinthe, simple syrup and Peychaud’s bitters may be, it’s always a good idea to switch things up and seek out other cocktails you might love using your favorite cocktail as a benchmark. If you’re a Sazerac lover looking to step out of your comfort zone, try one of these five cocktails that have similar ingredients and flavors, and discover your newest obsession.
5 Cocktails Sazerac Lovers Need to Try
If you thought correctly spelling Sazerac was hard, meet the Vieux Carré. Invented at the Monteleone Hotel in 1938 in the Big Easy, the Vieux Carré also has a rye whiskey base, along with equal measures of Cognac and sweet vermouth. A splash of herbal Bénédictine liqueur and a blend of both Angostura and Peychaud’s bitters add further complexity, resulting in a bittersweet classic that could go toe to toe with the Sazerac any day.
The Sazerac only uses a rinse of absinthe, just enough to give it an extra boozy, anise-twinged flair, so the traditional Absinthe Drip (which is just straight up absinthe slowly diluted with water and a sugar cube) may be too potent for the casual Sazerac drinker. The sweeter, more approachable Absinthe Frappe, however, is the perfect absinthe-laced drink for Sazerac fans looking for some extra oomph in their cocktails. Created in 1874 at The Old Absinthe House in New Orleans, the Absinthe Frappe calls for absinthe shaken with muddled mint leaves and simple syrup until the mix is nice and diluted. The drink is strained over fresh crushed ice and topped with bubbly soda water, for a gulpable, refreshing and minty green sipper.
Somewhere in between the Sazerac and the Vieux Carre lies the La Louisiane, an elegant couped cocktail that combines the best of both classics. The drink used to be the house cocktail at the now defunct NOLA bar of the same name and was nearly lost forever, but thankfully Jim Meehan of New York’s PDT adapted the recipe and featured it in his book, bringing it back to cocktailians’ radars. Rye, sweet vermouth, Bénédictine, absinthe and Peychaud’s bitters all get stirred and strained into the stemmed glass, and a brandied cherry on top makes for a delectable garnish.
The Seelbach Cocktail also hails from the South, specifically the Old Seelbach Bar in Louisville, Kentucky. Whiskey provides the boozy backbone to this cocktail, but as you might expect from a cocktail born from the heart of bourbon country, the cocktail opts for sweeter bourbon instead of spicy rye. Orange liqueur adds subtle notes of citrus that are complemented by a lemon twist, and very hefty dashes of both Peychaud’s and Angostura bitters deepen the cocktail both in flavor and color. A topping of sparkling wine lightens things up, so you’ll be able to drink these all day.
There are many amazing, modern twists on the Sazerac out there, but this tiki-inspired recipe could easily end up being your favorite. Swapping out rye for spiced rum changes things up in the best of ways, but the key ingredient is really the new Red Absinthe from Brooklyn’s Doc Hersons spirits, which is infused with grand wormwood and dried hibiscus flowers. In combination with Bittercube Trinity Bitters, the spirit forms a bright red, tropical amalgam of floral, fruity and spicy flavors, which transforms the Sazerac into a vacation-worthy, cool-weather cocktail.