Making the Original Sazerac with the Horse Inn
Sazerac: the official cocktail of Louisiana. If that prestigious title doesn’t make you the least bit curious about this whiskey cocktail, then maybe learning how to make it will. While we didn't get to go to NOLA to learn about this drink, we did travel to Lancaster City, Pennsylvania to visit the Horse Inn where we met with the bar manager, Benjamin Hash, who showed us how to make a Sazerac.
Much like a Sazerac, the Horse Inn leaves you with a warm and comforting feeling. During the Prohibition Era, the building’s second floor hayloft served as a speakeasy and is still used today as the restaurant’s dining and bar area. This 1920’s ambiance is something that the current owners, Matt and Starla Russell, have replicated well. The walls are decorated with vintage signs and the bar looks as if it was once in the Wild West thanks to the wagon wheel light fixtures and wooden barrel bar stools. The only “modern” element to the Horse Inn is their inventive seasonal menu that utilizes fresh and local ingredients. Even though we only got to spend a short amount of time at the Horse Inn, this building leaves you with a familiar feeling that has you longing to come back and try more of their craft cocktails and signature dishes.
The story begins in New Oreans in the 1830's where pharmacist and drug store owner Antoine Amedee Peychaud, also the creator of Peychaud’s bitters, would serve his guests toddies mixed with his bitters and Sazerac de Forge at Fils cognac. This concoction became so popular around town that a bar called Sazerac Coffee House began to buy Peychaud’s bitters and add it to a blend of Sazerac cognac, sugar, and absinthe, creating the famous cocktail. Over time, cognac was replaced with whiskey to form the Sazerac cocktail that many know and love today.
How to Make a Sazerac
- 1/2 ounce simple syrup
- 7 dashes Peychaud's bitters
- 2 1/2 ounces rye whiskey
- Absinthe rinse
- Lemon peel
- Ice the rocks glass you'll be serving your Sazerac in.
- Add the simple syrup, Peychaud's bitters, and rye whiskey to your mixing glass.
- Add ice to the mixing glass with the ingredients, and mix with a stirrer.
- Remove ice from the rocks glass.
- Rinse the rocks glass with absinthe. In this video, a mister was used to disperse the absinthe. If you do not have a mister, then you can rinse your rocks glass by filling it with about a 1/2 ounce of absinthe, and swirling it around to coat the interior walls of the glass. Once the glass is coated, pour out the remaining absinthe.
- Pour your mixed ingredients into the rocks glass using a cocktail strainer.
- Peel the skin from the lemon.
- Express the lemon peel over the rocks glass. Then, rim the glass with the juice from the lemon peel.
- Garnish your finished drink with the lemon peel and serve.
For this cocktail recipe, Hash created his own simple syrup by using maple syrup in place of processed sugar to replicate the flavor of the original Sazerac back in the 1830's.