2020 January 24
Sazeracs are so good. Surprisingly, when I did some recipe research, I didn’t find anything that really felt like it worked well. Even the recipe from Imbibe, my usual go-to, came out feeling off. After some experimentation, here’s a version that comes pretty close to what I’m going for.
- Rocks glass
- Mixing glass (just a pint glass)
- Cocktail spoon (or really just about any spoon will do)
- ¼ tsp. absinthe (I’m currently using La Muse Verte)
- ½ tsp. simple syrup
- 3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
- 2 oz. rye (I’m currently using Michter’s)
- an ice cube (yes, really, just one)
- Lemon peel garnish if desired
If using a single ¼ teaspoon measure, measure out two spoonfuls of the simple syrup into your mixing glass. (I dip the spoon into the simple, but pour the absinthe into the spoon — making sure to do the simple first means that we avoid cross-contamination.)
Measure the absinthe into the rocks glass. Swish it around.
Add the bitters, ice cube, and rye to the mixing glass. Stir briefly, about 10 seconds — the goal is to chill the liquid, but we’re not aiming to make it that cold.
Pour the contents of the mixing glass into the rocks class, except for the ice cube. Stir once or twice. Garnish if using. Serve.
I had to try a lot of things here.
- Most recipes call for chilling the rocks glass ahead of time. I decided that I don't like how that feels in the hand — and it’s also inconvenient at home. Then, some recipes call for using no ice at all (or, like Imbibe, are vague on the topic), but with an unchilled glass everything comes out too warm. In my opinion, an unchilled glass and a brief stir with an ice cube comes out nicely: room temperature glass, cool but not cold liquid.
- It’s hard to get the quantity of absinthe right. That stuff is strong. I can’t think of a better way to measure out a very small amount than using a ¼ t. spoon. (One recipe called for “three drops”, but what are you supposed to with that? I’m not buying a freaking eyedropper.)
- Imbibe’s recipe calls for simple syrup, but most of the other recipes I read call for muddling a sugar cube with the bitters. I made a batch of simple, so that’s what I'm using now, but doing so is a bit of a pain and obviously this recipe is not going to go through it very quickly so it’s not worthwhile to make a batch unless you’re expecting to go through a lot of cocktails. With typical home ingredients, the most sensible recipe would probably muddle some granulated sugar with the bitters. To be researched.
- Peychaud’s bitters are considered to be an essential ingredient. Most recipes called for using Angostura too. This feels like a case of making things more complicated Just Because, and in my recipe I really doubt that one dash of Angostura is a difference-maker. Should probably just leave it out.
- My first iterations were with Bulleit Rye and I didn’t feel like I could get things right. So maybe the brand of rye really does make a big difference here. Another thing to research.
- You might want to pour a bit of the absinthe out of the rocks glass, but so far it seems to work out OK if you keep the full ¼ t. in there. (This is another case of me trying to avoid making the process overly elaborate.)