The Sazerac is a New Orleans classic with flavors that work well at any time of year but particularly in autumn, with its base of cognac and/or rye whiskey, plus absinthe’s licorice notes and tones of winter baking spices from the bitters.
All-star bartender Naren Young takes the drink’s autumn leanings even further with the addition of a spiced pumpkin syrup, and unlike so many “pumpkin spice” drinks out there, this one actually uses real pumpkin. Whether you’re making it as part of a Thanksgiving celebration or merely sipping it in front of a fire, this spirit-forward drink is sure to leave you feeling warm and cozy.
- 2 ounces cognac (or rye whiskey)
- 1/2 ounce pumpkin syrup*
- 3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
- 1/4 ounce absinthe
- Garnish: lemon twist
Chill a rocks glass in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Add the cognac (or rye whiskey), pumpkin syrup and bitters into a mixing glass with ice and stir for 30 seconds.
Remove the rocks glass from the freezer and add the absinthe, swirling it around the inside, then discard the excess.
Strain the stirred mixture into the prepared glass.
Twist a swath of lemon peel over the glass to express the oils onto the drink, then discard.
*Pumpkin syrup: Add 16 ounces hot water, 3 1/2 cups granulated white sugar, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon allspice and 20 sugar-cube-size lumps of freshly cooked pumpkin into a blender. Blend until the texture is smooth. Strain through a sieve and discard solids. Keep refrigerated.