The Sazerac is nothing short of an essential classic. This venerable cocktail dates back more than a century, and is the official drink of New Orleans—essentially a twist on an Old Fashioned, it swaps out the ice cube for a chilled rocks glass and adds absinthe and Peychaud’s bitters, giving it notes of anise and a bright crimson color. These days, ordering a Sazerac in a cocktail bar will likely result in one made with rye whiskey—however, the Golden Sazerac, from bartending icon Giuseppe González, hews closer to what the original recipe for the drink was likely made with, with cognac instead of rye.
González created the Golden Sazerac at Suffolk Arms for Cognac Classics Week. Besides the use of cognac and the abundance of Peychaud’s bitters (González uses 6 dashes rather than the more common 3), the other change is a subtle one—rather than simple syrup or a sugar cube, as is sometimes used, González uses Lyle’s golden syrup. This English syrup is around the same age as the Sazerac itself, dating back to 19th Century London. Sold in tins that still use the brand’s original design, this rich, amber-hued syrup is more like honey than simple syrup, though it is made with cane sugar. It can even be used in place of honey syrup in drinks like the Bee’s Knees or Brown Derby.
Like any good Sazerac, the Golden Sazerac goes into a chilled rocks glass with a misting of absinthe and no ice. And, as is traditional, it’s best to express the lemon peel over the glass and discard it, rather than plopping it in the drink.
- Absinthe, to rinse
- 2 1/4 ounces Hennessy VSOP cognac
- 1 barspoon Lyle's golden syrup
- 6 dashes Peychaud's bitters
- Garnish: lemon twist
Rinse a chilled rocks glass with absinthe, discarding any excess, and set aside.
Add the cognac, bitters and syrup to a mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled.
Strain into the prepared rocks glass.
Garnish by twisting a swath of lemon peel over the surface of the drink to express its oils, then discard.