The Sugar Free Sazerac is what drinking in America should taste like! Sweet, flavorful, yet bold, and delicious, with all the reagents native to our home country! This drink is considered the official drink of New Orleans!
In fact, this drink was actually created in NOLA in the Roosevelt Hotel. The name of their bar? The Sazerac! The hotel itself has a rich history and fascinating one at that!
We actually got an opportunity to visit the Sazerac Bar on a recent trip and it met and exceeded all expectations. The bartender was polite and not afraid to have a pleasant conversation (and snuck us a couple recipes on the down-low), we met some new bar-friends who gave us all sorts of unasked for advice (though it was fun), and we experienced some of the best ambiance in NOLA. We definitely recommend stopping in if you’re ever in town (we kept referring to it as Mecca while we were there). Not only did we enjoy a Sazerac in the Sazerac, but we also got another local treat, the Ramos Gin Fizz (we made a sugar free version here)!
This recipe is based on the one found over at Imbibe!
And on a side note, we are also featuring the Sugar Free Sazerac to raise a little awareness of what is going on at one of the Sazerac Bar’s competitors, Tujague’s. As some may know, the owner of that establishment recently passed away and the legacy of the establishment is uncertain. There has been massive public support for this restaurant/bar that has been in operation for over 150 years. While the Sazerac may be a competitor, I believe that all can agree that the loss of a French Quarter institution such as this would be a detriment to all in New Orleans.
The Sugar Free Sazerac
- 2 oz Rye whiskey
- 1/2 oz Scott’s Sugar Free Simple Syrup or 1 tspn Splenda
- 2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
- Rinse Absinthe*
- Lemon Peel
If you use simple syrup, there is no reason to muddle and you can skip this step, but if you just want to use splenda, measure the splenda into an extra cup and add the bitters. Then muddle the splenda in the bitters until it completely goes into solution (which shouldn’t take long). Then add a few cubes of ice and add the rye. Gently stir until the drink gets really cold and it takes on a slight shimmer. In a separate glass (a 4 ouce glass works great – we love our vintage Mad Men era glasses pictured above), pour a little bit of absinthe in the bottom and turn the glass around until the absinthe covers all the interior glass surface, then pour out the remainder (this is known as a rinse). A note: If you are making more than one, don’t waste that precious absinthe! Just pour the post-rinse remainder into the next glass!
Then strain out the ice cubes from your first glass and the drink into the absinthe-rinsed glass. Take out your zester and peel a small strip of the lemon over the glass so that the oils are expressed on the drink and the small bit of peel falls into the glass.
With such a complex, beautiful taste, it is actually a very easy drink to make. Having one always tastes like another to me! Enjoy!
*There is a long history of absinthe being the original rinse agent of this cocktail, however, as we’ve learned, when absinthe was banned in 1915 in the USA, Sazerac makers in NOLA switched over to Herbsaint after Prohibition ended in 1934. We actually asked the bartender in the Sazerac why he was using Herbsaint instead of Absinthe and he told us that even though the drink originated with absinthe, herbsaint has been used longer that absinthe ever was, so it’s just become the standard. Herbsaint is an anise based liqueur, so it has that flavor in common with absinthe, so it was a reasonable substitution. However, since all liqueurs are sweetened, and our goal is sugar free (not to mention we’re traditionalists), we used the no sugar containing absinthe (which is no longer banned and has been commercially available since 2000).