This post may include affiliate links; for details, see our disclosure policy.

The Bourbon Sazerac is a tasty spin on the classic drink! This boozy cocktail is a sophisticated slow sipper.

Sazerac Bourbon
Save this recipe!
Get this sent to your inbox, plus get new recipes from us every week!

Love a Sazerac but only have bourbon whiskey? Never fear: try the Bourbon Sazerac! This boozy slow sipper is traditionally made with rye whiskey and Cognac. But simplify it and make it with bourbon, and it’s just as good! (In our opinion) Adding absinthe, sugar and bitters to bourbon whiskey makes a sophisticated cocktail that’s both elevated and simple, all at once.

Ingredients in a Sazerac with borubon

The Sazerac is a classic cocktail invented in New Orleans in the mid-1800’s. It’s made with Cognac and/or rye whiskey, absinthe, and Peychaud’s bitters. The name comes from the type of Cognac it was originally made with, Sazerac-de-Forge et Fils. Later rye whiskey was used in place of the Cognac, and cocktails today use either or both.

The Bourbon Sazerac simply replaces the Cognac or rye whiskey with bourbon, which adds slightly sweeter notes with an oak and vanilla finish. Either way, it’s spirit-forward and boozy: a simple way to make drinking bourbon more interesting (much like an Old Fashioned). Here’s what’s in a Sazerac with bourbon:

  • Bourbon whiskey
  • Absinthe
  • Sugar cube
  • Peychaud’s bitters
Sazerac Bourbon

Types of bourbon

Use your favorite type of bourbon for a Bourbon Sazerac! While you could use a higher end craft and single-barrel bourbons, a mid-range blended bourbon works well here. Anything in the $25 to $35 range for 750ml bottle works. Some brands we’d recommend are:

  • $: Elijah Craig Small Batch
  • $$: Four Roses Small Batch or Woodford Reserve
  • $$$: Bulleit 10 Year Bourbon

More about Peychaud’s bitters

A specialty ingredient you need for the Bourbon Sazerac; Peychaud bitters! Peychaud bitters are the “secret” recipe that was originally used to make a Sazerac…and they’re still made today.

  • Peychaud’s bitters are a type of cocktail bitters that taste a little sweeter than Angostura bitters, the most popular type of bitters you might already have on hand. The flavor has hints of anise and mint.
  • Can you substitute Angostura bitters in a Sazerac? Purists claim the Sazerac must be made with Peychaud’s bitters. But if all you have is Angostura, you can use that too.
Sazerac Bourbon

How to make a Bourbon Sazerac

Many bartenders make the Sazerac in a special way: with 2 chilled low ball glasses. After taste testing, we found that this isn’t really necessary for the home bartender. While a purist might insist on it, we found it was just as good simply stirred with absinthe in a mixing glass. Here’s what to do:

  • Stir together all ingredients in a cocktail mixing glass. Muddle the sugar cube with the Peychaud’s bitters, then add the bouton and absinthe (go to the recipe below for specific quantities).
  • Strain into a low ball glass and garnish. Typically the Sazerac is served without ice, since it’s stirred in a mixing glass (and already diluted with ice). Just add a lemon peel and you’ve got a Bourbon Sazerac!

More bourbon cocktails

Love bourbon? Here are a few more great bourbon cocktails to try:

Save this recipe!
Get this sent to your inbox, plus get new recipes from us every week!
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Sazerac Bourbon

Bourbon Sazerac

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 1 review

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x


The Bourbon Sazerac is a tasty spin on the classic drink! This boozy cocktail is a sophisticated slow sipper.


  • 34 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
  • 1 sugar cube
  • 1 teaspoon absinthe
  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) bourbon whiskey
  • Lemon twist


  1. In a mixing glass, add the sugar cube and coat it with the bitters. Muddle the sugar cube with a cocktail muddler or wooden spoon until mostly dissolved. Add the bourbon whiskey and absinthe and fill the mixing glass with a handful of ice.
  2. Stir until cold. Strain the drink into a chilled low ball glass.
  3. Use a knife to remove a 1″ wide strip of the lemon peel. Squeeze the lemon peel into the drink to release the oils. Gently run the peel around the edge of the glass, then place it in the glass and serve.
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: Cocktails
  • Diet: Vegan

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

Leave a Comment

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

1 Comment

  1. Sonja Overhiser says:

    Let us know if you have any questions!