Like the martini, Manhattan, or old-fashioned, the sazerac is another pre-Prohibition cocktail, this one originating in New Orleans, that everyone claims as having the "original" recipe. As a true lover of the drink, I use a recipe at home that calls for stirring the drink 57 times, so as you might guess, I get a little judgey when others prepare a saz for me.[jump]
The ingredients are simple: rye whiskey, sugar, Peychaud bitters, lemon peel, a glass washed with Herbsaint--a liqueur introduced in 1850s, often used as an Absinthe substitute; the letters in the name Herbsaint can even be rearranged to spell absinthe, so it's thought to have been used as absinthe on the down-low back in the day.
At Red Stag, the sazerac has the balance that's key to making this drink properly: not too sweet, although just enough sugar is used to take away most of the rye's burn, with a lovely little nose of licorice with your sip, the touch of complex spice from the bitters, and that little bit of citrus brightness. And this cocktail is the most beautiful color, too, like those last rays at sunset.