Cocktails 101: Pisco Sazerac

Pisco Sazerac

Pisco Sazerac

The Sazerac cocktail is history in a glass. It’s the official cocktail of New Orleans, and the height of its popularity in 1850 coincides with the Gold Rush in California and the arrival of Pisco in San Francisco. After enjoying a Sazerac in New Orleans during the International Food Bloggers Conference, I was truly inspired by its flavor and history.

My recipe here has ingredients found in many Pisco cocktails, including Pisco, simple syrup, and bitters. But what makes this simple syrup special, is that it’s infused with anise seeds for a hint of the Herbsaint found in the Sazerac cocktail. I also used less sugar than usual.

After several sessions making and tasting this Pisco cocktail, I was very happy with the result — a strong, flavorful, and aromatic cocktail that pays homage to the oldest known American cocktail and one of my favorite cities in the world, New Orleans. Presenting, the Pisco Sazerac.

  • 3 oz. Pisco
  • 2 oz. anise simple syrup
  • 4 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
  • a thick lemon peel for garnish

Combine 3 oz. Pisco with 2 oz. anise simple syrup in a cocktail glass. Add 4 generous dashes of Peychaud’s bitters. Twist the lemon peel over the glass to release some of the citrus, and use the peel to stir the drink. Leave the lemon peel in the drink as garnish.


1 serving.


To make the anise simple syrup, combine 8 oz. water, 4 oz. sugar, and 4 teaspoons anise seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat, stir and bring to a slow boil until the sugar is dissolved. Strain into a small container and let cool. This should yield enough anise simple syrup for 4 servings. Note that in other recipes, the simple syrup is made using equal parts water and sugar, but this recipe uses 2 parts water to 1 part sugar.