$$ — 45% ABV — 6 Years
Down in the city of New Orleans, the name Sazerac goes way, way back in history. Antoine Peychaud, inventor of the eponymous bitters, made a cocktail for visitors to his Creole apothecary. It became so popular that local barman and spirits importer Swell Taylor renamed his bar after his Congac of choice: Sazerac de Forge.
The Sazerac Coffee House as it was now called was bought by Thomas H. Handy in 1869, and Peychaud's bitters recipe in 1873. Handy kept the lights on at the Royal Street bar, but his company was more interested in buying up distillers and their bottled Sazerac cocktail, made with domestic rye instead of imported brandy, fell out of favor with a now Bourbon-loving America.
In 1992, the company purchased Buffalo Trace and in 2005, after 116 years, Sazerac Rye was reintroduced — distilled and aged at the Trace. True to the grain, it's a very spicy spirit and with big notes of clove and orange and vanilla. Because of the seasonal release of Sazerac 18, this bottle is sometimes referred to as Baby Saz.
As history tells, Sazerac is very obviously formulated for cocktails. Its small whiff of anise flavor takes to orange and cherry cordials extremely well and has become a spirit of choice for not just its namesake drink but Manhattans as well as the old but worthwhile Prince of Wales cocktail. Cheers to unearthing history!