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New Orleans is a city of celebration. And when New Orleans celebrates, it often celebrates with a drink in hand. Sure, you’ll find daquiris, cold beers and every kind of cocktail down here. But the Sazerac Cocktail is the drink you’ll find most intimately associated with New Orleans.

How does a city become so closely tied to a single cocktail? It’s a combination of history, individual creativity, citywide passion and a whole lot of people ordering a whole lot of cocktails.

From France to the French Quarter

Along with plenty of other things, we have the French to thank for the origin of the Sazerac Cocktail. It all began when a French-owned family company began sending their world-renowned cognac to bars (formerly known as coffee houses) in New Orleans. It so happened that this particular cognac was a favorite of Antoine Peychaud, inventor of his namesake’s bitters, and was used to create the original Sazerac Cocktail.
By the 1850s, the first Sazerac House opened and served what many consider to be the first Sazerac Cocktail. Soon enough, locals and travelers alike were flocking to the Sazerac House to get their hands on this unique blend of Old World liquor and New World flavor. Nothing could stop the Sazerac from becoming the city’s favorite drink — not even a change to the cognac that was originally used in the first Sazerac.

Changing with the City

While the spirit of the Sazerac Cocktail remains the same today, the actual spirit that goes into this legendary libation has changed over the years. Arguably the biggest change occurred when the supply of original cognac was cut off from Europe. Luckily, Rye Whiskey made for a quick (and long-lasting) substitute.
The other change from the original ingredient: absinthe. The earliest concoctions of the cocktail often used absinthe, but after it was banned by the United States in 1912, Herbsaint became the mix of choice. And it’s exactly what you’ll find in the Sazerac Cocktail around New Orleans today.

So, while both the cocktail and the city have changed in some ways throughout the decades, some things have never changed: the love for the Sazerac.

Officially the Official Drink of New Orleans

After 150+ years and who knows how many Sazerac Cocktails later, it was time to make it official. In 2008, the state of Louisiana passed legislation that made the Sazerac Cocktail the official cocktail of New Orleans.

It’s a fitting tribute to the drink that arguably started the cocktail movement throughout the United States. It also serves as a nice reminder that traditions can last through generations, through changes and through it all. We’ll drink to that.


Strike Down Social
Signature Events

Strike Down Social

Monday, December 5, 2022
5:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Historical celebration of Repeal Day with a Prohibition-era cocktail tasting.

Sips and Slices

Sips & Slices: Cocktail and Pie Pairing with Windowsill Pies

Tuesday, December 6, 2022
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Pie and cocktail pairing hosted by Sazerac House cocktail experts and Windowsill Pies.

Barrel to Bottle

Barrel to Bottle

Friday, December 9, 2022
5:00 pm - 5:45 pm

Bottle your own Sazerac Rye hosted by Sazerac House Distillery Team.

Creole Holiday Tradition
Signature Events

Drink & Learn: Creole Holiday Traditions

Tuesday, December 13, 2022
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

New Orleans History Discussion and Cocktail Demo Hosted by Drinks Historian Elizabeth Pearce.

Sip and Shop
Signature Events

Sip & Shop

Tuesday, December 13, 2022
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Join us for our annual Sip & Shop event: a night of music, complimentary gift wrapping, cocktails and light bites. Our Sazerac House experts and local New Orleans vendors will be on hand to help you find the perfect gifts for everyone on your list!

Cocoa Rum

Cocoa & Cocktails: Holiday Gatherings

Thursday, December 15, 2022
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Holiday inspired chocolate and cocktail pairing hosted by Sazerac House cocktail experts and Piety & Desire Chocolates.

Cheers Headdress

Crafting & Cocktails: Cheers Headdress

Tuesday, December 20, 2022
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Join us for a spirited afternoon of crafting and cocktails! Follow along during a headdress making workshop as you sip on seasonal cocktails and prepare to ring in the new year. Add flair to your holiday outfits and discover creative techniques under the instruction of a local New Orleans artist. Session includes all materials, however guests are invited to bring items from home that they would like to incorporate into their design. Cocktails and snacks will be served. Hosted by The Sazerac House and Elizabeth Zibilich. $50 per person.

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