Let’s talk Sazeracs – specifically this orange-chocolate Sazerac I put together for the Whisky Wars Cocktail contest using Sagamore Spirit Rye. I’m called it the Oleo Sazerac. My original cocktail for the first round of judging was the Chocolate Lavender Sour which was an amazing combination of lavender floral notes, sweet chocolate liqueur and the typical sour one gets from lemon.
I wanted to create a cocktail that made it easy for the Sagamore Spirit rye to shine. I’ll admit, I’m used to working with spirits at a higher proof than the Sagamore Rye, but I found a beautiful and delicious match with a twist on the Sazerac.
I originally wanted to use peaches with the rye in a cocktail, but each time I tried, the balance was off and didn’t leave me with enough of the whiskey taste to suit me. If I’m going to be drinking a whiskey cocktail, I prefer to taste the whiskey.
But that wasn’t meant to be. A better match that left Sagamore perceptible but let it blend lusciously with other flavors was the combination of orange and anise. The two together are fabulously fun, but I added just a bit of chocolate with the chocolate bitters – not one with warming flavors in it, but one that was dark and earthy – one that could stand up to the anise flavor.
Because I make a Sazerac that will put hair on your chest. I want to be able to taste the anise. And I want that licorice flavor to play nice with the other elements of the cocktail. Adding in the oleo saccharum with it’s orange syrup flavors balanced the licorice flavors and the tiny hint of chocolate we added.
In truth, this is mostly a love song between the anise and the whiskey, with the orange tempting both. The chocolate seems just a voyeur – something you have a hint off that distracts you every sip or two.
Sagamore, as a base spirit for a cocktail, excels at those flavors I find in rye. Rye’s not peppery to me, except in the finish, and what I long for with a rye is that full, coating mouthfeel that lets me know we’re not playing around – we’ve got the rye to prove it in the mashbill.
If you like Sazeracs you might like this combination of a Manhattan and Sazerac called Midnight on the Bayou. And if you like anise flavor, check out this Manhattan – the Exit Strategy.
- 2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
- 2 dashes dark chocolate bitters (don’t use one with a heat or smoke element)
- ¼ oz absinthe
- ½ oz oleo saccharum
- 2 oz Sagamore Spirit Rye
- Garnish: lemon verbena leaf and star anise
- Combine bitters, absinthe, oleo saccharum and rye in a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir until well combined. Serve neat or on the rocks with a lemon verbena leaf garnish and single star anise.