I love the tastes of licorice and absinthe, so when presented with the challenge of a classic in slushie form I went right to a Sazerac Slushie. The cooling effect of absinthe on the tongue makes this frozen adult beverage even more refreshing. A small sprig of mint for visual delight takes it all the way home.
One thing to know about freezing adult beverages: if you’re over 12% – 15% alcohol by volume it will never set up. Most of my favorite cocktails are spirit forward, meaning their ABV in cocktail form is anywhere from 20-30% if I use a moderately proofed base spirit. We’ve got to drop that ABV for freezing.
So, in order to get this to freeze up nicely and look like a cross between a granita and a slushie I added a good bit of lemonade. This works for two reasons: 1) this is more of a dessert than a true drink and 2) lemons are the traditional garnish for a Sazerac.
While some only express the lemon oils on the surface of the cocktail, others add the expressed peel to the cocktail. It’s a matter of personal preference, I think, but it let me add a flavor to the drink that would dilute it enough that it would freeze, but keep true to the spirit of a Sazerac.
Because chilling a cocktail and freezing it suppresses both sweetness and flavor, I increase the ratio of simple syrup, absinthe and bitters. Doing this lets the flavors of the absinthe and bitters remain constant while the temperature of the cocktail plummeted.
This might be my new favorite keep-on-hand cocktail to store in the freezer for hot afternoons when I need a little treat.
To garnish I lightly torched a lemon rose and added a flowering sprig of lemon verbena I had in the garden. Good timing, that. I also spritzed Peychaud’s bitters on the surface of the cocktail. This helped that pink color of the Sazerac get a boost, and it made sure those bitter flavors could help detract from the sweetness of the simple and the lemonade.
Sazerac Slushie – Classic NOLA on Ice
- 2 oz 100 proof rye
- 0.75 oz simple syrup
- 6 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
- 7 ounces lemonade
- 0.25-0.5 oz absinthe – 100 proof.
- Garnish: lemon rose or wheel and a small sprig of lemon verbena or mint plus spritz of Peychaud's bitters
- Combine ingredients in a small container and place in the freezer for at least 8 hours but preferably overnight. When serving, lightly flake it like you were serving a granita, mound it in a chilled cocktail glass and spray 3 to 4 spritzes of Peychaud’s bitters on top. Garnish with a lemon wheel or lemon peel rose and lemon verbena or mint. Serve with a small spoon.