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The Sazerac is the quintessential New Orleans cocktail. In fact, it is the official cocktail of the state of Louisiana. If you order one today it will be made with Rye Whiskey. But originally the drink was made with Cognac. In the late 1800's the vineyards of France were devasted by Phyloxera. With no grapes to produce Brandy, the existing bottles became both very rare and very expensive. Like water off a duck's back, those in NOLA were unphased. They just grabbed the widely available Rye Whiskey and continued enjoying. As popularity continued to rise, Cognac couldn't catch back up once it became available again.
Both versions are delicious but when Cognac is used, a beautiful fruit driven core is unlocked and the complexity of the bitters plays off a floral and almost pretty background. Plus it's like traveling back in time and enjoying what once was!
2 oz Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
4-5 dashes Peychaud's Bitters
Chill a rocks or Old Fashioned glass prior to build. Rinse the inside of the glass or spray with Absinthe. In a mixing glass, combine all other ingredients and stir to chill. Strain in prepped glass and garnish with Lemon Peel.