Sazerac Cocktail (Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye)

Sazerac Cocktail 20 out of 28.

I have challenged myself to post 28 Sazeracs in 28 days for the month of February.

I’ll try some different spirits, try some out at bars, and have some friends make them for me. Hopefully, if I can get my act together we’ll have some video.

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Sazerac Cocktail.
1 Lump of Sugar. (10ml Rich Simple Syrup)
1 Dash Angostura or Peychana Bitters. (a couple dashes Peychaud’s Bitters)
1 Glass Rye or Canadian Club Whisky. (2 oz Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye, H1889)

Stir well and strain into another glass that has been cooled and rinsed with Absinthe (Sirene Absinthe Verte) and squeeze lemon peel on top.

Found this rye whiskey at Star Liquor in Madison, Wisconsin a few years ago.  About 15 years ago, when Mrs. Flannestad and I lived in Madison, Star Liquor was our neighborhood store.  I lived near it for a good 8 years and probably was in at least once a week from 1985 through 1993.  They were always helpful, especially during my periods of enthusiasm for this or that wine or beer.

Funnily, the last time we were in, we were vacationing in Wisconsin.  We hadn’t probably been in to the store for a good 10 years.  When they saw us, they recognized us immediately and asked us how things were going, as if we’d never left.  We had to kind of explain slowly that we’d moved to California about 10 years before, believe it or not.  We went on to buy a bunch of beer and spirits.

Since then, the Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye has been sitting in the basement waiting for an occasion special enough to open it.

This is a big, sweet burly Rye, with a long, dry finish.  My guess is, if you were given it in a blind tasting with a mixed bunch of Bourbons and Ryes, you would put it in the group with the Bourbons.  Thus it doesn’t make a super fantastic Sazerac, at least in my mind.  In fact, mixing it with anything other than a touch of water is a bit of a waste of this great American Whiskey.  While I like mixing with them, there are very few Ryes I really consider sipping whiskeys, but this is definitely one of them.  If you see a bottle, do not hesitate to purchase.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

2 thoughts on “Sazerac Cocktail (Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye)

  1. Despite the fact it’s practically a wheated bourbon (I think it’s 51% rye) I love this stuff and agree it should only be taken neat. Of course it’s almost non-existent outside of a few bars to which it’s doled out each year. You a very luck man, Mr. E.!

  2. My bride brought home a bottle of this for my birthday last year, and we dragged out the enjoyment all summer long. I used it in a couple of my favorite whiskey cocktails, just because I could, and while the resulting Manhattan and Sazarac tasted… okay, I had that distracting “gilded lily” sensation that comes from overbuilding a drink. Yes, I’m with you and Michael, VanWinkle rye is a contemplative, after-dinner standalone, good for watching the moon rise. Or set.

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