Sazerac Cocktail (Bols Genever)

Sazerac Cocktail 8 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.


Sazerac Cocktail.
1 Lump of Sugar. (Generous Bar Spoon Rich Simple Syrup)
1 Dash Angostura or Peychana Bitters. (a couple dashes Peychaud’s Bitters)
1 Glass Rye or Canadian Club Whisky. (2 oz Bols Genever Gin)

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

One question I have is how far can you stretch the method or ingredients for making a Sazerac, and still have something that tastes like one. This is especially pertinent when you consider the Sazerac Cocktail was originally made with Cognac, not Rye Whiskey at all.

A drink which David Wondrich has popularized in his books “Imbibe” and “Killer Cocktails” is the “Improved Holland Gin Cock-Tail”. It is composed of 2 oz of Genever, a dash of Maraschino, Aromatic Bitters, a dash of Absinthe and simple syrup. It is stirred and strained into a cocktail glass. Usually garnished with a lemon twist.

Sound a bit familiar? The addition of the Maraschino and type of bitters are about all that separate an “Improved Holland Gin Cock-tail” from a Sazerac.  Thus, it really wasn’t much of a stretch to imagine Genever in a Sazerac.

What happens when you give Bols Genever the Sazerac treatment?

Why, in fact, it is quite delicious! Instead of the sharpness of Rye, you get a mellow maltiness from the Genever. Also, the less impactful Genever allows the adjunct ingredients to come to the fore. The aromatic herbs of the Absinthe and the Peychaud’s are what shine in this version of a Sazerac Cocktail.

But is it a Sazerac?  While it would be amusing to put this in front of someone asking for a Sazerac, no.  On the other hand, it seems a lot closer to the spirit of that drink than one made with many of the richer Bourbons.

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.

9 thoughts on “Sazerac Cocktail (Bols Genever)

  1. Great idea. You ever make a sazerac, with one dash of each peychauds and angostura? Are you using demerara sugar syrup or regular white cane sugar for all of these?

  2. Erik, this is a brilliant idea. I’ve had a bottle of Boomsma Oude on the shelf for a very long time, and I have been quite stumped about what to do with it. Until now, genever hasn’t gone beyond the oddity stage for me, but as you suggest with the Bols, it makes an absolutely delightful cocktail when given the Sazerac treatment. Thanks for the inspiration.

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  4. I work at a restaurant that specializes in house-smoked ingredients, and I do a “smoQ’d Sazerac” (clearly, we’re named smoQ) using house-smoked honey in place of the sugar/simple syrup (and I use Sazerac Rye in ours). It’s pretty delicious.

    • Neat! Welcome to the blog!

      I keep meaning to experiment with Lapsang Souchong (Chinese Smoked Tea) syrups, but haven’t gotten around to it yet.

      I did once make a pretty fantastic smoked balsamic reduction, but it was for a dessert, not drinks.

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