The Sazerac is an old cocktail, enjoyed for nearly two centuries now. Although deservedly venerable, it can be a bit of a heavy drink, with that mix of bitters, sugar, and whiskey brightened only with a little Herbsaint or, in some recipes, an absinthe rinse. For fans of the Sazerac looking to enjoy a more summer-friendly tipple I give you the Carthusian Sazerac. Created at the Spice Kitchen and Bar in Cleveland, this variation is a crisp, sunnier spin on the timeless cocktail with its addition of Green Chartreuse and lemon bitters.
As always, ingredients matter. Especially in this one. This cocktail is almost entirely rye whiskey, so choose wisely. A rich, woody, or overly spicy rye may be too much of a contrast to the Chartreuse and citrus notes, so I recommend something heavier on the baking spice and/or fruit notes. Old Forester Rye packs the perfect amount of heat and a balanced profile that compliments the herbal Chartreuse. There’s even a slight lemon note in the whiskey to enhance the bitters component.
2 ½ oz. rye whiskey
¼ oz. Green Chartreuse
½ tsp. simple syrup
Absinthe rinse (feel free to substitute Pernod)
2 dashes lemon bitters
Add a drop or two of absinthe into a chilled coupe glass and swirl to coat. Pour out the remaining absinthe. Stir rye, Chartreuse, and simple syrup over ice in a mixing glass and strain into the coupe. Top with bitters and garnish with a twist of lemon.