Barrel-Aged Sazerac

A couple months ago I read an article in Food & Wine Magazine about barrel aged cocktails. It’s where you take your favorite cocktail, mix all the ingredients together in a barrel and let it age for a few weeks. What you get in the end is a richer version of your favorite cocktail mixed with the subtle flavors of vanilla and caramel.

The article intrigued me. But then I was lucky enough to actually taste a barrel-aged sazerac at Hudson House, one of my favorite local bars. Not only was the cocktail super smooth and rich, but the delicious vanilla flavor added a depth I’ve never tasted in any cocktail, let alone a sazerac. Once I tasted this awesome concoction, I knew I had to try and make it on my own. So I bought the barrel along with all the ingredients and I created my own barrel-aged sazerac. And it. Was. AWESOME! But then I had an even better idea: why not share the wealth?

Christmas is right around the corner; and while it’s too late to turn this into a Christmas gift, there is still time to whip it up for that other big holiday a week later. That holiday is New Year’s Eve. I know, I know, how can you possibly think about New Year’s Eve when you’re running around trying to find the perfect Lego minifigure or stacking toy? (Can you tell I have two little boys?) So, since you don’t want to show up to your friend’s New Year’s Eve party empty-handed, this is the perfect present. The good news is once you mix all the ingredients together in the barrel, you can go right back to making your Christmas list and checking it twice because you won’t have to think about the cocktail again until at least Boxing Day. Once the smoke, wrapping paper, and family of Christmas have all disappeared, you can fill and cork up your little bottle of deliciousness. That way, when New Year’s Eve comes around, you’ll be able to present your hostess with something other than the standard bottle of wine or champagne – a cute little bottle of Barrel-Aged Sazerac. A bottle that’s big enough for her to share or enjoy by herself after all the guests are gone… I know what my choice would be.

Barrel-Aged Sazerac


  • 28 oz. rye
  • 3 oz. absinthe
  • 3/4 oz. Peychaud’s bitters
  • 1.5 oz. simple syrup (or gomme syrup)


  1. If the barrel is new and dry, fill it with water and let stand until watertight, 24-48 hours.
  2. Once barrel is ready, fill with all the liquid ingredients, cork and let age.
  3. Sample the cocktail at least once a week until it’s taken on a full, but not oaky flavor, about 2-3 weeks.
  4. Pour the cocktail through a funnel into pretty glass bottles, cork and store indefinitely or give as gifts.