The Zazaracis cocktail number 80 on the Swank Cocktail Guide.
Zazarac cocktail history
The last cocktail on the Swank cocktail guide is the Zazarac. A bit of an obscure cocktail – both Google and the spell-checking editor I use, try to change Zazarac to “Sazerac,” a slightly different cocktail. The more famous Sazerac, the official cocktail of New Orleans, dates back to. the early 1800s. The first Sazerac versions were concocted with brandy; the later versions with whisky.
Sazerac vs. Zazarac cocktails
In 1900, the Sazerac Company applied for a trademark for the name Sazerac. Soon, the somewhat similar Zazarac cocktail began to appear.
Early 20th-century Sazerac recipes typically included whisky, Peychaud (bitters), absinthe, sugar syrup, and lemon. Zazarac recipes typically consisted of whisky, rum, anisette, absinthe, sugar syrup, bitters, orange bitters.
By 1909, Zazaracs had become popular enough in New Orleans to be grouped with gin fizzes and described as “far-famed New Orleans drinks.”
Harvey Richards claims the Zazarac cocktail was invented at the Zazarac Bar in New Orleans
Harvey Richards claimed the Zazarac cocktail was invented at the Zazarac Bar in New Orleans:
You can tell by the way he twists a strip of lemon peel; by the way he stands back to appraise his mixture; by the deft twirl of a glass as he lines it with absinthe for a Zacarac cocktail.
You can tell, too, by his philosophy. For instance, on the Zacarac cocktail, invented in the famous bar of that name in New Orleans where he worked in 1911:
“It’s the absinthe that gives it that flavor. It’s great for quieting the nerves-if you’re tired, or if you’ve been drinking and want to clear your head; but it’s not good for steady drinking,”
Harvey Richards stated he worked at the “Zazarac Bar” in New Orleans in 1911. No listings for Zazarac (bar, saloon, etc) were found in a search of New Orleans City Directories between 1908-1912 (no directory was available for 1909). However, the Sazerac House, a saloon located at 118 Royal, was found in all four directories for the period.
Is it possible that Harvey Richards actually worked at the Sazerac House and not the Zazarac Bar in New Orleans in 1911 but, given the trademark on the Sazerac name, Richards referred to both the drink and the bar as Zazarac?
1910 Zazarack Cocktail
In 1910, Jacob A. “Jack” Grohusko included the Zazarack Cocktail on page 84 of his book, Jack’s Manual.
In the 1930s, three of the major cocktail recipe books included the Zazarac:
- Harry McElhone, included the Zazarac in “Harry” of the New York Bar Paris (Late of Ciro’s), ABC of Mixing Cocktails in 1930 as cocktail number 339 on page 91. The Sazerac was not included.
- Hon. William T. Boothby included the Zazarac in “Cocktail Bill” Boothby’s World Drinks and How to Mix Them in 1934 on page 182. The Sazerac was also included on page 151.
- Harry Craddock included the Zazarac in his 1930 The Savoy Cocktail Book on page 181. The Sazerac was also included on page 143.
339 Zazarac Cocktail
1/6 Bacardi Rum, 1/6 Anisette (Marie Brisard), 1/6 Syrup of Gomme, 1/3 Canadian Club Whisky, 1 dash of Angostura, 1 dash of Orange, 3 dashes of Absinthe.
Shake well, and strain into small-sized tumbler and squeeze lemon peel on top.
Whisky 1/3 jigger
Anisette 1 spoon
Absinthe 3 dashes
Bacardi 1 spoon
Sugar Syrup 1 spoon
Bitters 2 drops
Orange Bitters 1 dash
Shake well with ice, strain into chilled cocktail glass and serve.
1/6 Bacardi Rum.
1/6 Gomme Syrup.
1/3 Canadian Club Whisky
1 Dash Angostura Bitters
1 Dash Orange Bitters.
3 Dashes Asbsinthe.
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. Squeeze lemon peel into cocktail glass.
Zazarac cocktail recipe
1/3 Rye, 1/6 Sugar syrup, 1/6 Anisette, 1/6 Light Rum, 1/6 Pernod, 1 dash Angostura and Orange Bitters. Shake with ice. Strain.
- Redemption Rye Whiskey
- Bacardi Light Rum
- Hiram Walker Anisette
- Angostura Bitters
- Angostura Orange Bitters
- Simple syrup
Zazarac cocktail review
Our ratings (1-5 🍸)
It would have been nice to end the Swank cocktails on a high note, but it was not meant to be. Strongly licorice flavored, this is an odd drink.