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Off the Menu: Sazerac at The Roosevelt, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel

Embark on a historical journey with the Sazerac cocktail, expertly made by Brandon Howard, lead bartender at The Roosevelt. | By Alison Cavatore | December 29, 2022

Travelers with an appreciation for the past and a thirst for legendary libations will find their holy grail in New Orleans. In a city that exudes rich culture, soulful cuisine and Southern hospitality, you’re bound to come across an establishment that, in its very essence, chronicles the past and celebrates “les bons temps” (French for “the good times”).

One such place is The Roosevelt, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Located one block from the city’s famed French Quarter, the hotel is home to The Sazerac Bar, which previously was a speakeasy during Prohibition. The bar also used to be a favorite watering hole of one-time Louisiana governor Huey P. Long, who held a residence on the hotel’s 12th floor.

Allow the historical significance to wash over you as you enter the elegant surroundings of this restored New Orleans landmark, take a seat at the African walnut bar and order … what else … a Sazerac. It is, after all, the official cocktail of the Big Easy.

Celebrated as the world’s first mixed cocktail, the Sazerac was created in 1838 in New Orleans by Creole apothecary Antoine Peychaud. Today, The Sazerac Bar’s lead bartender, Brandon Howard, knows everything there is to know about crafting this beloved whiskey cocktail.

Says Howard, “Best enjoyed by itself – with no food – the Sazerac is a slightly sweet, spirit-forward cocktail with notes of spice from the rye whiskey on the palate and anise or licorice on the nose.”

If you want to make this classic cocktail yourself, there’s no better teacher than Howard, who has made well over 1000 Sazeracs since joining The Roosevelt a year and a half ago.

His number one tip for someone wanting to prepare this drink at home? “Using an atomizer to spritz Herbsaint on the glass gives you a more aromatic cocktail.”

So, grab your cocktail mixer and get ready to experience the subtly sweet and spicy embodiment of New Orleans’ past and present. Cheers!


Preparation time: 5 minutes

Makes one drink


- 2 ounces Sazerac Rye whiskey

- 1/4 ounce simple syrup  

- 6 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters

- Lemon peel garnish

- Ice cubes

- Spritz of Herbsaint


In a mixing glass, combine Sazerac rye whiskey, simple syrup and Peychaud’s Bitters.

Add ice and stir for 2 to 3 seconds to dilute. Set aside to chill.

Grab a Sazerac or Old Fashioned glass and spray with a few spritzes of Herbsaint.

Using a cocktail strainer, pour your chilled drink into the glass.

Peel a lemon rind and gently rub it around the glass’ rim. Twist the rind and hang on the glass for garnish.

(Recipe from The Sazerac Bar at The Roosevelt New Orleans, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel lead bartender, Brandon Howard, 2022.)

Alison Cavatore is the assistant editor for the content marketing team at Hilton. She has written and copyedited for numerous print and digital publications in the U.S. and abroad. Born in Pittsburgh, PA, Alison has lived in Miami, Scottsdale, Holland, France, Switzerland and Canada. She currently resides in the Washington, D.C. area.

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