What’s in it: Rye whiskey, absinthe, simple syrup, Peychaud’s bitters, and a lemon twist.
Where it comes from: If you’ve been on a tour of New Orleans, some lively guide likely told you that the Sazerac was the first American cocktail. (According to drinks historian David Wondrich, they’re not exactly right.) The folklore is that Peychaud’s bitters, a key Sazerac ingredient, was invented by a New Orleans apothecary, then added to some Cognac to make the first Sazerac cocktail in 1838. The recipe was altered in 1870 to feature whiskey instead, thanks to a Cognac shortage, and it’s been New Orleans’ pride and joy ever since.
How you know it's legit: Today, you can drink a Sazerac with whiskey or cognac, says Dorman. (For the record, she prefers her cocktail as a half and half of both). She also points out that the Sazerac should be served in a cold glass, not over ice, which can confuse some bartenders -- and don’t forget a twist of fresh lemon, which gives the drink that crucial citrus kick.