How To Make an Apple Jack Sazerac for Fall

Bartender Hanuman Welch shows us how to celebrate the start of the season.

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  • All you need for an epic autumn is: Bonded Rye Whiskey, Laird’s Bonded “Apple Jack” Brandy, sugar cubes, Peychaud’s and Angostura Bitters, Absinthe, and a lemon twist.
  • Add 1 or 2 sugar cubes and 5 dashes of both bitters to a mixing glass. Variation: use 1/4 oz maple syrup in place of sugar cubes.
  • If you are using sugar cubes, allow the bitters to dissolve the cubes.
  • Add a of barspoon of absinthe to a chilled short rocks glass.
  • Swirl the absinthe in the glass, then discard.  If you like absinthe (we do!) you can leave it in the mixing glass instead of discarding.
  • Add 1 oz rye whiskey and 1 oz Laird's Apple Jack brandy to the mixing glass.
  • Add a copious amount of ice to the glass. Stir vigorously 50-80 times. If the ice is thick stir more, if it's prone to melting stir less.
  • Strain the beautiful amber-red liquid into the absinthe-rinsed glass.
  • Now for the finishing touch: Zest a lemon peel. Take the knife and cut toward you, slowly, through the peel. (This is called a twist.)
  • Rub the peel around the rim of the glass to provide a little extra citrus flavor. Either discard the peel or rest it on the side of the glass as a garnish.
  • Taadaa! Happy fall.

All photos by Liz Barclay (@liz_barclay)

Fall is quickly approaching. Do you have a cocktail game plan? Industry veteran and Complex bartender Hanuman Welch, who has put in time at Maison Premiere and Prime Meats, is here to save the day with a fabulous Apple Jack Sazerac recipe and tutorial.

The recipe for this sazerac variation comes from Damon Boelte, who bartends at Brooklyn’s Prime Meats. This fall drink is boozy and bitters-heavy, like any great Sazerac, but Boelte adds Laird’s “Apple Jack” Brandy which gives the cocktail a wonderful caramelly, spicy fall flavor. We suggest you use Rittenhouse Rye whiskey (a bartender favorite) for this recipe, which has notes of sweet orange, pepper, cinnammon, and wood.

So make a glass, a pitcher, a bucket, or fill up a bathtub with the autumnal concoction, go make yourself a first of the season pumpkin pie, and imbibe.

Click through the slideshow for a step-by-step visual of how to make the fabulous Apple Jack Sazerac. 

Apple Jack Sazerac


1 oz Bonded Rye Whiskey
1 oz Laird’s Bonded “Apple Jack” Brandy
1/4 oz Simple Syrup* OR 1-2 Sugar Cubes* (depending on size)
2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Barspoon Absinthe
Lemon twist

*Demerara Sugar Recommended


Add sugar and bitters to mixing glass. If you are using cubes allow bitters to dissolve the cubes.

Add 2 oz whiskey to mixing glass.

Add a copious amount of ice. More ice than liquid by two times.

Stir vigorously 50-80 times. If the ice is thick stir more, if prone to melting stir less.

Add barspoon absinthe to chilled short rocks glass, swirl, discard. If you like absinthe you can add it to mixing glass instead of discarding but it will alter the flavor.

Strain cocktail into rinsed glass.

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