How to Choose Proper Glassware - Sazerac Cocktail

When it comes to glassware, it can far too often come down to simply using what you have on hand. In a pinch, there may not be anything wrong with that, but even when you are simply making a drink for yourself, you deserve to do things properly and serve it up right!

Wine drinkers have long known that different wines taste better in particularly shaped glassware (Thank You Riedel!) In much the same way choosing the right glass for your cocktail can make a big difference in the final results. With cocktails it isn’t so much the nuances of the flavor profile, but instead it is the functionality of the form, the visual presentation, size of the drink, comfort, and elegance as well. Drinks that need to be served with ice obviously need to be in a larger glass than those that don’t. Iced drinks should also be served in glasses with more vertical sides like a typical “Rocks” glass as opposed to an angle-sided “Martini” glass.

Many times, the cocktail glassware you might see for sale in various houseware stores, while well intentioned, only exacerbates the problem. Most of the “Martini” style glasses you will see for sale are designed to hold 7, 8, 9, or even more ounces. When you think about a true Martini, it is mostly booze, with a little water from the melting ice. A properly sized Martini will only be a little over 3 ounces of liquid once it is made. If you put this into a 9 ounce glass, it will look like an insignificant drink, which may lead you to pour WAY too much into the glass. Even a “sour style” drink like a Cosmopolitan, should only be around 4 ounces when it is properly made, which is still too small for such a large glass.

So even if you are simply preparing to make drinks for yourself at home, you should gather a small collection of glassware so you can treat every drink you make properly. For tonight, Lucullus dines with Lucullus!


Absinthe - one bar spoon or less to coat inside of glass

1 tsp. simple syrup

two dashes The Bitter Truth Creole Bitters

2 oz rye whiskey


Chill glass with a few ice cubes before making the cocktail. Discard ice once glass is properly chilled.

Mist or rinse glass with absinthe in order to thoroughly coat the interior of the glass.

Add simple syrup, bitters and whiskey to glass and stir to combine.

Garnish with lemon twist.


Paul L. 4 Nov 2014
3:24 pm

Hi Robert!

Love the episodes…always informative. I know the point of the episode was on proper glassware, but I was wondering why the cocktail was built in the glass. I have always seen it as being prepared in a mixing glass and stirred with ice then strained into the seasoned glass. Thanks!

Robert Hess 4 Nov 2014
3:32 pm


Glad you love the show! There are a couple of different ways to make a Sazerac, the method I am using here is one of them. Another would be to combine the syrup (or sugar + water + muddle), bitters, and whiskey in a small rocks glass with ice and stir, then strain into a second absinthe coated glass. Traditionally it would never be made in a regular mixing glass, although technically it would be no different.

Paul L. 4 Nov 2014
3:57 pm

Excellent. Thanks for the response, Robert.

blair frodelius 6 Nov 2014
3:42 pm

I do love a Sazerac!  Deadly, but luscious!  I’ve made them a myriad of ways, but I do like them well chilled.  I think this drink deserves some dilution, especially when using a high proof rye. 

Surpringly, this cocktail does work well with a VSOP or Xo cognac equally well, but tends to be a bit more subtle.  I tend to go for the Rittenhouse Bottled in Bond.


Blair Frodelius

Benj 7 Nov 2014
8:13 am

I’m with Blair on this and really curious: Why didn’t you stir to chill and dilute in this case?

Robert Hess 7 Nov 2014
9:58 am

This style (ie, not stirred with ice) is one that I just came to enjoy more. It turns the drink into more of a contemplative “sipper” and differentiates it from an Old Fashioned a little more.

In the video I should have prefaced the process to indicate that, but it’s just become my “normal” way to make a Sazerac and at the moment it didn’t occur to me that I was doing anything different.

onkelandy 16 Nov 2014
12:48 am

Thanks alot for this new series - it’s perfect! Keep new episodes coming, hehe.. the wrong glass can indeed ruin the drink somehow.

Tom Krehbiel 8 Dec 2015
2:17 pm

I hope it isn’t too late to post a question.  It’s about the spray bottle.  I tried that idea and it worked fine for misting the glass for the Sazerac.  But every time I opened up the liquor cabinet a cloud of anise scent came wafting out.  I figure I used a lousy spray bottle.

Can you recommend one that doesn’t stink up the place?

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