Even if you’re not in New Orleans for Mardi Gras, you can still squeeze in some drinking and debauchery with a Sazerac, the quintessential — and official — cocktail of The Big Easy.

This recipe was adapted from John Besh’s first cookbook, My New Orleans, and uses rye whiskey, simple syrup, Peychaud’s bitters and Herbsaint, the anise-flavored liqueur that originated in NOLA.

It’s a little sweet, a little spicy, a little herbal, and all kinds of delicious.

Twist of lemon peel
2 ounces rye whiskey
½ ounce simple syrup
4 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters

Glassware: Rocks glass or stemless cocktail glass.

Method: Swirl a little Herbsaint around in the glass until the inside is coated. Twist the lemon peel to releases oils, then drop it into the glass. Add the rye, simple syrup, and bitters to a cocktail shaker, top it off with ice, and shake vigorously. Strain the sazerac into the prepared glass.

To make simple syrup: combine equal parts sugar and water on the stove until it reaches a boil. Stir well, then from the heat and allow to cool before using. You can make a big batch of this stuff and it will keep for a really long time in a jar in the fridge.

Recipe adapted from My New Orleans: The Cookbook by John Besh (Andrews McMeel, 2009)