Now that I've given AUTOVOX hepatitis with a Negroni and told you how to make a Manhattan out of smokey Mexican cactus juice, it's time again to put some hair on your chest with a manly cocktail. To be clear, drinking fine spirits or excellent beer alone is always manly and delicious, much like Richard Hammond, but this is a series on manly mixed drinks. So far, no recipe I've listed has featured a single non-booze ingredient (other than garnish, that is). This one has sugar in it, but it's probably even boozier. It was on one of the other Gawker sites a month or two ago but it bears repeating, and I offer delicious variations below the recipe.
New Orleans likes to claim that this is the first cocktail, which is almost certainly the same kind of utterly false mythmaking that makes New Orleans so simultaneously charming and insufferable. But it's a damned fine drink. The original was made with cognac, which is nice, but it's better with rye. In particular, ri1 and Templeton make a great Sazerac; but really, any rye will do.
This one takes a bit of pre-planning: you need a chilled glass rinsed with absinthe. The quickest way to achieve this and get to drinking it, I've found, is to grab a rocks glass (or small juice glass, I won't judge your glassware), pour a quarter-ounce of absinthe in a glass, roll it around so it coats the inside of the glass, then stick the glass in your freezer, preferably in the ice maker if your freezer has one. Discard the leftover absinthe, preferably into your mouth. While the glass gets cold, pour a large spoonful of simple syrup, or a medium spoonful of powdered sugar and a bit of lukewarm water, into a mixing glass. Add numerous dashes of Peychaud's bitters, which is bright red but not particularly bitter, as bitters go. Say, 5 healthy dashes. Stir the sugar and bitters together furiously. Then, pour a lot of your chosen rye on top (2-3 ounces will do nicely, but more works too), add ice, and stir for a minute. Now, your drink is mixed and your glass is cold. Pull out the glass and strain your drink into it. Add a twist of lemon or orange peel. Enjoy, but be careful because these are POTENT, depending on the absinthe you use.
As for variations, you can make a somewhat less spicy version—because it lacks rye's pepper note—with brandy, cognac (which is more or less just fancy brandy), or bourbon. You'll want a fairly sweet, rich bourbon if you go this route; Eagle Rare and Elijah Craig work well. However, I make my favorite variation with Boomsma "Oude" Genever, which is essentially barrel-aged gin that tastes almost like whiskey. It makes for a slightly lighter, more herbal and less fiery Sazerac.
Finally, if this is somehow not potent enough, and you have the means, you can take a page from Jim Meehan's PDT book and make it (the excellently-named "Staggerac") with a cask-strength bourbon like George T. Stagg or Blanton's Barrel Strength. This will net you a mixed drink that is simultaneously delicious and well over 100 proof, so proceed with caution. In fact, now that I think about it, I lied before about the gin version: this is my favorite Sazerac.