The Sazerac is one of the oldest known cocktails.
To make a Sazerac, coat the inside of an Old Fashioned glass with a teaspoon or so of Herbsaint, Pernod or some similar pastis; swirl around until the inside is coated and discard the excess. To a mixing glass 2/3 filled with cracked ice add one teaspoon of simple syrup, 3-4 dashes of Peychaud's bitters (Angostura bitters is not an acceptable substitute, although some people will add a dash of Angostura to the Peychaud's) and 2 to 2.5 ounces of rye whiskey; stir for thirty seconds. Strain into the pastis-coated glass. Garnish with lemon peel, making sure to twist it to express a coating of lemon oil onto the surface of the drink.
Simple syrup is preferred for convenience, and to avoid any undissolved sugar in your drink. If you're a traditionalist, before adding the ice to the mixing glass add a sugar cube and about a tablespoon of water, then the bitters, then muddle until the sugar is dissolved as much as possible. Then add ice and spirits; stir, strain and serve.
The original Sazerac cocktail was made with French brandy rather than whiskey, and was named after a specific brand of Cognac, Sazerac-du-Forge et fils. If rye whiskey is unavailable, Cognac makes a lovely Sazerac. Bourbon is not recommended, as it changes the character of the drink. If you do not have Peychaud's bitters, you cannot make this drink. If it is not available from your local spirits purveyor, you may mail-order it from the Sazerac Company, http://www.sazerac.com/bitters.html Instead of pastis, the original Sazerac was also made with absinthe, which is unfortunately unavailable in the United States of America. The Sazerac cocktail is named after the Sazerac Coffee House in New Orleans, Louisiana, where the drink was first made in the 1850s.