Sazerac rye is named after the Old Sazerac Coffee House which was founded in New Orleans in the 1850s.
The venue was famous for its 'Sazerac' cocktail, believed by many to be the first cocktail invented in America. Ironically, the original Sazerac (after which both coffee house and cocktail were named) was actually a cognac, Sazerac du Forges et Fils, imported by the bar's owner Sewell Taylor andthe main ingredient of the cocktail, along with Peychaud's bitters.The cognac was replaced with rye in the late 1800s as tastes changed and the phylloxera epidemic in France devastated the cognac industry. Crucially, the drink is served in a glass washed with absinthe, which was itself replaced by Pernod or Herbsaint in America after absinthe was banned.
The Sazerac Company eventually bought Buffalo Trace, the distillery which had supplied the original rye to the coffee house. Buffalo Trace introduced Sazerac 18yo Rye as part of their Antique Collection of premium American whiskies in 2000, and immediately started winning awards, including World Whisky of the year from Malt Advocate magazine in 2001, back-to-back Double Gold medals from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and World Whisky of the year 2010 in Jim Murray's Whisky Bible. A no-age-statement Sazerac in a beautiful old-style bottle was introduced in 2005.