Drink of the Week: CBC Steak & Lobster House’s Smoked Sazerac

In our Drink of the Week segment, we’ll showcase one unique type of beer, wine, cocktail — you name it — to try at one of the countless breweries, bars and restaurants from around the basin.

The Sazerac could be considered one of the founding fathers of the whiskey cocktail. It’s steps trace back to the 1800’s in New Orleans and having traveled there myself, there’s pretty much a Sazerac variation on every street corner. But, I will admit having a few Sazeracs in my days; the one being served inside the Crystal Bay Casino is probably one of my favorites.

CBC Steak & Lobster House’s Smoked Sazerac.
Rob Galloway / Tahoe Daily Tribune

Their version takes all the traditional elements that the Sazerac is known for, but adds subtle little twists along the way to just push it over the hump when it comes to flavor and drinkability. And even though this cocktail is not known for being shy when it comes to the spirit volume, this version somehow bites off that edge for an insane smoothness.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with the basics of simple syrup and locally made 72 Mile Distillery’s Desolation Rye Whiskey. Those go into the shaker followed by both Angostura and Peychaud’s bitters, which is the first wrinkle. Peychauds is typically the bitter of choice for this cocktail, giving you sweeter notes like cherry and orange, while Angostura brings in deeper and more savory flavors. Together they really compliment all of what’s going on in the whiskey.

One those get a shake with ice, a cocktail glass is prepped with a spritz (or two) of absinthe before the cocktail gets poured into the glass. The addition of absinthe, while not super present on the palette, brings in just a hint of that anise flavor to pull out all the earthy tones from the whiskey, but does so in a completely subtle way so as not to compromise either one’s flavor.

Then, along with lemon peel, the next wrinkle comes in with cherry wood getting fired over the top of the glass, which captures the smoke until you’re ready to drink. The smoke does not take over, only adding in streaks on the front end that quickly dissipate into the sweetness of the simple syrup and Peychaud’s.

If you’re a whiskey fan, I’d definitely recommend this silky slipper of a cocktail – it’s about as easy drinking as one gets.

The Steak & Lobster House Restaurant is located inside the Crystal Bay Casino at 14 State Highway 28 in Crystal Bay. For menu and more information visit them online at or reach them via phone at 775-833-6333.

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