Pax Sax Sarax

Burns Night is rapidly approaching (January 25th) and since we don’t really go into the food aspect of bars here on, there won’t be any recipes for haggis. What we will discuss however, are scotch based libations, focusing on a recent creation of mine.

Continuing with our heavily-bittered, magic-worded cocktails of late, I present for you our first concoction, the Pax Sax Sarax. Like the Zim Zala Bim and the Alabazam before it, this is yet another fantastically complex cocktail that uses a boat-load of bitters to good effect.

According to The Complete Book of Spells, Ceremonies and Magic, the magic phrase Pax Sax Sarax was found in an Elizabethan manuscript in the British Museum, and was purportedly used to prolong orgasm. It was also used to “prevent a person from firing a gun while you are looking into the barrel” according to Albertus Magnus, Being the Approved, Verified, Sympathetic and Natural Egyptian Secrets or White and Black Art for Man and Beast, so as you can see, this is a potent concoction indeed!

Call up Penn and Teller so you can dazzle them with the magic behind the:


2 oz Glenmorangie single malt
1/4 oz Peychaud’s bitters
1/4 oz Cherry Heering
stir all ingredients with ice
rinse cocktail glass with absinthe
strain into a cocktail glass
garnish with 3 brandied cherries

UPDATE: It became apparent today, as I served this libation to guests at my bar, that it is imperative that one not only garnishes this cocktail with the cherries, but that the guest knows that this is part of the experience. The cherries make this cocktail. Ensure that you don’t eat them all at the beginning or at the end, but rather space them out throughout the drinking experience.

While these latest concoctions may have a ton of bitters in them, I want to point out that these aren’t extremely bitter drinks. The bitters that I have used aren’t overly bitter by themselves, especially in the case of Peychaud’s which has a pleasant, sweet anise-y finish. One should also keep in mind that I am balancing the bitters with an equal portion of liqueur in both the Zim Zala Bim and the Pax Sax Sarax. The reason why this drink was pretty much a no-brainer for me (the proportions were bang on in its very first incarnation) is as simple as this: licorice and cherry are natural flavour pairings for scotch. The key for this drink was to pick a scotch that was neither too peaty or barrel influenced. Glenmorangie seemed like the obvious, readily available option for this drink, and sure enough it didn’t disappoint.

This is a drink for scotch drinkers, and despite the outrageous quantity of Peychaud’s bitters present, the scotch still makes its authority known. The bitters, cherry and absinthe flavours all work with the scotch, instead of against, and while I wouldn’t suggest this drink to a scotch neophyte, I would probably put it in my top three drinks to give an experienced scotch palate, along with the:


1 ½ oz Famous Grouse
¾ oz sweet vermouth
1/8 oz Benedictine
dash of Peychaud’s bitters
stir all with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
your choice of lemon twist or cherry garnish (both work well)

and the


2 oz Famous Grouse
½ oz ginger liqueur
½ oz amaro Nonino
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
garnish with lemon twist.


Pax Sax Sarax

Pax Sax Sarax

Picture and drinks by:
Jamie Boudreau
Cocktail Whisperer



~ by Jamie Boudreau on January 12, 2009.

14 Responses to “Pax Sax Sarax”

  1. Mmm. Looks like LVMH and Edrington are about to move some more product, at least in my ’hood! I need to replenish my stocks, anyway, and I can foresee tippling two or three of these in about… eight hours or so. Suddenly I feel all motivated!

  2. Lovely, lovely magic! Burns is my maiden name, so I’m all about celebrating this important holiday. 😉

  3. sounds exceptional. thank you.

  4. God Jamie, you make it sound so simple. Love it.

  5. It took me a while to realise but what you are actually doing is taking non potable bitters and turning them into complex potable variations! You are opening up an oppurntunity for us to recreate drinks according to classic tried and tested by replacing the Campari, Amaro, Fernets and whatnots to create new libations. Wow! Jamie you are a master.

  6. I just stumbled upon your blog and I am so incredibly impressed! I hope that I can become good enough at this craft to be as creative and thoughtful as you are with your amazing concoctions! Best to you Jamie!!!

  7. […] Pax Sax Sarax: Why you’d think of skipping Burns supper (or, if avoiding like I the haggis, skipping a Burns night cocktail), or skip getting poetic with this scotch-y bitters-y magical affair is beyond me–so why? Instead, fly your broom over to SpiritsandCocktails and bring out the inner witch or warlock or sorcerer or thaumaturge or (gasp) poet while sipping a strengthening concoction (and enjoying every minute of it). Share and Enjoy: […]

  8. I really like the Pax Sax Sarax. Definitely my kind of aperitif cocktail! And I have most of an bottle of Glenmorangie set aside for making more!

  9. I love Rob Roys up. I think this is one I would like. Sure wish I could find those cocktail glasses. Thanks for the recipe. Nice blog!

  10. […] think he actually suggests making it with Scotch, which is a shame because, as Jamie Boudreau points out, Scotch, cherry, and Peychaud’s (read: anise) are made for each other.  It also plays into […]

  11. […] had first discovered this twist on a Rob Roy (or perhaps a Bobby Burns) many moons ago in David Wondrich’s wonderful tome, Esquire Drinks. The Borden Chase is named […]

  12. i want a friend to take me in bar to learned because im a bartender im looking for a job in other country like america californi1 im jhon thanks ihope any one to rply!!!

  13. if there’s a good guy or women to be my friend here’s my contact number 09304561388

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