Saturday, January 16, 2010

Seelbach Cocktail: A Serious Drink for a Serious Palate

The Seelbach Cocktail is likely unfamiliar to most people, which is a shame, since it's a great way to drink sparkling wine or champagne. It is also significantly different and more aggressive tasting than other champagne cocktails, such as the French 75.

The Seelbach was created at the stately Seelbach Hotel in Louisville, KY in 1917. Unfortunately, the recipe was misplaced during Prohibition, and was not uncovered until 1995, when a hotel manager came across the recipe.

The drink is unique for the generous use of bitters, both Angostura and Peychaud's, and as such, may not appeal to those who dislike some degree of bitterness.

While it will be unusual to see this cocktail on a list in San Francisco, most patient bartenders should be able to easily make one with a little guidance.

The Seelbach Cocktail:

1 oz bourbon (a 100 proof bourbon is a good choice)
1/2 oz Cointreau
7 dashes Angostura bitters
7 dashes Peychaud's bitters
5 oz of chilled brut sparkling wine or champagne (a higher quality sparkler will greatly enhance the drink)
Orange or lemon twist for garnish

Add all ingredients to champagne flute, stir gently, and garnish. For a sweeter drink, increase the Cointreau slightly.

For those that make it to KY, information about the hotel can be found here:

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