If you’re like me and not the biggest fan of champagne [or sparkling wine for those of us on a budget] then the Seelbach cocktail is a way for you to at least add something a bit more palatable to the mix. We got the recipe for the Seelbach out of the Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails book by Ted Haigh, the cocktail itself however was named for the Seelbach Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, where it first appeared in 1917. Here’s the recipe:
- 1 oz Bourbon [Knob Creek]
- 1/2 oz Cointreau or Triple Sec
- 7 Dashes of Angostura Bitters
- 7 Dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters
- 5 oz Champagne
Pour the bourbon, Cointreau, and bitters into the champagne flute and stir. Top with the champagne and stir again, garnish with an orange twist if you desire.
The sweetness of the orange liqueur helps cut the bitterness of the champagne and bitters themselves, while the added spice from the bourbon helps round out the drink and adds a healthy kick. If bitters aren’t your thing you can back down on them a bit. I would far rather toast with this drink in hand to bring in the new year than just champagne alone.
The Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails is a treasure trove of not only great recipes, but chock full to the brim of tons of anecdotes, history, and fascinating insights into the cocktails of old and how many modern mixes evolved from them. I highly recommend picking it up.