Brain Duster

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Cocktail History

The Brain Duster is a classic cocktail that was created by George J. Kappeler in 1895 at the bar of New York City’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel. It’s traditionally made with an equal-parts combination of rye whiskey, absinthe, and sweet vermouth, a dash of bitters, and citrus. It’s also said to have been named for its potency.

Cocktail Ingredients

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Rye: This is one of the base spirits. We chose Sazerac Rye 18-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey because it’s a nice, spicy rye with notes of vanilla, pepper, and herbs.

Absinthe: This is the other base spirit. It adds its distinct licorice aroma. We used Amerique 1912 Absinthe Verte made by Great Lakes Distillery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin because it’s made locally to us.

Sweet Vermouth: This is a fortified wine that adds sweetness. We used Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth because it’s Alex’s favorite sweet vermouth, with dark notes of herbs, figs, licorice, cinnamon, and cocoa.

Angostura Aromatic Bitters: This is a type of spirit infused with botanicals. They add more spice and complexity to the drink and tie the other flavors together.

Lemon Twist: This is the garnish. It adds more fresh lemon aroma and flavor.

Tasting Notes

Our Opinion of This Cocktail Recipe: Since this drink originally an ounce of absinthe, we thought the ingredient overpowered all of the others a bit much, so we’d recommend using less if you’re not a regular consumer of this lethal spirit. Other than that, this potent cocktail tastes similar to a Manhattan with just a little something extra added from the absinthe.

Recipe

This cocktail recipe was adapted from The Art of Vintage Cocktails by Stephanie Rosenbaum.

AuthorThe Art of Vintage CocktailsPrep Time5 minsRating

Ingredients
 1 oz Rye
 1 oz Absinthe
 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
 1 dash Angostura Aromatic Bitters
 1 Lemon Twist

Method
1

Add rye, absinthe, vermouth, Angostura aromatic bitters, and ice to a mixing glass.

2

Stir for 30-45 seconds.

3

Strain into a cocktail glass.

4

Garnish with lemon twist.

Ingredients

Ingredients
 1 oz Rye
 1 oz Absinthe
 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
 1 dash Angostura Aromatic Bitters
 1 Lemon Twist

Directions

Method
1

Add rye, absinthe, vermouth, Angostura aromatic bitters, and ice to a mixing glass.

2

Stir for 30-45 seconds.

3

Strain into a cocktail glass.

4

Garnish with lemon twist.

Brain Duster

Tools & Glassware We Recommend

More Absinthe Cocktails

If you like this absinthe-based cocktail recipe, here are a few others we’ve tried that you may enjoy:

 Tuxedo No. 2: A gin cocktail made with dry vermouth, cherry liqueur, absinthe, orange bitters, and a lemon twist

 Sazerac: A rye cocktail made with simple syrup, Peychaud’s Creole bitters, absinthe, and a lemon twist

 Remember The Maine: A rye cocktail made with sweet vermouth, cherry liqueur, absinthe, and a cherry

 De La Louisiane: A rye cocktail made with Bénédictine, sweet vermouth, absinthe, Peychaud’s Creole bitters, and a cherry

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