Conference

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Cocktail History

The Conference is a split-base cocktail that was created by Brian Miller at Death & Company in New York City. It uses the classic Old Fashioned template of a spirit, simple syrup, bitters, and citrus but calls for four different spirits as its base—rye, bourbon, apple brandy, and Cognac. It’s also named for the concept used in the drink of different elements coming together.

Cocktail Ingredients

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

Rye: This is one of the base spirits. It’s a type of whiskey made from at least 51% rye grain. We used Heaven Hill Distillery Rittenhouse Rye because it has a rich and clean taste with notes of nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, cocoa, and citrus. For a mocktail version of this drink, try The Gospel Responsible Rye Non-Alcoholic Whiskey in place of the whiskey.

Bourbon: This is another base spirit. We went with Elijah Craig Bourbon for its deep, spiced whiskey flavor. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic American Malt in place of the bourbon.

Apple Brandy: This is the third base spirit. It adds a hint of brandy spice and fruitiness. We used Calvados because it’s one of the highest quality apple brandies on the market and features notes of not only apple but also pear, apricot, and baking spices. For a mocktail version of this drink, try apple cider or unsweetened apple juice in place of the apple brandy.

Cognac: This is the fourth base spirit. It’s a type of brandy made from distilled white wine in Cognac, France. We used Courvoisier VSOP Cognac because it has a rich mouthfeel and a delightful brandy spice with notes of peach, almond, and cinnamon. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Escape Mocktails Non-Alcoholic Cognac Alternative in place of the brandy.

Demerara Syrup: This is a sweetener made with Demerara sugar and water. We made ours at home using Alex’s stovetop recipe.

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. For a mocktail version of this drink, try All The Bitter Alcohol-Free Aromatic Bitters in place of the bitters.

Chocolate Bitters: This is a type of spirit infused with cocoa and botanicals. They add chocolate flavor and spice to the drink for more complexity. We used Angostura Cocoa Bitters for their deep chocolate and caramel notes.

Orange Twist: This is ones of the garnishes. It adds fresh orange aroma and flavor.

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

Tasting Notes

The Conference begins with aromas of sweet citrus, apple, and wood-aged spirits and has a taste that predominantly leads with a dark-sugar sweetness followed by the unique combination of the four spirits, with bourbon sweetness on the forefront and punctuated by a bit of rye spice, brandy burn, and a hint of apple on the finish.

Our Opinion of This Cocktail Recipe: Kendall had originally seen this described as tiki due to the split base, so she wasn’t expecting a spirituous Old Fashioned and found it a bit strong for her palate; Alex, however, really enjoyed the drink for its creativity and the way all of its ingredients contributed to one overarching flavor profile.

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Find out if your palate is most similar to Alex’s or Kendall’s by answering five questions.

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Which of our palates is yours most like?
Find out if your palate is most similar to Alex’s or Kendall’s by answering five questions.

Take Our Quiz →

Alex’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
“I already enjoy a classic Old Fashioned so I was excited to try this well-known brainchild of Death & Company’s founders. In my opinion, the taste can come across as a bit of a convoluted mess to the uninitiated, but if you really slow down, you can pick apart the flavors of all four spirits. And when you drink it with that level of contemplation, it’s a very enjoyable experience.”

Kendall’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐
“Alex added the Conference to our calendar months ago, but it kept getting bumped for seasonal recipes. When I researched it to figure out what I wanted its photo to look like, I saw several descriptions calling it a ‘tiki drink in disguise.’ Outside of the split base that uses four ingredients, I didn’t really get that vibe and expected to because I didn’t read the list of ingredients very closely. Maybe I built this one up in my mind; it’s a tasty whiskey drink, but it didn’t leave as big of an impression on me as, say, the Mountain Man.”

Recipe

This cocktail recipe was adapted from Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails by Alex Day and Nick Fauchald.

AuthorDeath & CoPrep Time5 minsRating

Ingredients
 ½ oz Rye
 ½ oz Bourbon
 ½ oz Apple Brandy
 ½ oz Cognac
 2 dashes Angostura Aromatic Bitters
 1 dash Chocolate Bitters
 1 Orange Twist
 1 Lemon Twist

Method
1

Add rye, bourbon, apple brandy, brandy, Demerara syrup, bitters, and ice to a mixing glass.

2

Stir for 30-45 seconds.

3

Strain into a lowball glass over fresh ice.

4

Garnish with orange twist and lemon twist.

Ingredients

Ingredients
 ½ oz Rye
 ½ oz Bourbon
 ½ oz Apple Brandy
 ½ oz Cognac
 2 dashes Angostura Aromatic Bitters
 1 dash Chocolate Bitters
 1 Orange Twist
 1 Lemon Twist

Directions

Method
1

Add rye, bourbon, apple brandy, brandy, Demerara syrup, bitters, and ice to a mixing glass.

2

Stir for 30-45 seconds.

3

Strain into a lowball glass over fresh ice.

4

Garnish with orange twist and lemon twist.

Conference

Make It a Mocktail: Use The Gospel Responsible Rye Non-Alcoholic Whiskey in place of the rye, Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic American Malt in place of the bourbon, apple cider or unsweetened apple juice in place of the apple brandy, Escape Mocktails Non-Alcoholic Cognac Alternative in place of the brandy, and All The Bitter Alcohol-Free Aromatic Bitters in place of the bitters to try a booze-free version of this drink.

Tools & Glassware We Recommend

More Whiskey Cocktails

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

Boo Radley Cocktail Recipe

Boo Radley: A bourbon cocktail made with Cynar, cherry liqueur, a lemon peel, and an orange peel

Mountain Man Cocktail Recipe

Mountain Man: A bourbon cocktail made with lemon juice, peach liqueur, ginger syrup, maple syrup, and candied ginger

Falling Leaves Cocktail Recipe

Falling Leaves: A rye cocktail made with Amaro Montenegro, toasted fig syrup, chocolate bitters, and an orange slice

Stone Fence Cocktail Recipe

Stone Fence: A bourbon cocktail made with apple cider, Angostura Aromatic bitters, and mint

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