Conference

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Cocktail History

The Conference is a modern cocktail that was created by Brian Miller at Death & Company in New York City, New York. It uses the classic Old Fashioned template of a spirit, simple syrup, bitters, and citrus, but this version 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 a type of whiskey made with at least 51% rye grain, malted barley, corn, and water. 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 rye whiskey.

Bourbon: This is a type of whiskey made in the United States with at least 51% corn, grains, malted barley, and water. We used Elijah Craig Bourbon because it has a deep, spiced whiskey flavor. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Spiritless Kentucky 74 Non-Alcoholic Bourbon Whiskey in place of the bourbon whiskey.

Apple Brandy: This is a type of brandy made with apples, pears, spices, sugar, and alcohol. We used Calvados because it’s a high-quality apple-flavored brandy with notes of pear, apricot, and baking spices. For a lower-proof version of this drink, try Escape Mocktails Non-Alcoholic Cognac Alternative and apple cider in place of the apple brandy.

Cognac: This is a type of brandy made in Cognac, France with distilled white wine. 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.

Aromatic Bitters: This is a food product made with botanicals, herbs, and alcohol. We used Angostura Aromatic Bitters. For a mocktail version of this drink, try All The Bitter Alcohol-Free Aromatic Bitters in place of the aromatic bitters.

Chocolate Bitters: This is a food product made with chocolate, botanicals, herbs, and alcohol. We used Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters.

Orange Twist: This is the peel of an orange that has been twisted into a corkscrew shape.

Lemon Twist: This is the peel of a lemon that has been twisted into a corkscrew shape.

Bartending Tools

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

Jigger: This is used to measure and pour ingredients. We used the Japanese jigger from the A Bar Above 14-Piece Silver Bar Set.

Mixing Glass: This is used to hold the ingredients while they’re being stirred. We used the Viski 17 oz Cocktail Mixing Glass.

Bar Spoon: This is used to stir ingredients. We used the Barfly Stainless Steel Teardrop Bar Spoon.

Julep Strainer: This is used to strain out ice and solid ingredients after the cocktail is stirred. We used the A Bar Above Julep Strainer.

Peeler: This is used to remove the garnish peel from the citrus. We used the OXO Good Grips 2-Piece Peeler Set.

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 Conference for its creativity and the way all of its ingredients contributed to one overarching flavor profile.

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.

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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 & Co

Yields1 ServingPrep Time5 mins

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

Method
1

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

2

Stir for 30-45 seconds.

3

Strain into a lowball glass over a clear ice cube.

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 Aromatic Bitters
 1 dash Chocolate Bitters
 1 Orange Twist
 1 Lemon Twist

Directions

Method
1

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

2

Stir for 30-45 seconds.

3

Strain into a lowball glass over a clear ice cube.

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 whiskey, Spiritless Kentucky 74 Non-Alcoholic Bourbon Whiskey in place of the bourbon whiskey, Escape Mocktails Non-Alcoholic Cognac Alternative and apple cider 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 aromatic bitters to try a booze-free version of this drink.

Shop Glassware & Tools

Find collections of cocktail glassware and bartending tools we recommend for your home bar in our Amazon shop.

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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