Seelbach

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Cocktail History

The Seelbach is a modern cocktail that was created in the 1990s by Adam Seger at the Seelbach Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky. His hope was to craft a signature drink that could’ve been served when the hotel opened pre-Prohibition, and he landed on this mash-up of a Manhattan and Champagne Cocktail. He also dreamed up an elaborate backstory about how it was first made that eventually became cocktail lore: that it happened when a hotel bartender used a Manhattan to catch the overflow from a newly open bottle of sparkling wine.

Cocktail Ingredients

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

Sparkling Wine: This is a carbonated wine made with white or red grapes. We used Villa Bellezza Winery Brillante because it has a light and airy flavor. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Gruvi Non-Alcoholic Prosecco in place of the sparkling wine.

Bourbon: This is a type of whiskey made in the United States with at least 51% corn, grains, malted barley, and water. Seger recommends a Kentucky bourbon in homage to the hotel, but we used Infinity Beverages Bock Beerskey, a local whiskey that is made using a Dopplebach beer mash. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Spiritless Kentucky 74 Non-Alcoholic Bourbon Whiskey in place of the whiskey.

Triple Sec: This is a liqueur made with bitter oranges, lemons, sugar, and alcohol. We used Cointreau because it’s one of the highest quality orange liqueurs on the market. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Lyre’s Orange Sec Non-Alcoholic Spirit in place of the orange liqueur.

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.

Peychaud’s Creole Bitters: This is a food product made with gentian root, anise, medicinal herbs, sugar, and alcohol. For a mocktail version of this drink, try All The Bitter Non-Alcoholic New Orleans Bitters in place of the Creole bitters.

Orange Twist: This is the peel of an orange 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 Seelbach features strong aromas of orange, a fascinating combination of dry champagne, citrus flavors, and whiskey initially that is accented by the bitters on the back of the palate, and the aftertaste of wine and the unique whiskey we used.

Our Opinion of This Cocktail Recipe: Even with such a unique whiskey, we both enjoyed this drink for what it is. As far as sparkling wine cocktails go, the Seelbach makes for a lovely slow and contemplative sipper that is very different from others. 

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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 ended up liking this drink, but I must admit that the best word to describe it is ‘interesting.’ Infinity’s Bock Beerskey features a taste unlike any other whiskey because it is distilled from a Dopplebock beer mash rather than classic grains. Its unique flavor shows right through this bubbly cocktail and turns it into a one-of-a-kind drink that is fit for slow sipping.”

Kendall’s Take: ⭐⭐
“This cocktail is really unique. I never would’ve thought to mix classic stirred cocktail flavors with sparkling wine, but it works. I appreciated its complexity, but ultimately I wouldn’t make it again. I need a little more sweetness in my beverages to truly enjoy them.”

Recipe

This cocktail recipe was adapted from Winter Drinks: 70 Essential Cold-Weather Cocktails by the editors of PUNCH.

Sale
Winter Drinks: 70 Essential Cold-Weather Cocktails
Winter Drinks: 70 Essential Cold-Weather Cocktails
Hardcover Book; Editors of PUNCH (Author); English (Publication Language); 160 Pages – 10/02/2018 (Publication Date) – Ten Speed Press (Publisher)
$14.58 Amazon Prime

AuthorWinter Drinks

Yields1 ServingPrep Time5 mins

Ingredients
 3 oz Dry Sparkling Wine
 1 oz Bourbon
 ½ oz Triple Sec
 7 dashes Aromatic Bitters
 7 dashes Creole Bitters
 1 Orange Twist

Method
1

Add bourbon, triple sec, aromatic bitters, Creole bitters, and cubed ice to a mixing glass.

2

Stir for 30-45 seconds.

3

Strain into a cocktail glass.

4

Top with sparkling wine.

5

Garnish with orange twist.

Ingredients

Ingredients
 3 oz Dry Sparkling Wine
 1 oz Bourbon
 ½ oz Triple Sec
 7 dashes Aromatic Bitters
 7 dashes Creole Bitters
 1 Orange Twist

Directions

Method
1

Add bourbon, triple sec, aromatic bitters, Creole bitters, and cubed ice to a mixing glass.

2

Stir for 30-45 seconds.

3

Strain into a cocktail glass.

4

Top with sparkling wine.

5

Garnish with orange twist.

Seelbach

Make It a Mocktail: Use Gruvi Non-Alcoholic Prosecco in place of the sparkling wine, Spiritless Kentucky 74 Non-Alcoholic Bourbon Whiskey in place of the whiskey, Lyre’s Orange Sec Non-Alcoholic Spirit in place of the orange liqueur, All The Bitter Alcohol-Free Aromatic Bitters in place of the aromatic bitters, and All The Bitter Non-Alcoholic New Orleans Bitters in place of the Creole bitters to try a booze-free version of this drink.

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OXO Good Grips 2-Piece Peeler Set - Swivel and Julienne
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More Bourbon Cocktails

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

Weathered Axe Cocktail Recipe

Weathered Axe: A bourbon cocktail made with lemon juice, Combier L’Original Liqueur d’Orange, Cocchi Americano, ginger syrup, absinthe, and rosemary

Paper Plane Cocktail Recipe

Paper Plane: A bourbon cocktail made with Aperol, Amaro Nonino Quintessentia, lemon juice, and a lemon peel

Mountain Man Cocktail Recipe

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

Vieux Carré Cocktail Recipe

Vieux Carré: A rye and brandy cocktail made with sweet vermouth, Bénédictine, Peychaud’s Creole bitters, Angostura aromatic bitters, and an orange peel

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