7 dashes Angostura bitters
7 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
Chilled Brut Champagne
Lemon or orange twist
Add bourbon, Cointreau and bitters to a mixing glass. Add ice and stir. Strain into a chilled coupe or flute and top with champagne. Garnish with the twist.
A Manhattan variation of sorts, the Seelbach starts with the timeless combination of whiskey and orange flavor. The sweetness of the bourbon and Cointreau is tempered with a generous 14 dashes of bitters. Finally champagne both drys out the sweet and yet makes the drink more refreshing with a hint of carbonation and added citrus both from the champagne and the lemon/orange twist. A great one for a left over bottle of champagne from New Years that will also warm you up.
Most recipes use up to 4oz of champagne in this one, but for a heavier more spirited version, just add a couple ounces at most.
The Seelbach has a great story behind it. Invented shortly before prohibition in 1917, one rumor (from Brad Thomas Parson’s Bitters, great read btw) is that the barman at the Old Seelbach Bar was opening some champagne. As sometimes happens the bottle began to overflow with the bubbling champagne. Either by mistake or in an attempt not to spill it on the ground, he tipped a bit into a patrons Manhattan. The patron enjoyed it and thus the Seelbach was born and spent a few years as the house cocktail.
Unfortunately it’s heyday was short, as prohibition kicked in and the recipe was lost for decades, only to be rediscovered hidden in the Old Seelbach Bar in 1995. It was eventually put in to Gary Regan’s (of Regan’s bitters) book New Classic Cocktails in 1997 and began the popular revival of this cocktail.
If you like your drinks on the drier side, you could swap the bourbon for rye, which will also up the spice of the drink. Mezcal in place of bourbon also makes for a funky, lighter and smokey drink.