Seelbach Cocktail Photo

Celebrate New Year’s with a Seelbach Cocktail

In Cocktails by Leave a Comment

While everyone around you is toasting the new year with a glass of champagne there is no reason not to sip on some bourbon instead if that is what you enjoy. But before you write off the bubbly completely may I suggest a classic cocktail that combines the best of both worlds?

The Seelbach Cocktail is named after the hotel in Louisville where it was first served in 1917. Legend has it that the drink was invited when the bartender used a customer’s Manhattan to capture the overflow from an exploding champagne bottle. Considering the similarities the Seelbach bears to other cocktails of the time, such as the French 75, it is safe to assume that this is likely apocryphal. The combination of champagne and bourbon in this cocktail makes it especially fitting for a Louisville drink, paying homage to the city’s French founders as well as it’s more uniquely American heritage.

Seelbach Cocktail PhotoThe original recipe called for 14 dashes of bitters, seven of both Peychaud’s and Angostura, but for this recipe I have cut it down to just 3 dashes of each. Depending on your taste for bitters you may want to try it with even less. This is also a nice cocktail because you can tailor the sweetness by using either a sweet or very dry sparkling wine depending on your preference. I used Four Roses Yellow Label for the bourbon along with brut reserve sparkling wine and was very happy with the results. 

The Seelbach Cocktail

1 1/2 ounces bourbon
1/2 ounce Cointreau
3 dashes Peychaud’s aromatic bitters
3 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters
Chilled sparkling wine
Orange peel to garnish

In a mixing glass stir the bourbon, Cointreau, and bitters vigorously  with ice. Strain into a chilled champagne flute and top with the sparkling wine. Garnish with orange peel and enjoy.  




About the Author

Ginny Tonic

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Although Ginny was a late bloomer to the world of drinking she likes to think she’s making up for lost time. She had my first manhattan at the age of 24 and fell in love. Finally, there was a drink she felt cool ordering and actually liked the taste of. Bourbon is her drink of choice and where she geeks out the most, but she honestly enjoys all aspects of drinking. The way it brings people together, the way it combines art, science, and culture, the way a nice drink at the end of the day can make the world seem so much better than it did a few minutes before. When she’s not writing for Bourbon & Banter, she writes for Queen City Drinks and co-hosts two podcasts: an hour long culture podcast called The Charlie Tonic Hour and a shorter all alcohol show called Bottoms Up. She is also the owner and lead guide for Tonic Tours, where they offer small group alcohol-based tours that focus on craft producers as well as hosting classes, tasting and other events.