My wife and I had some open sparkling wine, and it would’ve been a shame to let those bubbles go to waste, so I made a sparkling cocktail! This is one of my favorites, for a few reasons. One: it has bourbon in it, and it’s hard to go wrong with bourbon. Two: it has FOURTEEN dashes of bitters in it, which you would think would make it nigh undrinkable.
You’d be super wrong, though. The Seelbach is delicious. It’s also got an interesting history, which I am able to recount here thanks to Ted Haigh’s Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails.
Created in 1917 at the Seelbach Hotel in Louisville, KY, the drink was rescued from post-prohibition obscurity by Adam Seger, who was the hotel’s restaurant director, and found the recipe in the hotel’s records in 1995. Gary and Mardee Regan (of Regans’ Bitters fame) convinced him to share it with the world in one of their cocktail books, and we’re very lucky they did!
This article is a modified and enhanced version of a post that ran on my nightly cocktail blog, DrinkShouts.
The Seelbach Cocktail Recipe
- Bar spoon
- Combine all ingredients except sparkling wine in a champagne flute or coupe, and stir. Top with sparkling wine, stirring gently. Garnish with an orange twist.