Perfect pre-turkey tippling!

We love this cocktail for a couple of reasons. Mainly because it's so delicious and beautiful to look at. But also because of a rather droll backstory. For years, cocktail fans, including us, repeated the tale that a new bartender who arrived at the venerable Seelbach Hotel in Louisville in 1995, had discovered the recipe from the 1920s amid the dusty archives of the hotel, and revived it just as the national cocktail craze was taking off. Not true, as it turns out. According to a story in the New York Times, the new guy, Adam Seger, developed the recipe himself and made up the rest of the story to gain publicity and establish himself in the cocktail universe. Now that he's done exactly that and is running a trendy bar in New York City, he has admitted to the hoax.  

Well, history is all fine and good, but we really go for flavor and drinkability. And that's what the Seelbach is all about! Made with bourbon, triple sec, bitters and champagne, this concoction has a lovely balance of flavors and textures. The heavy, intense bourbon against the lightness and fizz of the champagne, with the triple sec making the connection in between. 

Light enough to drink before a giant Thanksgiving dinner, but not at all summery.


  • 1 ounce Bourbon
  • ½ ounce triple sec
  • healthy dash of Angostura bitters
  • healthy dash of Peychaud's bitters
  • 5 ounces sparkling wine. Adam Seger recommends Korbel Brut, and that works for us, but you can – and prehaps should – experiment with others.

Combine the first four ingredients and shake with ice until cold. Strain into a flute and top with the bubbly. For those who wish to garnish, a twist of orange peel works nicely.

Perfect for Thanksgiving Day. It's what we'll be having.