Cocktail of the Moment: Seelbach


The Seelbach is a bit of an odd drink. It calls for 14 dashes of bitters, which is significantly more than you’ll find in most drinks. It also has a mix of whiskey and sparkling wine, which is also somewhat uncommon.

This is another drink we first experienced at Rex 1516 from our favorite bartender who excels at finding interesting cocktails.

I tried a couple of variations at home and used this recipe from Imbibe Magazine as a starting point:

  • 1 oz. bourbon
  • 1/2 oz. Cointreau
  • 7 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 7 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
  • Champagne
  • Ice cubes
  • Tools: mixing glass, barspoon, strainer
  • Glass: flute
  • Garnish: lemon twist

Stir ingredients briefly over ice, strain into a chilled flute, top with Champagne and garnish.

We had to improvise quite a bit on this one. We don’t normally keep Cointreau or any other orange liqueur around.

For Christmas, Holly and I had the same idea and gave each other different kinds of bitters. We realized that many of the more popular bitters have a lot of food coloring and artificial flavors and that’s not how we roll. The bitters we got each other are all natural.

Holly got me a sample pack from The Bitter End which includes Memphis Barbeque, Mexican Mole, Chesapeake Bay and Thai. She also got me a Sriracha bitters from Brooklyn Hemispherical. I got her three types from Urban Moonshine: Original, Maple, and Citrus.

Collection of Bitters

Collection of Bitters

I made the first Seelbach with

  • 1 oz Old Overholt Rye Whiskey
  • Juice from 1 section of a Clementine
  • 2 droppers full of the Urban Moonshine Original
  • 2 droppers full of the Urban Moonshine Citrus

I stirred over ice and strained into our new Coupe glasses (also a Christmas gift!) and topped it off with Terriero Proseco.

Ingredients for a Seelbach

First Version of a Seelbach

The result was quite nice but very heavy on the Proseco. It didn’t have much of a citrus flavor.

I made the next one with

  • 1 oz Old Overholt Rye Whiskey
  • Juice from 2 sections of a Clementine
  • 3 droppers of Stirrings Blood Orange Bitters
  • 3 droppers of the Urban Moonshine Original

Mixed as above and topped with the Proseco.

Ingredients for a Second Variation of a Seelbach

This second attempt was much more successful! It had more of a citrus flavor and the overall effect was a more blended flavor.

Second Version of a Seelbach

Seelbach at Rex1516

Because we used natural bitters, our versions didn’t have the fluorescent red color that you would get with the Angostura bitters and Peychaud’s bitters.

I may continue to tweak this recipe. I am curious to try it with an orange liqueur. Until then, I deem our experiment a success and look forward to more Seelbachs in our future!