There is a cocktail category which I do approach only on special occasions (when I have enough guests), because it is simply quite impractical for home use, although these drinks are a mainstay in the history of the bar.  I’m talking about sparkling wine or champagne cocktails. The cost-benefit ratio for home use is definitely not very good. But you can cheat a little.

A bottle of champagne of good quality will cost a considerable sum and so it is no surprise that such a bottle is not opened en passant just to have a small glass of it. In addition to that, on a formal occasion champagne is also usually served pure, so many people do not dare to try it as a mixing ingredient for a cocktail. Fortunately, you can substitute it by less prestigious, but qualitatively quite competitive products, such as a bottle of Crémant. To find the right brand, it may nonetheless require a bit of advice and experience.

Today’s cocktail, the Seelbach Cocktail, originally was invented at the bar of the Seelbach Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky. Although it fell into oblivion for a long time, it was rediscovered in the 1990s and today enjoys a high reputation as a sophisticated cocktail for connoisseurs. This is not due to the elitist renown of champagne, but rather because of the combination of ingredients: The champagne is accompanied by bourbon, Cointreau, Angostura and Peychaud bitters (the latter in somewhat larger amounts than commonly used in cocktails). The resulting aroma is very complex, characterized by harsh and bitter notes and accentuated by a barely perceptible sweetness. But who accepts that challenge will be rewarded with an unusual taste experience that has no equal.


3 cl bourbon whiskey
1,5 cl Cointreau
7 Dashes Angostura
7 Dashes Peychaud bitters

Champagne or Crémant

Preparation: Mix all the ingredients except the champagne in the pre-cooled glass, give it a stir and fill up with champagne.

Glass: Champagne or cocktail glass

Garnish: orange zest

Buying Sources: All ingredients can be found online or in well-stocked supermarkets.

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