Classic Cocktail: The Seelbach

Louisville’s pre-Prohibition cocktail

photo: Andrew Hyslop

A century ago, the Seelbach Hotel, in Louisville, was a glitzy destination where big spenders from all over the country would gather to clink glasses of Kentucky whiskey. That was the age that produced the Seelbach cocktail, a glamorous concoction of bourbon, orange liqueur, bitters, and champagne that guests like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Al Capone might have enjoyed. The drink disappeared somewhere in the chaos of Prohibition but was rediscovered by a hotel manager in 1995. Oakroom bartender Eron Plevan doesn’t veer too far from the original recipe.


    • 1 oz. Old Forester bourbon

    • 1/2 oz. Cointreau liqueur

    • 4 dashes Peychaud's bitters

    • 3 dashes of Angostura bitters

    • Champagne or sparkling wine

    • Orange peel


  1. Stir together bourbon, Cointreau, and bitters in a chilled champagne glass. Top with cold champagne or sparkling wine, and garnish with a long twist of orange peel.

Recipe from Eron Plevan of Oakroom restaurant at the Seelbach Hotel in Lousiville, Kentucky.