Vanilla & Cider Seelbach

I'm only 80% sure it wasn't a dream, but earlier this week we went to an all-you-can-eat fried chicken and Txakoli (slightly effervescent and insanely delicious style of wine from the Basque Country in Spain) dinner at one of our favorite restaurants in New Orleans, Coquette. We were originally on a wait list for tickets, and I honestly teared up a little bit when I got the call saying space had opened up. I'd been craving some good fried chicken for weeks, and Txakoli is actually a sacred substance in our household. I'm training Fox to go out and gather it for us.

The chicken was obviously delicious, and there were amazing sides like biscuits with honey butter, braised collard greens, creamy mashed potatoes—all the stuff of a legit Southern feast. And the wine glasses just kept getting refilled. I don't know where or how, but they just kept bringing more. This is where things start to get a little hazy, and since we don't have any pictures of the dinner I started to think it may have all just been a very hungry fantasy. But somewhere at this part of the story Beau loses his keys forever in an Uber, so if that's any indicator of how weird things got (Beau is absolutely ace at not losing things, and I actually do it all the time sober), you'll probably agree that a hangover cocktail was in order the next morning.

This drink is based on the classic cocktail called the Seelbach. It's super easy to make since all you do is just build it right in the glass that it's served in, and whatever bubbles you're working with do all the mixing that's necessary. Normally a Seelbach is made with bourbon, orange liqueur (triple sec or Cointreau), Peychaud's and Angostura bitters, and Champagne. I'm still trying to cope with the end of summer, though, so I'm trying to force myself to get excited about fall flavors. I added a bit of vanilla syrup to the recipe, subbed the bitters out for cherry bark vanilla bitters, and opted for a dry, bubbly cider rather than the sparkling wine. It looks dainty, but it's like a scrappy little UFC fighter and will honestly kick your ass if you challenge it to do so. If that sounds fun, scroll down for the recipe!

Vanilla & Cider Seelbach
Makes one

  1. Combine all ingredients in a coupe glass or Champagne flute, saving the cider for last. Fill to top with cider.
  2. (optional) Slice the vanilla bean vertically to release the vanilla aroma. Place into drink and serve.

Vanilla Simple Syrup
Makes about 1 cup, enough for about 32 cocktails.
Easily reduced by half, or save some to put in your coffee!

  • .5 cup water
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sugar
  1. Bring water and vanilla extract to a simmer over medium heat.
  2. Add sugar and stir until dissolved.
  3. Remove from heat, let cool, and store refrigerated up to 2 weeks.