I’ve been on a quest for some time now to displace the mimosa as the morning/afternoon champagne cocktail of choice. There was the momentarily famous Breakfast Cocktail, but people often said that it was too much work and too obscure. So I caved.
I’m currently rotating through a staggering number of sparkling cocktails that I think have potential, but my current favorite afternoon sparkler is most certainly the Death in the Afternoon. This drink is said to have been created by the famous imbiber (and author, apparently) Ernest Hemingway. His love for the sauce has been well documented and we can thank him for some other classic cocktails such as the Hemingway Daiquiri. But the Death in the Afternoon really brings out the day drinking alcoholic side of Hemingway that we all know and love. It’s a simple drink and any bartender worth their salt can whip this together.
As always, quality is the key. If you don’t want to drop $60+ on a bottle of Absinthe, I’d recommend Herbsaint from the Sazerac Co in New Orleans. Their $30 bottle of anise liqueur is an absinthe replacement, omitting on the Wormwood (which helped them produce it throughout the American absinthe ban).
I typically use Spanish cava as my sparkler of choice, but any good American sparkling wine or French Champagne will work just fine. I like the slightly yeasty notes you get from Methode Champegnoise sparkling wines, so don’t skimp. Without further ado…
Death in the Afternoon
1 oz Absinthe or Herbsaint
4 oz Sparkline Wine
Mix in a champagne flute and enjoy. If you like to chill your absinthe ahead of time, that’s fine. I like the slightly warm anise notes that come from room temp absinthe and cold sparkling wine. But I’m a bit odd.