Cooper Union

The Sazerac gets a Scotch twist.

Recently I wrote about one of my favorite drinks, the Sazerac. The Cooper Union is a bit more than just a variation: it swaps out every single ingredient, but replaces each one with another that fills the same role in the recipe, leaving the structure intact. I found this one over at Cold Glass, and you should read Doug Ford’s take on it there–I won’t try to duplicate his excellent description.

The drink is from the Death & Co book, which you should definitely buy–it’s the product of an incredible bar in New York.

The really bold thing about the Cooper Union is that it uses both Scotch and Irish whiskey. Why that’s bold: most people won’t even put one kind of scotch in a drink. Scotch is notoriously hard to mix, mostly because it’s so complex by itself, but also because it’s often got some challenging flavors. The Laphroaig has a very peaty, smoky flavor that doesn’t play well with most things. This drink sweetens is with St. Germain and wisely adds a couple sources of citrus (which tends to work well with scotch).

How to Make it

  • 2 oz Redbreast Irish Whiskey
  • ½ oz St. Germain Elderflower liqueur
  • 1 dash orange bitters*
  • Laphroaig 10-year Scotch
  • 1 lemon twist (garnish)

Rinse a double rocks glass with the Laphroaig and dump. Stir the Irish, St. Germain, and bitters with ice until cold; strain into the rinsed glass. Squeeze the lemon twist over the surface, and discard. No garnish.


  • It might be (slightly) cheaper to practice this with a Sazerac first, since the process is the same.
  • You only use a tiny bit of the Laphroaig, so it’ll last you a good while.

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