Another variation of the “improved” cocktail of Jerry Thomas, the Improved Cognac Cocktail uses cognac as the spirit and I decided to add in Boker’s Bitters as a slight twist. As with my previous re-creations of pre-prohibition recipes, my advice is to cut back on the sweetener, in this case I just went with a small dash of agave syrup for my simple syrup addition.
The Boker’s Bitters that I used is actually in itself also a re-creation of a pre-prohibition recipe for the bitters of the same name that were put out of business by prohibition. These bitters were famously the preference of Jerry Thomas and are mentioned quite a bit in his classic bartender’s guide. Fortunately in 2009, a bar consultant and Jerry Thomas enthusiast, Adam Elmegirab, figured out a recipe to closely replicated these bitters and now they are available again. The bitters themselves have a nice aromatic and strong bitterness to them, much more pine and citrus than you would get with the spice heavy Angostura.
As with any time absinthe is used, but even more so than normal, be careful. Too much absinthe on this and you will lose everything that the Cognac brings. However in the right balance this is a delectable cocktail, with a great mix of sour, sweet, bitter, and herbal.
Mix all ingredients and shake well over ice. Serve up in a cocktail glass and a lemon twist makes a nice garnish, pairing well with the Boker’s used in the drink.