I had a Billionaire Cocktail a few months ago at Employees Only, a terrific craft cocktail bar in NYC. I loved it when I tried it and made it a few times after returning from the City. Unfortunately, it got lost in the shuffle of new drinks that I was creating at my home bar. I thought about it again last week and mixed one up . . . then another . . . then another. Now, I don’t know why I stopped making these. It is a really terrific drink.
The Billionaire Cocktail is a more complex variant of a Sazerac. While that’s probably stretching an analogy too far, it takes the Whiskey, Absinthe and simple syrup of the Saz and adds the complementary, but somewhat offsetting flavors of grenadine and lemon juice.
Billionaire Cocktail Recipe
- 2 oz Bourbon (the high-proof stuff like 107-proof Baker’s is in the original recipe, but lower octane varieties work well too. More on this later)
- 1 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1/2 oz Simple Syrup
- 1/2 oz Grenadine Syrup (use the good stuff – just pomegranate, sugar and water)
- 1/4 oz Absinthe
- Lemon Wheel for garnish
Combine all liquid ingredients in the shaker. Add ice to the shaker and shake until very cold. Serve in a coupe glass with the lemon wheel floating on top.
The true taste of this drink has the high-proof Bourbon punching through. This is needed to offset the strong dosage (1/4 oz) of Absinthe in the recipe. If you don’t have any of the higher-proof Bourbon around, you can still enjoy the drink. Increase the Bourbon measure to 2-1/4 oz and cut the Absinthe in half, to 1/8 oz, otherwise you’ll be thinking you’ve got a licorice garnish in there as well. You may also want to cut back on the simple syrup a bit, although you should leave the grenadine alone. The recipe using the lower-proof Bourbon can taste a little on the sweet side to some people.
A word on Grenadine Syrup. Some store bought grenadine syrups are overly sweetened with corn syrup and others are a mixture of a variety of synthetic fruits. The original grenadine syrup was made from pomegranate juice and sugar. The more true you stay to this original recipe, the closer your drinks will taste to how they were intended. We suggest Stirrings Grenadine or Sonoma Syrup Company Grenadine, but similar syrups made from pomegranate and sugar will have the same taste and texture.
Why You’ll Like the Billionaire Cocktail
There’s no doubt that this is a boozy drink. Still, the first taste is fruity and light. As you drink the cocktail, more flavors appear and the complexity of the cocktail comes through. Even those who aren’t real whiskey lovers will still find many tatses to enjoy in this cocktail. While whiskey is the base, it’s not in your face in any way. The Absinthe, pastis flavor, as always, is hard to ignore. If you like that hint of licorice in your cocktails, you’ll find it here. It’s just a wonderful combination of flavors that goes down a little too fast. You might want to double up so you have a spare.