The Conference Cocktail Recipe

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The Conference Nutrition Facts





Alcohol %:~30

Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 16, 2024


The Conference is a cocktail that embodies the spirit of collaboration and unity. It is said to have been created by a group of bartenders who wanted to craft a drink that brought together the best of their individual experiences and favorite spirits.

  • Origin: The exact origin is not well-documented, but it is believed to have emerged from the American craft cocktail movement.
  • Popularity: This cocktail has gained a following among whiskey enthusiasts and those who appreciate complex, spirit-forward drinks.
  • Best Enjoyed: The Conference is best enjoyed in a setting where conversation flows as smoothly as the drink itself, making it perfect for actual conferences, meetings, or sophisticated social gatherings.

How The Conference Tastes?

The Conference is a rich, full-bodied cocktail with a harmonious blend of sweetness from the Demerara syrup, the warmth of rye and bourbon, and the fruitiness of apple brandy. The cognac adds depth, while the aromatic and chocolate bitters provide a complex, spiced undertone. The citrus twists contribute a bright, zesty finish.

Interesting facts about The Conference

  • The Conference is often considered a 'bartender's handshake,' a drink shared among bartenders to show respect and camaraderie.
  • The combination of four different spirits is a nod to the classic Vieux Carré, which also features a blend of spirits.
  • The name 'The Conference' suggests a coming together of different elements, much like attendees of a conference bringing their unique ideas to the table.


Rye (0.5oz)

Rye whiskey provides a spicy, grain-forward base that's crucial in balancing the sweeter components. Too much? It can overpower the blend. Too little? You'd miss its signature warmth. Feeling adventurous? Swap for high-proof rye for an extra kick.

Mary Mitkina

Bourbon (0.5oz)

Bourbon adds a sweet, vanilla and oak character which mellows down the spice. It's all about balance! Forget the bourbon and you've lost half the conversation. How about a twist? Try a wheated bourbon for smoother, gentler notes.

Alex Green

Apple Brandy (0.5oz)

Brings a whisper of fruitiness, intertwined with a subtle warmth. Without it, the cocktail would feel one-note. For an autumn twist, test out apple cider for a less boozy, more apple-forward profile.

Emma Rose

Cognac (0.5oz)

Cognac, with its luxurious texture and rich flavor, gives depth. Skimp on it and you'll lack complexity. Looking for a change? Armagnac could be used for a slight variation with a more rustic profile.

Mary Mitkina

Demerara Syrup (0.25oz)

This dark sugar syrup adds a touch of sweetness to perfectly harmonize the spirits. More could swamp the subtleties; less would skew the balance towards the dry side. Maple syrup could be a quirky replacement, offering an interesting twist.

Alex Green

Aromatic Bitters (2 dashes)

The cocktail's spice rack – a little goes a long way. The bitters integrate the flavors, completing the cocktail's profile. Omit these, and it's like a pie without seasoning. Want to experiment? Orange bitters for a citrusy pop.

Emma Rose

Chocolate Bitters (1 dash)

A single dash enriches the bouquet with deep notes – it's the finishing touch. Forget this and you'll miss a hidden decadence. Swap for mole bitters for a complex, spicy edge.

Mary Mitkina

Orange Twist (1)

Zesty oils add a bright top note, awakening the senses. No twist? The nose is less inviting. Mix it up with a flamed orange peel for drama and a slightly toasted aroma.

Alex Green

Lemon Twist (1)

Sharp, fragrant and providing a finishing lift - the final flourish. Without it, the drink feels less dressed. Prefer something different? A grapefruit peel could offer a bittersweet tang.

Emma Rose

Recipe. How to make The Conference Drink

  1. Add rye, bourbon, apple brandy, cognac, Demerara syrup, aromatic bitters, chocolate bitters, and cubed ice to a mixing glass.
  2. Stir for 30-45 seconds.
  3. Strain into a lowball glass over a clear ice cube.
  4. Garnish with an orange twist and a lemon twist.

Pro Tips

  • Always use fresh citrus twists to ensure the essential oils are vibrant and add to the aroma of the cocktail.
  • Chilling the glass before serving can enhance the drinking experience.
  • For a clearer ice cube, use boiled and then cooled water when making your ice.

Perfect Pairings

Cheese & Charcuterie

The robust flavors in 'The Conference' cocktail pair exceptionally well with aged cheeses and smoked meats. The spirits’ complex notes highlight the richness of Gouda or Cheddar, and complement the savory depth of Prosciutto or Soppressata.

Grilled/Roasted Meats

A perfect companion for a hearty meal; try it with grilled steak, roast pork, or even a barbecued brisket. The smokey sweetness of the bourbon and the apple brandy's subtle fruit notes are a delightful contrast to the char and savoriness of the meat.


For those with a sweet tooth, 'The Conference' lends itself beautifully to desserts like dark chocolate truffles or a caramel apple tart. The chocolate bitters and the Demerara syrup echo the complexities of rich, decadent desserts.

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What you could change in The Conference

  • Rye: Can be substituted with another high-quality American whiskey if rye is not available.
  • Apple Brandy: Calvados is a suitable substitute for apple brandy.
  • Demerara Syrup: A rich simple syrup (2 parts sugar to 1 part water) can be used if Demerara is not at hand.

Explore all drinks starting with T here

And of course - twists🍹

Smoked 'The Conference'

Replace apple brandy with smoked apple brandy. Add a pinch of smoked salt. Recipe: Follow original but with swapped ingredients. Taste: A smokier version honoring fall bonfires.

The Orchard Meeting

In place of apple brandy use pear brandy, and swap the lemon twist for fresh sage leaves. Recipe: Same method, new players. Taste: A herbaceous, slightly softer cocktail reminiscent of a walk through a fall orchard.

Spice Trade Conference

Substitute chocolate bitters with gingerbread bitters and add a cinnamon stick as garnish. Recipe: Build as usual and then garnish with cinnamon. Taste: A spicy sipper that brings the holiday market to your glass.

In case you forgot basics how to make The Conference

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Insert the spoon into the glass until it touches the bottom. Keep the back of the spoon against the inside wall of the glass, and stir in a smooth, circular motion. The goal is to swirl the ice and ingredients together without churning or splashing.

Learn everything on how to stir

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on The Conference

What type of glass is most suitable for serving 'The Conference' cocktail?

A lowball glass, also known as an old-fashioned glass, is ideal for serving 'The Conference' cocktail, as it allows ample room for the drink to be appreciated both visually and aromatically.

Is it possible to make 'The Conference' cocktail in large batches for parties?

Yes, 'The Conference' can be pre-mixed in large quantities for parties. Just scale up the ingredients proportionally and stir well with ice before serving. Garnish each glass individually to maintain the visual appeal and aroma.

Can 'The Conference' be considered a type of Old Fashioned?

While 'The Conference' shares some similarities with an Old Fashioned, such as being a spirit-forward cocktail with bitters and a citrus garnish, it is a distinct recipe due to its unique blend of multiple spirits and the inclusion of Demerara syrup.

How can I ensure clarity in the ice cube when making 'The Conference' at home?

To achieve clear ice at home, use distilled water or water that has been boiled and then cooled. Pour the water into a silicone ice mold and freeze. For even greater clarity, insulate the sides of the mold, forcing ice to freeze from the top-down, pushing air bubbles to the bottom.

What's the significance of the name 'The Conference'?

The name 'The Conference' signifies the coming together of multiple spirits and ingredients to create a harmonious blend, akin to a successful gathering of ideas or people, much like in a conference setting.

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