This drink is called the Soul Transfusion, named after a procedure I felt an ex girlfriend was sorely in need of. It’s all booze, no bitters, and delicious.

– Reader and Chicago bartender, Steve Shields

If that’s not a good reason behind a cocktail name, I don’t know what is. (Bitterness? Check!)

Steve sent me this cocktail recipe a few weeks ago and I was very happy to share. As he explained, “I had taken several trips to New Orleans and wanted to do a New Orleans classic style cocktail but with Chicago ingredients.”

So why Letherbee Bësk (formerly Letherbee Mälort)?

“While the ingredients are adaptable, I do prefer to make this drink with Letherbee Bësk, a wormwood schnapps made in Chicago. […] I had never seen a Mälort used in a cocktail without using some kind of grapefruit something or other and I wanted it to be the sneaky secret ingredient that nobody would ever guess.”

The cocktail was finished off by Steve’s colleague Brian Johnston, who added just a barspoon of falernum, rounding out the drink perfectly.

So… what does it taste like?

Since we didn’t have the ingredients to recreate it, I asked Steve to tell us a bit more about what it’s like to enjoy one of his creations:

The rye hits you with that punch, followed by all kinds of spice notes, from complex allspice in the dram to everything licorice and anise in the Bësk. Brovo Jammy is the coolest sweet vermouth I’ve ever tried, and it lends a beautiful color to the cocktail which adds to the sexiness.

I call it a winter warmer but I’ve had people sip it with ice on a summer afternoon and enjoy it equally. Straight up or with a large cube- try it if you’re a fan of the sazerac, which is my all time favorite drink. To New Orleans, to Chicago, and to the craft: Cheers!

Cheers indeed! Thank you so much Steve for sharing your cocktail recipe, your story, and your tasting notes. If you have a recipe you’d like us to share on the blog, let me know!

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Photo Credit: Lisa Payne