2 oz Bourbon
1 ds Absinthe
1 twst Lemon peel (for garnish)

Combine liquid ingredients in an ice-filled mixing glass and stir until cold. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Cut a thin slice of lemon zest over the surface of the drink and drop it into the glass.


The Improved cocktail is a Jerry Thomas creation, and the Improved Whiskey Cocktail was further popularized (if you can call it that) by David Wondrich, columnist for Esquire and author of Imbibe! (the book, not the magazine).

While a very nice drink, I think it could actually be further improved by either reducing or omitting entirely the simple syrup. While this recipe isn’t too sweet exactly, it could stand a little less sweetener.

Cocktail summary
Created by
David Wondrich, Esquire/Imbibe!
Is of
unknown authenticity
Not yet rated
3.5 stars
(13 ratings)
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From other users
  • 1/14/19: 2 oz Wild Turkey 101, 1/2 tsp luxardo, 1/2 tsp PF dry curacao, 3/4 tsp 2:1 turbinado syrup, 1/8 tsp absinthe, 2 dashes ango, lemon peel.
  • Excellent Add 1 tsp Dry Curacao Bar spoon absinth
  • Liked the addition of dry curacao, and kept the absinthe to a spritz of Herbsaint.
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Absinthe can be used as rinse - in Sazerac fashion.