Folk-Rock Band Murder By Death’s Top 10 Cocktails

Murder By Death may have a scary name, but the band is anything but. The folk-rock quintet from Bloomington, IN has been around for 16 years, releasing seven albums, including 2015’s Big Dark Love on Bloodshot Records. The band's mix of dark lyrics with cello-driven hooks has made them known for alcohol-fueled anthems, like “As Long As There Is Whiskey In the World,” and “Kentucky Bourbon.” 

I reached out to Sarah Balliet, the band’s cellist, to put together a list of the band’s top 10 cocktails. No order of preference here, just grouped by the main ingredient in each cocktail.

If you want to grab a drink and check out Murder By Death’s whiskey-soaked and energetic live show, the band plays The Independent on Thursday, March 24 with opener Tim Barry. More info here. 


Whiskey cocktails:

1) Bourbon on the Rocks
Recipe: This one is easy. Whiskey…and ice.

Sarah says: “It's just whiskey. It's the best way to enjoy good bourbon or rye. Use one big ice cube.”

2) Manhattan
2 ounces whiskey — rye whisky
1 ounce vermouth — Italian vermouth
2 dashes Bitters — Angostura bitters
Cocktail glass

Sarah says: “This is the best way to use a high proof whiskey like Old Grand Dad, plus you get to eat a boozy cherry at the end for dessert.”

3) Boulevardier 

1 oz Campari
1 oz Sweet vermouth
1.25 oz Bulleit Rye Whiskey
Garnish: 1 Orange twist
Glass: Rocks or cocktail

Sarah says: “A negroni but with whiskey. Yes.”

4) The Alpine Rabbit

1 1⁄2 oz. bourbon
3⁄4 oz. carrot juice
1⁄2 oz. lemon juice
1⁄2 oz. walnut liqueur such as Nux Alpina
1⁄2 oz. Demerara simple syrup
pinch of fleur de sel, Maldon, or other flaky sea salt
Strip of orange zest, lemon zest, or a thin slice of fresh ginger, for garnish (optional)

Sarah says: “Google this and then make it. It's carrot cake but it's booze.”

Gin cocktails:

5) Gin Martini

2 1/4 oz. Greenhook Ginsmiths American Dry Gin
3/4 oz. Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth
1 dash of The Bitter Truth Orange Bitters
lemon twist

Sarah says: “It’s just gin and a little vermouth, and hopefully three fat gin-soaked olives. Do it for Grampa Jackson.”

6) Gin and Soda

1 ounce gin
8 ounces club soda
1/2 small orange, peeled and sliced

Sarah says: “It’s what we drink at home in the summer. It's like a gin and tonic without that weird tonic flavor. Add a lemon twist and a splash of bitters for fun.”

7) French 75

2 ounces gin
1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons sugar
Champagne or sparkling wine
Garnish: long thin lemon spiral and cocktail cherry

Sarah says: “Gin, champagne, and lemon. This could only be improved by the addition of macaroni and cheese, pizza, or gold bullion.”

8) Negroni

vermouth Cinzano rosso

Sarah says: “Best thing from Italy — JK, pizza is. But Campari is close. Also enjoy Campari with soda, but hey, why not add gin?”

Chartreuse cocktails

9) Last Word

¾ oz DAC “Annex” Gin
¾ oz Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
¾ oz Green Chartreuse
¾ oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur

Sarah says: “Okay, when I said you only needed gin and lemon, I forgot to mention chartreuse because this is a perfect cocktail using gin, lime, green chartreuse and maraschino liqueur.”

10) Champagne and Chartreuse

1 Part Cognac
1 Part Green Chartreuse
1 Peel Lemon

Sarah says: “Yellow chartreuse and any decent sparkling white will transport you to the desert.”

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