The Ident Bumper, a less-spendy version of Succession’s Break-Bumper cocktail, with homemade orange liqueur.

image of cocktail
The Ident Bumper cocktail

A break-bumper, or commercial bumper, or ident-bumper, is a bit that serves as a short transition between a show and the commercials. They haven’t been used as much anymore, but if you grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons when that was a thing, you’ve probably seen these while watching Muppet Babies and the like on CBS:

Needless to say, I’m delighted that the Succession writers decided to name a cocktail stolen from the wallet of Teddy Roosevelt’s valet after such a specific and now obsolete media term. A member of the Succession subreddit figured out the recipe, and it goes as follows:

  • 1 oz Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve
  • ½ oz Cointreau
  • 7 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • 7 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters
  • Splash of Krug Grande Cuvée
  • Twist of lemon from your family’s orchard
  • A sprig of rosemary

To give you an idea of how ridiculously expensive drink is, a bottle of Krug Grande Cuvee retails for about $190, while the 23-year-old Pappy Van Winkle (easily considered among the best of the best of American bourbon so my guess is that they would use it) retails on average for nearly $3,000. On a show that is all about flex, making a cocktail using a whiskey that retails for roughly $118 an ounce is quite the flex. To have a character proudly tell the origins of the cocktail recipe and then later in the same episode have her say that money is a social construct is why this show is so damn brilliant. 

I wanted to make something like this for myself, but I hated the idea of having to buy Cointreau because I find it to be v for what it is. I recently received an immersion circulator for my birthday, and already I’ve taken it for a spin to make Alton Brown’s fennel cordial (delicious and not nearly as cloyingly sweet as Sambuca), and I was wondering if I could make something similar to use as a good orange liqueur. I decided to go the route of a Grand Marinier rather than tripel sec, albeit one with a little more flavor brought to the party.

Grand Marinier is, in essence, orange-infused brandy with sugar added, so naturally, one needs some orange peels. While I’m using the skin of eight oranges (the oranges themselves were juiced for fresh mimosas for at-home brunch), I also threw in a tablespoon of bitter orange peel and some cloves to add a bit more complexity to the party. Combined with sugar and brandy into a freezer bag and placed in a 150-degree water bath, I let the mixture infuse for a couple of hours while we went on with our typical Sunday afternoon. 

Why am I using an immersion circulator to infuse the brandy when I have my iSi? Well, there are a few reasons: I can infuse more than a cup at a time using the IC, and I can add sugar directly to the mixture if I so desire. Don’t get me wrong–I still use the iSi for more specific drink purposes, but I like the IC’s ability to make an all-in-one cordial in a few hours.

All told, the less-spendy version of the Break-Bumper looks a little like this:

  • 1 oz Maker’s Mark bourbon
  • ½ oz spiced orange cordial
  • 7 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • 7 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters
  • Splash of Dibon cava
  • A twist of lemon that came from the grocery store
  • A sprig of rosemary, either from the grocery store or your windowsill herb garden

To make it fancy again, though, I made one of each of us in my inherited crystal old-fashioned glasses, so even if this cocktail isn’t quite as fabulous as the one from the show, it still looks great.

The Ident Bumper

As inspired by the show Succession

  • 1 oz Maker’s Mark bourbon
  • ½ oz spiced orange cordial
  • 7 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • 7 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters
  • Splash of chilled Dibon cava
  • A twist of lemon  and a sprig of rosemary, for garnish

(NOTE: I’ve updated this cocktail recipe since then by stirring the bourbon, brandy, and bitters with ice and straining into an old-fashioned glass.)

In a cocktail shaker or pitcher half-filled with ice, combine bourbon, brandy, both bitters and stir well; strain into the old-fashioned glass and finish off with a splash of cava and a generous twist of lemon, a sprig of rosemary, and serve immediately.

Immersion-circulator spiced orange liqueur

Inspired by the Anova Culinary website and this recipe from Serious Eats

  • 2 cups brandy
  • 8 oranges
  • 1 tablespoon bitter orange peels (can be found here
  • 4 cloves
  • ½ cup sugar

Special equipment: immersion circulator, pot or vessel, and name-brand freezer bags

Set the immersion circulator into the container that will hold water (I use an 18-quart bin) that is filled with hot water and set the temperature to 150 degrees. While the bath comes to temperature, peel the oranges using a vegetable peeler; if any pith is noticeable, scrape it off using a paring knife. Combine the orange peel, bitter orange peel, cloves, and sugar into a freezer bag and place it into the water bath. If necessary, weigh down the bag using stainless steel balls (also called ball bearings). Let the bag sit in the bath for at least 2 hours before evacuating to an ice bath. When cool, strain the brandy into a bowl with a sieve, and then strain again when pouring the brandy into a bottle. Can be kept at room temperature for up to a year, but is best used within the first six months.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Carter says:

    The Reddit user who “figured out this recipe” entirely made up a recipe based on what they thought such a cocktail would be, made from the most expensive ingredients as fit for the characters of Succession.

    The user even admitted they created the recipe later in the Reddit thread you linked to –

    “Totally invented using the most premium ingredients I could think of!”

    1. elizabeth says:

      Fair enough–I don’t think that comment was there when I found the thread more than two years ago, but maybe I missed it–but it comes from understanding the characters well, especially the Pierces who have the ability to get the most expensive ingredients and would fuck them up by ruining them in a cocktail because they don’t drink. I just wanted to give credit where credit was due, because I didn’t make this up out of thin air.

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