Sepia's Death & Taxes Recipe

Sepia's Death & Taxes Recipe

[Photograph: Roger Kamholz]

The base spirit of this cocktail, Sheep Dip blended Scotch whisky, gets its name from an old term Scottish farmers used to disguise casks of homemade hooch. To avoid taxes (and the disapproval of their wives) they labeled barrels of bootleg Scotch as Sheep Dip, an insecticide used to delouse sheep.

To balance out the cocktail's Scottish brogue, Sepia bartender Logan Lavachek used a one-two punch of Grecian flavor: equal parts Metaxa grape brandy and a housemade oregano Earl Grey syrup.

Creole Bitters are available online.

  • Yield:Makes 1 cocktail
  • Active time: 1 minute
  • Total time:5 minutes


  • For the Oregano Earl Grey Syrup
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 Earl Grey teabag
  • 1 full sprig oregano
  • 1 cup sugar
  • For the Cocktail
  • 3/4 ounce Oregano Earl Grey syrup
  • 1 1/2 ounces Sheep Dip blended malt Scotch whisky
  • 3/4 ounce Metaxa
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • Dash fresh grapefruit juice
  • Dash Creole bitters
  • 2 twists grapefruit peel


  1. 1.

    To make Oregano Earl Grey syrup, brew 1 cup Earl Grey tea with oregano along with tea bag. Remove teabag and oregano and discard. Stir in sugar until dissolved. Let cool.

  2. 2.

    In a cocktail shaker, combine 3/4 ounce Oregano Earl Grey syrup, Scotch, Metaxa, lemon juice, grapefruit juice, and bitters. Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled coupe glass. Express oils from one grapefruit twist over glass and garnish with the other.