The Bitters End
Herbal cocktail tinctures warm up NYC
Life / 24 Jan 2012
With suspender-wearing mixologists becoming cocktail lounge mainstays, oenophiles getting creative with their wines, and elaborate punch bowl drinks showing up on cocktail menus, it follows that old-fashioned bitters would get their due. With the revival in full swing, New York has become the boomtown home to a bevy of small-batch, handmade brands redefining the 19th century staple.
Brooklyn Hemispherical Bitters:
When Jason Rowan and Mark Buettler launched Brooklyn Hemispherical Bitters about a year ago, their target audience was bartenders. But when all 75 bottles of their maiden batch sold out by the end of the first month, it became clear that its appeal was much more wide-reaching. Since then, they’ve upped production, creating inventive flavors like Rhubarb and Black Mission Fig. Amateur cocktail mixers who aren’t quite sure what to do with a bottle of Sriracha bitters can look to the pros: Brooklyn Hemispherical Bitters are appearing on menus at hotspots like Momofuku Ssäm Bar, where mixologists Chris Harrington and John DeBary serve a Mango Sriracha cocktail.
Dutch’s Colonial Cocktail Bitters:
Angostura bitters were born in 1824, but Dutch’s Spirits is going further back with their Cocktail Bitters that evoke the 18th century. Using botanical ingredients found in the favored tonics and scents of the time, the line features American Spicebush and Kinnikinnick leaf, both introduced to colonial settlers by Native Americans, as well as Indian red rose petals, Turkish bitter orange peel, and Hungarian angelica seed. It’s the first in a series of Dutch’s bitters blends that will reflect different periods in American history, with distiller Jonathan Forester using a Prohibition-era facility to craft them. Fortunately, there’s no need to go underground to get your hands on a bottle.
Bittermens: Bittermens
’ roots lie in San Francisco, but last year owners Avery and Janet Glasser moved their company to New York. A subsequent rebranding has led to label changes and an organic overhaul, yet it’s the experimental flavor profiles (Xocolatl Mole, Orchard Street Celery Shrub, Hellfire Habanero Shrub) that have arguably become the stars. Ensuring that imbibers know how to best use them, their website serves as a veritable bartenders’ manual, with cocktail recipes formulated by mixologists from acclaimed libation-centric establishments PDT and Death & Co. Bittermens’ also just launched a line of liqueurs, some of which sound like the perfect prescription for a winter cold.
©The Intelligence Group