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Gillman
04-30-2007, 16:26
Until recently I've not had the chance to try unusual bitters. I've used Angostura and Peycheaud's, also, Collins orange bitters, and gotten good results by my ken.

LeNell and Ben kindly gave me over the weekend a bottle of Fee's Barrel-aged Bitters.

Let me tell you, this is great, and I can see now how a good, distinctive bitters can enhance a cocktail.

I tried it two ways. First, in Old Weller 107 taken down to about 95 proof, with a shot of Angostura added (two shakes of the Fee's, one of Angostura). The whiskey was sweet enough that no sugar was necessary, and it was really good. The Fee's adds a cinnamon/chocolate-like note and marries perfectly with its "cousin", Angostura.

While this was very good on its own, I added half-way through a small teaspoon of (Israeli) Triple Sec. The slight sweetening and faint orange background (the brand I used isn't strong on orange flavor) really "made" this drink. It was an Old-Fashioned, basically, and proved the worth of its storied history.

Contrary to usual practice, I got (in both cases) great results from the unity of one whiskey, but using 40 straights and fine brandy, can be great too, just different.

Thanks again to LeNell and Ben for this generous gift.

Gary

TBoner
04-30-2007, 16:39
I've only recently begun to appreciate bitters, too, thanks in part to finding some Regan's orange bitters locally and thanks also to upping the amount of bitters I use in Manhattans, Martinis, et al.

I would love to sample the Fee's line. I have not ordered any yet, but plan to do so soon: an interesting note on buying bitters is that, in TX, no spirits may be purchased on Sunday, yet bitters is available at the grocery store 7 days/wk. Not spirits, I guess...and no danger that anyone will buy them for drinking straight. Still, an oddity that should mean I can order them online despite TX's ban on receiving liquor shipments.

Regan's orange bitters is a remarkable product, rich and round and nicely pungent. It adds great depth to any rye-based cocktail. I prefer Peychaud's with wheated bourbons (it seems to enhance cherry character in Weller 107 and Old Fitz BIB), and have enjoyed it with some genever, neat, recently. Angostura is a great all-purpose bitters, and a worthy component of any cocktail. I will occasionally add a drop or two of bitters to a neat pour of bourbon, and have found that it enhances the nose, finish, and palate in roughly descending order.

I look forward to getting a taste of more varieties of bitters, and am also considering making my own.

BTW, I haven't seen the barrel-aged bitters on the Fee Bros. website. Anyone know if it's available for general purchase online, or is it a special limited release (or is this another name for the Old-Fashion bitters)?

Gillman
04-30-2007, 18:29
It is called "Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel-Aged Bitters" with a sub-title "Oaken Maturity Achieved 2007: Limited Edition". A side note states, "Freshly emptied oak whiskey barrels from Tennessee, interiors charred and soaked with aged whiskey are used by Fee Brothers to age aromatic bitters".

Tip to the whiskey writers: someone should do a piece on this outfit, they have been in business since 1864!

Gary

Edward_call_me_Ed
05-01-2007, 05:09
an interesting note on buying bitters is that, in TX, no spirits may be purchased on Sunday, yet bitters is available at the grocery store 7 days/wk. Not spirits, I guess...and no danger that anyone will buy them for drinking straight. Still, an oddity that should mean I can order them online despite TX's ban on receiving liquor shipments.

Someone, maybe Chuck, said that bitters were even available during Prohibition.

Ed

sysrick
05-18-2007, 20:56
An interesting short posting about bitters that also states that Angostura will soon be comming out with Orange Bitters:



http://drinkboy.spaces.live.com/Blog/cns!33EA7ACFDAF9B1C9!847.entry

Gillman
05-19-2007, 05:41
That was an excellent article, thanks.

A majority of the pre-Pro bitters mentioned are still around, such as Boonekamp and Fernet Branca and Peychaud. I am not sure about Boker's.

The revival of interest in orange bitters and a new one from Angostura is welcome. Regan's orange bitters is superb.

However, those who can't find orange bitters can add a dash of regular bitters and an orange liqueur of some kind. If you add bitters to an orange vodka or orange gin, ergo orange bitters. If too orangey adjust by adding regular gin or regular vodka. This isn't rocket science.

Gary

scratchline
05-19-2007, 08:11
Boker's and Abbott's are defunct bitters that occasionally can be found on ebay and tend to bring a handsome price. A new brand that comes highly recommended by serious intoxicologists is Bitter Truth:

http://the-bitter-truth.com/

They accept Paypal and Stephan Berg is a pleasure to deal with.

As far as the Fee Bros Barrel-Aged Bitters go, I find them very powerfully Christmas spicy. A little goes a long way. The other night, I used them in Manhattans, and they were a big hit. For those in the DC area, they are available at Schneider's on Capitol Hill.

Bitters like Vermouth are quite variable and in different combinations with different bourbons yield strikingly different results. I'm really looking forward to Angostura's Orange Bitters. Some time ago, I read tasting notes on two different formulas that were being tested, and both were said to be outstanding.

-Mike

TBoner
05-20-2007, 13:17
If it weren't for shipping costs, I'd have already ordered from The Bitter Truth.

As for Fernet Branca, anyone had this stuff? Only available in a 750mL bottle around here. From what I understand, it is used in larger quantities than Angostura, et al., but still, I'd hate to spend a bunch of money for something I won't use up.

The only description I've read of them was "explosive, with a minty edge." Sounds promising, but...

nor02lei
05-20-2007, 14:04
As for Fernet Branca, anyone had this stuff?



Itís an old friend of mine. I always drink it neat in the same type of glass as bourbon. It taste very good but also enormously intense so everything you taste in a long while after a pour of fernet branca is more or less destroyed. It also have incredible medicine effects on all kinds of stomach problems and as far as I know itís the best working nature medicine available for money.

Leif

afisher
05-21-2007, 20:00
I am a big fan of Branca Menta, a Fernet Branca variant with a strong mint flavor. Besides straight as a digestive, it is great as a cooling long drink with ice and soda. Note that these and all the Italian Amaro bitters and just about anything that comes in a 750ml bottle are in a whole different category (I've seen it called beverage bitters) than Angostura, Peychaud, etc. which are used by the drop.

TBoner
05-24-2007, 17:31
Yes, I would definitely not plan on using Fernet Branca or other bitters of that type the same way I use Angostura. Just wondering what experience people can share about quality and the particular flavor elements.

The idea of medicinal use hadn't occurred to me, but there are definitely times where I can see the benefit there.

mier
07-02-2007, 05:35
I`ve got some miniatures of Beerenburg a Dutch bitter based on herbs left,for somebody who`s interested?Eric.

TBoner
07-02-2007, 15:02
Scored a not-so-dusty bottle of Fernet Branca (bottled in 1999) for $11 last week. Three pours later, not a huge fan. I enjoy it most neat. I tried it mixed w/ginger ale and as part of a cocktail (the recipe and the recommendation for G.A. came from some eGullet cocktail enthusiasts). The menthol-like character just blew away anything else I mixed with it. On its own, with no competing flavors, it was a reasonably good, though menthol-esque, digestive bitters, cooling and spicy and, well, bitter. I don't imagine I'll race through the bottle, but the price was right, and it'll find use, medicinally if nothing else. And, hey, it may grow on me. My palate definitely has adapted to enjoying many bitter flavors - in fact, bitter is becoming my favorite flavor. We'll see.

As for Fee Bros, it finally got to Dallas. Not the barrel-aged, but the rest of the line is available at Goody-Goody (not all locations, but several). Have enjoyed a few applications of the orange (not as bitter as Regan's) and peach (a good complement to other bitters and to wheaters). The Old-Fashioned I'd already acquired in MN, and they have become my house bitters (at least until my homemade bitters are ready - which will be very soon).

TBoner
07-05-2007, 19:32
mier,

Tell me more about these Beerenburg bitters. I'm assuming these are potable, like Fernet or Campari? I'm warming up to Fernet as an after-dinner drink (really helped following the bratwurst and sweet corn orgy of yesterday noon). I dig Campari. I found some Unicum recently (the first I've seen of these) that I'm anxious to try. I guess what I'm getting at is that I'm into the potable bitters as well as cocktail bitters.
At any rate, what would you compare the Beerenburg to (herbal makes me think Chartreuse...but bitter)?

mier
07-06-2007, 01:50
Tim,Beerenburg are bitters drunk as a digestive,they are made from jenever with herbs and as jenever every distillery has its own recipe you can compare them with German Jagermeister also the colour resembles.No doubt that Chartreuse is using some of the same herbs but it does not really compare it.If you like to try it let me know i have 4 miniatures ,i don`t use them and maybe you like to try them out.Is the Unicum you have a digestive from Hungary?Eric.

Dr. FranÁois
10-07-2007, 09:32
Don't neglect the importance of Fernet as an anti-nausea medication. Many barkeeps on the west coast keep a bottle under the counter for clients who start looking green. It's usually a free shot: quid pro quo. Customer gets a shot, barkeep doesn't have to clean up intestinal fluids in the middle of a busy shift.

ratcheer
10-07-2007, 11:51
On the topic of bitters, I was asked in another online forum what drinks are made with bitters. I recommended Pink Gin as a traditional cocktail that uses bitters.

So, someone else posted a link to an article in Wikipedia on Pink Gin. It seems that bitters were not added to gin to make the gin better, but instead gin was added to the bitters to make the bitters more palatable. They were taking the bitters medicinally and mixing them with gin to get them down!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pink_gin

Tim

ILLfarmboy
10-07-2007, 19:45
Don't neglect the importance of Fernet as an anti-nausea medication. Many barkeeps on the west coast keep a bottle under the counter for clients who start looking green. It's usually a free shot: quid pro quo. Customer gets a shot, barkeep doesn't have to clean up intestinal fluids in the middle of a busy shift.

That's extremely bad form, Loosing one's liquor 'at the bar'. Luckily, I have never been witness to such an occurrence. Because if I had, drunk or sober, I'd be the next one to hurl.

CrispyCritter
10-13-2007, 22:28
Before the Martini was corrupted with vodka (and especially before the term was corrupted to mean "anything served in a cocktail glass"), it contained orange bitters.

Most cocktails that I make contain some type of bitters, whether it's cocktail bitters like Angostura, Fee's Old Fashioned, Peychaud's, etc., or beverage bitters like Campari, Amaro Ramazzotti, or Punt e Mes.

polyamnesia
12-08-2007, 09:40
anyone tried any of the other bitters like the grapefruit or the blood orange??? seems like a trend, but a good one to applaud!

i've still only had the angostura. odd that it can be bought in the grocery stores and not just liquor stores. 90 proof or so i think...

i am curious about hearing more on that whiskey barrel-aged Fee Bros. bitters...

but still, i need to procure a bottle of the Regan's orange bitters soon.

maybe that will make my OGD BIB sing something i can recognize...

squire
12-08-2007, 17:21
Fee Brothers (founded 1864), certainly, but to make a proper Sazerac cocktail one must use the original Peychaud's bitters available from the founders, Jung & Wolff in New Orleans. Used in the original cocktail in the early 1800s, Given a Diploma of Honor at the Grand Exhibition of Altona-Germany in 1869, and numerous awards since, this bitters received a Gold Medal in the St. Louis Exhibition of 1904 that also honored the "gentleman from Tennessee', Jack Daniel. Manhattan, anyone?

I should mention that Peychaud's bitters have actually been around since the early 1800s and were used early on to spice up brandy based drinks.

Squire

jbaker
02-09-2008, 23:11
Fernet-Branca is fantastic, but is off-putting at first. For me it has this weird "lifted" menthol character that floats above the rest of the aromas of browned herbs and leather. I use it as a bitter and as a beverage bitter. We found, through experimentation, that Ginger Beer is a great pair for it...if you like spicy drinks! Another cool cocktail that it takes well to came out of necescity this past summer: Lemoncello, fernet and San Pellegrino (in descending order of percentage). Tastes like iced tea if you do it right.

Love Campari and also Amaro Melleti. If you find Melleti, it'll probably be dusty, but not to bad for the time. It's sweeter than Campari, but marries well with San Pellegrino.

Has anyone tried Becherovka (Czech Republic)? Curious about that one.

texascarl
02-09-2008, 23:58
You can buy Angostura and other non-potable bitters in the grocery 7 days a week because they're non-potable. Deemed 'unfit to drink' in their current form, so the bluenose set isn't worried that you'll get drunk on them. It's frankly easier to get drunk on Listerine.
The Regans talked about having to doctor up their orange bitters in order to pass a non-potability test with the authorities. Gary Regans' first batch or two were too 'drinkable'.

ILLfarmboy
02-11-2008, 09:41
...The Regans talked about having to doctor up their orange bitters in order to pass a non-potability test with the authorities. Gary Regans' first batch or two were too 'drinkable'.

That would have been a sight. A panel of government tasters seeing just how easy or difficult it is to stomach drinking bitters just by itself.

jbaker
02-23-2008, 12:51
If anyone in the Boston area is looking for Regan's Orange Bitters or Peychaud's Bitters, we just ordered some directly from Buffalo Trace (Sazerac) and have enough to share. PM me if you are interested.

Slob
03-13-2008, 13:07
I just received my Regan's Orange, to add to my collection of Angostura, Peychaud's, and the Fee's six-pack. I am absolutely crazy about this stuff. I've been putting bitters in almost everything I drink. I turned chocolate pudding into mint chocolate pudding with the Fee's Mint. I've been rubbing it on steaks. I got my dopey friends at the bar to drop some in their Amstels. I think I have a serious problem. Any other bitters out there you guys recommend?

scratchline
03-13-2008, 13:22
Bitter Truth Bitters are terrific. Have to pay to get them from Germany, but IMO it's worth it. I recently received some Hermes Orange Bitters from Japan and they're also very good. And keep your eyes peeled for these products in the future:

http://bittermens.com/the-bitters/

Of course, I've been waiting for the Angostura Orange forever, so in the world of bitters things happen slowly if at all.

-Mike

OldJack
05-07-2008, 08:25
Fee's mint bitters make for a great glass of sweet tea and can help lazy bums like me make a julep-like drink without all the muddling. Great stuff.

The slightest slpash of Fee Bros. orange bitters are a nice accent to BT on the rocks or any bourbon and coke.