Sweet And Savory: 3 Original Craft Cocktails To Make With Bitters

They cure what ails you.

bitters
Photo by Adam Jaime via Unsplash

Craft cocktails have made incredible leaps and bounds over the past dozen or so years. Nothing is more in evidence than the augmentations, such as bitters, shrubs, syrups, tonics, cola, and even flowers — each variety and flavor designed specifically for the craft cocktail bar.

Visit your neighborhood mixology bar; they are popping up all over like microbrew bars did about ten years ago. You can tell a mixology bar by a couple of things. Look over at the bar. Should you see little medicine droppers on tiny bottles lined up in a row, you’re probably in the right place. Look further, do you see liquors on the shelf that you don’t recognize? Getting warmer, you are. What about that over there? It looks like they refrigerate their Vermouth (if they don’t, throw it out!). And the ice, wow, such large cubes and crystal clear.

(OK, please don’t get hung up on clear ice, not everyone gets ice and are ice-nerds, but I digress.)

Read More: https://thefreshtoast.com/culture/sweet-and-savory-3-original-craft-cocktails-to-make-with-bitters/

 

The Mezzrole Recipe!

https://bevvy.co/cocktail/mezzrole/luhy

I’m a huge fan of Manhattan-style cocktails; they make great aperitifs. This one is named after Milton “Mezz” Mezzrow, a jazz musician who lived in Harlem in the 1920s. And, as Mezz himself would have known, the term for a well-rolled cannabis cigarette was a “mezzrole”—so I just had to commemorate both man and medicine in this elegant cocktail. It combines cannabis-infused sweet vermouth, handmade cocktail cherries, and quality bourbon into a small, but well-formed, libation that’s deeply healing.

Mezzrole_Cocktail_blog_title

When you’re infusing your vermouth, consider choosing a Sativa-Indica hybrid strain called Cherry Pie. It’s redolent of sweet and sour cherries, and it complements the toasty, oaky flavors inherent in the liquors. As for making crushed ice, it’s best to place the ice in a Lewis bag—a heavy canvas bag that’s made for the job—before whacking it with a wooden mallet or rolling pin.

This recipe calls for Greenish Cocktail Cherries.

  • 4-6 Greenish Cocktail Cherries
  •  0.5 oz (15 ml) cannabis-infused vermouth, such as Uncouth Vermouth’s Seasonal Wildflower Blend
  •  Handful of crushed ice
  • 1 oz (30 ml) bourbon whiskey
  •  Aromatic bitters
PREPARATION
  1. Muddle the Greenish Cocktail Cherries with a wooden muddler or the handle of a wooden spoon, then top with the vermouth.
  2. Continue to muddle for 30 seconds to combine the flavors.
  3. Cover with the crushed ice.
  4. Top with the bourbon, then dot with aromatic bitters.
  5. Don’t have two; one should be more than enough.

The Dramatis Personae

The Dramatis Personae is my Cocktail Whisperer’s riff on the Vieux Carré, the classic New Orleans cocktail. My version calls for belly-friendly Creole bitters, and uses Calvados, or apple brandy, in place of cognac. Sound like an unusual cast of characters? It gets better. Enter a spritz of Infused Absinthe, stage right.

Finish the Dramatis Personae by pouring a little Infused Absinthe into an atomizer or spray bottle, and topping the drink with just a whiff of the medicated spirit. When you’re infusing your absinthe, try an Indica strain like Mr. Nice. It’s earthy and sweet, with pungent aromatics that enhance the aniseed and herbal notes in the absinthe.

Text reprinted with permission, c/o Fair Winds Press, an imprint of Quarto Publishing Group.

  • Marijuana smoke, to flavor
  • Ice
  • 0.5 oz (15 ml) rye whiskey
  • 0.5 oz (15 ml) sweet vermouth
  • 0.25 oz Calvados
  • 3-4 dashes Creole-style bitters
  • 2-3 dashes aromatic bitters
  • Spritz of infused absinthe
PREPARATION
  1. Before you fill your mixing glass with ice, turn it upside down and burn some cannabis under it in order to fill it with smoke.
  2. Turn it right side up, and immediately fill it three-quarters full with ice (now you’ve made smoked ice!).
  3. Add all the other ingredients except the absinthe, and stir fifty times.
  4. Strain into a pre-chilled glass, and finish with a spritz of Infused Absinthe.

     Dramatis Personae.

    Dramatis Personae.

https://bevvy.co/cocktail/dramatis-personae/muhy

Bitters & Shrub Syrup Cocktails Reviewed, By Warren Bobrow, The Cocktail Whisperer

Whenever Warren Bobrow says he’s publishing a new cocktail book, I get excited, very, very excited. Warren speaks my health & kitchen language- apothecary, homeopathic, restorative, small-batch… Words I live by and the ingredients I create with.

garden-eats-bitters-shrub-syrup-cocktails-warren-bobrow-author garden-eats-warren-bobrow-bitters-shrub-syrup-cocktails

His latest, Bitters & Shrub Syrup Cocktails was created in the spirit of medicinally-themed drinks, and to my personal delight, features mocktails throughout- I make use of mocktails both when entertaining and prescriptively in private practice with patients. The “Theodore Allen” mocktail, Bobrow’s nod to the notorious NYC saloon owner of the 1800’s {not to be mistaken with Theodore Allen, the activist} still conjures a boozy palette sensation thanks to the combination of the sweet and acrid roots fennel, parsnip and carrot, but makes for a socially acceptable, before 11 am drink because, well, it is in fact, sans alcohol!

True to his common theme of improving on the past, Warren’s new collection reaffirms that…

“the essential components in drinks haven’t changed too much over the centuries. Bitters are still made by steeping flower essences, roots, and spices in liquor. Acerbic, botanical-rich digestifs like Underberg still improve digestion after a sumptuous meal. And shrubs are still simple, flavorful combinations of fruit, sugar and vinegar- just like they were centuries ago.”

If at the bar you request spicy, herby, bitter, citrusy or even sweet, Bobrow’s newest collection is on board with your flavor faves. If you’re new to shrubs and bitters, yes, they can literally taste bitter, but really offer far greater sensory depth- think sweet, aromatic or astringent, crisp and spicy, sometimes woody, smoky and earthy- they will never bore, they are not forgettable flavors, they make you want more, many, many more drinks!

Shrubs are especially easy to get hooked on, or at least they have always been a favorite of mine considering I love anything with a hint of vinegar. As Warren expertly explains, they’re darn easy to prepare, simply requiring a hint of patience on your part at home.

Warren’s suggestion that his libations are medicinal? They are. It isn’t just that Warren mixed healthy ingredients together then touted their medicinal virtues- he has quite the solid sensibility of what ingredients accentuate one another therapeutically and how they might quell your indigestion, lighten your mood or nourish your blood. Yes, beverages containing alcohol can ameliorate your ills and assist in improving the bioavailability of nutrient-rich ingredients. Even Warren’s gastrique recipes are healthy.

Speaking of gastriques- they can invigorate the blood, completely improve the medicinal effects of cuisine and are quite divine. Completely uncomplicated, gastriques require few ingredients, are easy to master… I tried the Lapsang Souchong Gastrique with Scotch and turmeric soaked white fish and the Sazerac Gastrique to marinate Maytag blue cheese and crushed hazelnuts. The first surprised, it was a total flavor experiment combining Lapsang Souchang with turmeric and the second was satisfying in a fulfilling-a-sweet-craving sort of way!

As a concoctor-experimenter-health-driven food lover-creator, I appreciate that there really are always new recipes and adapted methods I’ve not yet tried and come to adopt. For the bar or kitchen novice, Warren’s books, especially Bitters & Shrub Syrup Cocktails are pouring with stories and anecdotes that help build cocktail-making confidence. There is not an ounce of pretentiousness throughout Warren’s pages, only recipes that give you more reason to invite friends over, throw parties or up your behind-the-bar game.

I’ve been drinking the “Celery Nectarine Fizz” and “Shall We Talk of Business, Madam?” two tangy & spicy libations that call for shrubs. My current favorite is however “Chances In The Fog”, a simple gin-based cocktail that conjures old-world taste and of course, calls for a shrub!

Chances In The Fog

What You’ll Need

  • 2 oz London dry gin
  • 1 oz Heirloom Tomato, Pear and Sage Shrub  {grab Warren’s book for the shrub recipe}
  • 1/2 oz seltzer
  • 3 dashes aromatic bitters

Method

Fill a cocktail glass three-quarters full with ice. Add gin and shrub. Use a long cocktail spoon to stir for 30 strokes. Use a hawthorne strainer to strain the mixture into a coupe. Top with aromatic bitters and seltzer.

Want to score a copy of Warren’s new book? You’re in luck, we’re giving one away! Enter to win by following us and Warren on Instagram and leave a hashtag on my post #Warrenbobrow. We’ll randomly choose a winner in two weeks.

In NorCal this weekend? Go meet Warren, get a book signed and give him a hug from me. You can see him speaking at UC Berkeley on the 21st of June in the Botanical Garden and atOmnivore Books the day before.

Warren is published by the wonderful folks at Fair Winds of the Quarto Publishing Group.

ASHEVILLE COCKTAIL WEEK!!

Do please join me!

https://mountainx.com/food/high-spirits-a-guide-to-asheville-cocktail-week/

May 1-8  Best Bloody Mary Contest takes place at participating Asheville bars and restaurants

Wednesday, May 4 Cocktail Theatre with Rob Floyd

Thursday, May 5  Spirit Dinner at Rhubarb with Warren Bobrow and John Fleer, Cinco de Mayo tasting and bar crawl with Hornitos tequila at The Imperial Life

Friday, May 6  Book signing with Warren Bobrow at Malaprop’s, Southeastern Distilling Expo at the S&W Building (service industry only; free of charge), Industry seminars at the S&W (service industry only; free of charge), Fourth annual ELIXIR bar competition at the S&W

Saturday, May 7 Hangover Brunch at The Imperial Life with Cathead Vodka, Cocktail tours with Eating Asheville, Kentucky Derby Party at the Smoky Park Supper Club’s Boat House, with Maker’s Mark, Old Fashioned Nightcap with Knob Creek on the rooftop of the Social Lounge

Sunday, May 8 Best Bloody Mary Contest results released online

All events require either tickets or an RSVP. For ticketing, schedule details and more information, visit ashevillewineandfood.com.

Teeling Whiskey and Barrell Bourbon, Two Delights, recently discovered. from Foodista.com (yes, I’m on the masthead!)

Teeling Whiskey and Barrell Bourbon, Two Delights, recently discovered.

Whiskey Cocktails is coming out in a few short weeks, so it seems to reason that my mailbox is suddenly full of whiskey!In this case I’ve received several fine bottles that I’d like to share with you.  The first one is Ireland in every sip.  The Spirit of Dublin, Teeling Whiskey is one such example of high quality.  They represent Ireland in each sip, in fact when I uncorked the bottle, the very aroma placed me on the Temple Bar, enjoying the mist against my face and Irish Whiskey woven into coffee, filling my belly with happy warmth.

I’m trying not to lose sleep over claims about what Craft Distilling means outside of marketing, nor am I getting bent out of shape about “Small Batch” and what actually constitutes that statement in the broad context of the word.

But what I will say is Teeling Whiskey makes statements on their label about the lack of chill filtration and the fact that they use former rum casks for a deeper and sweeter finish.  What I do know is that they use cork on their bottle finish and I do like that extra effort for quality.

I also like the bottle shape and the color- a deep brown/green/black that should ostensibly protect the fine spirits held within from damaging rays of the sun.  Who knows, but it certainly is a handsome bottle design.

The label evokes the feeling of another time- perhaps less hurried.  And when enjoyed out of my Bormioli tasting glass, I truly get what this whiskey has to offer.

It’s really luscious in the mouth and it finishes astonishingly sweet without a hint of smoke- because in Ireland their whiskies are sweet in their flavor profile.

 

For that reason I like to craft cocktails with Irish Whiskey

Teeling is as good as I’ve had in what appears to be a well crafted spirit. It’s something new and I know you will want to taste it.  So seek it out and don’t be afraid to mix it up a bit.  To that end I offer you a fine cocktail.

Black Irish Smash

 We know that adventurous Spanish sailors followed the Gulf Stream up to Ireland looking for conquests and fishing grounds.  Some stayed and gave the island an entirely new population.  Black Irish people, are the amalgamation of Irish people and those Spanish sailors.  Hence the cocktail.

2 oz. Teeling “Small Batch” Irish Whiskey

4 oz. home-made lemonade – Sweetened to taste with your own mint simple syrup (Mint Simple Syrup 1:1 mint to sugar to 1 cup almost boiling water- steep overnight or longer in the fridge and then filter out mint)

1 oz. Mountain Valley Sparkling Water

4 drops El Guapo Chicory-Pecan Bitters

very tiny pinch of sea salt

Prep:

To a mixing glass, fill 3/4 with ice

add the lemonade and pour the whiskey over the top and stir until mixed

Strain into two rocks glasses with one cracked 2×2 cube in each

Top with a splash of the sparkling water, add a very small pinch of sea salt

Finish with the bitters and garnish with a sprig of fresh mint for clarity

 

Barrell Bourbon is clearly getting my attention because it tastes like success.  Good luck finding it though- you can make this your quest, like that of Pappy Van Winkle, another very hard to get commodity.  I think that Barrell is a bit easier to get because of the nature of distribution.  They are not a huge company yet, so sale of this whiskey is pretty normal.  If you find it, buy it because a case is just six bottles and there aren’t too many of them around.

But why give you only bad news?

That’s certainly not my intention.

They say that Barrell Bourbon served at cask strength is just too strong for most palates.  So it needs a bit of water to reveal the inner flavors.  But I think it needs some mixing up.  Perhaps that’s just the twisted part of why I love what I do.  May I suggest doing a wash with Lucid Absinthe in your glass?  Then some pineapple that has been both grilled and then juiced?  Perhaps a sage leaf, lit on fire and the smoke captured by the inside of a Boston shaker?  The honor for teaching me this technique is firmly on the shoulders of the head bartender from Secreto in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Chris Milligan.  He taught me this art.

Ah.. it’s darned good stuff.  Pay attention though.  This cocktail does work with any high proof bourbon or rye.

The Antidote

3 oz. Barrell Bourbon (bottling 002, because 001 just isn’t around any longer)

1/4 oz. Lucid Absinthe- wash rocks glasses with Lucid Absinthe and a bit of ice to cool, let sit

2 oz. Grilled Pineapple juice

1 oz. Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice

1/2 oz. Freshly Squeezed Grapefruit juice

2-3 Sage Leaves

Crushed Ice

1 oz. Simple Syrup

3-6 Drops of El Guapo Gumbo Bitters

Sprig of mint

 

Prep:

Light your sage in a fireproof ashtray

Capture the sage smoke in your Boston Shaker

Fill the Boston Shaker 3/4 with ice (and the sage smoke)

Add the juices and the simple Syrup

Add the Barrell Bourbon

Cap and shake for 20 seconds

Pour out the water and the Lucid absinthe into your mouth (why waste good liquor?)

Add 1 cube of 2×2 ice to each glass

Pour your mixture over the ice

Dot with the El Guapo Gumbo Bitters

Garnish with the mint

Serve to a happy camper