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#1 Ambear

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 11:31 AM

I've been running across more and more recipes that call for bitters, and because I've never owned them to know specifically what they taste/smell like or had many drinks using them. I'd like to start experimenting, but don't know which to go out and buy to play with...preferably something with minimal artificial coloring/flavoring.
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#2 Ron

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 12:55 PM

There are some companies making exceptional lines of bitters, and quite a few members here will be able to give you their thoughts. At a minimum, I suggest you grab the standards, Peychaud's and Angostura.
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#3 Joe Legate

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 01:29 PM

Regan's Orange Bitters (a *must* for a Martini) and almost anything from Fee Bros.
We use Peychaud's 3 or 4 times a week. :cheers:

#4 sardonix

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 02:14 PM

No bar is complete without a bottle of Peychaud's.
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#5 Absomphe

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 02:38 PM

Word!

Yes, I'm Krinkles the Clown on an absinthe a beer bender.

You got a problem with that?


#6 pierreverte

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 02:43 PM

This will be an interesting summer for bitters...
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#7 AiO

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 02:51 PM

Bitters are an essential cocktail ingredient; used in drops and dashes, they add subtle nuances and shades of complexity to drinks that call for them. The three most commonly used--Angostura, Peychaud's, and orange (like Joe, I prefer Regan's)--have already been mentioned. Angostura bitters have a Christmas-y aroma and flavor: lots of clove, allspice, and cinnamon. Peychaud's bitters are peppery almost medicinal tasting (no surprise), with anise and cherry notes. You can probably guess what the orange bitters taste like, though there are a variety of them out there, each with their own unique flavor profile.

I'm not a huge fan of Fee's line of bitters--I find most of them overly sweet and cloying, with an artificial flavor--though there's no denying that the company did a lot to bring bitters back into vogue. Their old-fashioned and whiskey barrel aged bitters are pretty tasty, as are their peach, grapefruit, and Aztec chocolate bitters.

I'm a fan of Bitter Truth's line of bitters (available through DUNY)--love the Creole bitters as a replacement for Peychaud's--and there are a number of brands available through Cocktail Kingdom, including Scrappy's, which are supposed to be very good but which I haven't tried yet. Looking forward to trying the reformulated Boker's bitters too.

Happy hunting!
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#8 Brian Robinson

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 03:20 PM

I second what Aio said. Cocktail Kingdom is a great place to get them, as is DUNY. Scrappy's are wonderful.

I'm up to about 80 different brands and I make quite a few different flavors of bitters, as do several others here. Feel free to PM me if you would like to try some or want some recipes.

And I can't wait to try what Peter's cooking up...
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#9 Zman (Marc Bernhard)

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 05:19 PM

Ditto on the Scrappy's.

If you don't like anise at all, you're not likely to care for any decent absinthe, as absinthe is an anise flavored drink. It's kind of like asking if there are any good beers that don't taste like hops or malt.----Hiram

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Woodinville, WA, USA
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#10 Gwydion Stone

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 06:50 PM

What they said. Bitter Truth, Scrappy's, Fee's, Angostura and Peychaud's.

It can be argued that one cannot make a true cocktail without bitters. They're the condiment of the drinks world. Think of them the way you would herbs and spices in cooking.


If one is going to make cocktails at home, one must have, at a minimum, three specific bitters:

• An "aromatic" style bitters. Angostura is the classic of this type. Fee's makes a good aromatic bitters and their whiskey-barrel-aged version is very nice.

• Peychaud's Bitters™. A creature unto itself and—until the Bitter Truth guys came up with their Creole Bitters—the only bitters to be used in a Sazerac.

• Orange bitters. I actually like the Angostura Orange a lot (different from the regular Angostura Aromatic). Regan's is great in a martini, Scrappy's is good too. I'm not a fan of the Fee's orange, it's too orange-lolly-pop for me. Although...

Fee's peach bitters is great, as is their rhubarb bitters. Beware their lemon bitters: on every bottle I've had the lemon oil deforms the dasher top and it falls right into the drink, along with a huge splash of bitters.

Bitter Truth's celery bitters is amazing.


This will be an interesting summer for bitters...

Tease.

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#11 AiO

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Posted 05 May 2011 - 05:20 AM

Yeah, PV's one of the biggest Cocktail Teases around.

Looking forward to trying his violette and picon substitute too.
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#12 Brian Robinson

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Posted 05 May 2011 - 06:36 AM

Hell yes!

I think the violette should be in DC in the next few weeks if it isn't already.
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#13 Ambear

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 07:01 PM

Ooo...violette. I have a big bottle of the violette Monin syrup that I love.

Looks like I'm more or less out of luck as far as bitters go in the area. I picked up a bottle of the Fee Brothers Old Fashioned bitters, and I did find a bottle of Angostura aromatic bitters at the grocery store by my house, oddly enough, but it was $8. Even our big fancy liquor store in the area didn't have other kinds (or bar spoons either. Jerks.)

I'll probably be putting together an absinthe order in the next couple of weeks, most likely through DrinkUpNY...I'll have to toss some in my order then I guess.
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#14 Ambear

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 07:02 PM

Ooo...violette. I have a big bottle of the violette Monin syrup that I love.

Looks like I'm more or less out of luck as far as bitters go in the area. I picked up a bottle of the Fee Brothers Old Fashioned bitters, and I did find a bottle of Angostura aromatic bitters at the grocery store by my house, oddly enough, but it was $8. Even our big fancy liquor store in the area didn't have other kinds (or bar spoons either. Jerks.)

I'll probably be putting together an absinthe order in the next couple of weeks, most likely through DrinkUpNY...I'll have to toss some in my order then I guess.
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#15 Joe Legate

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 07:13 PM

You might want to check out Kegworks, too. :wave2:

#16 Ambear

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 07:23 PM

Oh noes...I'm never going to have money again!

Bitter End Thai Cocktail Bitters... :dribble:
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#17 Brian Robinson

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 01:47 AM

They are pretty tasty. Bitter End has very good products.
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#18 AiO

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Posted 10 May 2011 - 03:47 AM

I picked up a bottle of their Memphis BBQ bitters not too long ago. Couldn't resist the hometown homage. Very tasty! Still trying to come up with a cocktail that really showcases them....
"Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot" -- Charlie Chaplin

#19 Brian Robinson

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Posted 07 October 2011 - 06:44 AM

I just picked up a big bottle of the old J&W Peychauds, so I decided to take a family pic of some of the vintage brands I've got on the shelf now.

Attached File  293642_10150337784404001_704719000_8236591_1513432008_n.jpg   60.7KB   18 downloads
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#20 pierreverte

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Posted 07 October 2011 - 06:55 AM

http://www.abbottsbitters.com/
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#21 Brian Robinson

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Posted 07 October 2011 - 07:15 AM

:yahoo:
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#22 Absomphe

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Posted 07 October 2011 - 11:56 AM

What he exulted over! :thumbup:

Yes, I'm Krinkles the Clown on an absinthe a beer bender.

You got a problem with that?


#23 TheLoucheyMonster!

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Posted 08 October 2011 - 03:08 PM

I found an interesting list of bitters at Masters of Malt, here are just a few what they have:
Wormwood Bitter
Naga Chilli Bitters
Chipotle Bitters
Black Pepper Bitters
Cumin Bitters
Frankincense Bitters
Dr Adam Elmegirab's Boker's Bitters
Dr Adam Elmegirab's Dandelion and Burdock Bitters
Gentian Bitters
Cardamom Bitters
Clove Bitters
Coriander Bitters
Fennel Bitte
Dr Adam Elmegirab's Aphrodite Bitters
Angelica Bitters
Liquorice Bitters

and about a dozen more, I just chose a few that looked interesting, or less common.

They also have a very impressive list of about 100 high end whiskey 3cl samples HERE

#24 Brian Robinson

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Posted 08 October 2011 - 06:13 PM

Funny you should mention Masters of Malt. :devil:


Attached File  2011_10_08_22_08_10_796_1.jpg   33.67KB   9 downloads


However, I do take exception to many of the flavors, as they aren't technically bitters, but instead 'single ingredient tinctures'. Still good though.

They also have their own line of bottled cocktails that are quite good. Their shipping is tremendous as well. Three days from date of order to delivery.
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#25 Ambear

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Posted 08 October 2011 - 07:52 PM

I got word of a local girl who works at a bookstore here in town that makes her own bitters. Looks like I have some interrogating to do...
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#26 thegreenimp

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 12:48 PM

I just picked up a big bottle of the old J&W Peychauds, so I decided to take a family pic of some of the vintage brands I've got on the shelf now.

Attached File  293642_10150337784404001_704719000_8236591_1513432008_n.jpg   60.7KB   18 downloads


Prohibition era J&W.
At the close of the day drink an Herbsaint Frappé,...Legendre Herbsaint, always served when absinthe is called for.
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#27 AiO

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 04:36 PM

http://www.abbottsbitters.com/


Sweet!
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#28 Zman (Marc Bernhard)

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 06:56 PM

Speaking of Abbotts Bitters. I found, and purchased, an antique sealed bottle with over 80% still inside. Yay me!

If you don't like anise at all, you're not likely to care for any decent absinthe, as absinthe is an anise flavored drink. It's kind of like asking if there are any good beers that don't taste like hops or malt.----Hiram

Marc Bernhard, owner and Master Distiller of Pacific Distillery LLC
Maker of Pacifique Absinthe and Voyager Single Batch Distilled Gin
Woodinville, WA, USA
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#29 pierreverte

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Posted 02 November 2011 - 01:19 AM

nice, can you post a photo?
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#30 Brian Robinson

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Posted 02 November 2011 - 02:07 AM

:thumbup:
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