Few cocktail folks can possibly have missed the Boker´s Bitters project by Adam Elmegirab – Evo-lution Bar Consultancy – but if you have read on.

In aiming to recreate the drinks recipes by Jerry Thomas 1862 “Bartender´s Guide – How to Mix Drinks or The Bon Vivants Companion” Adam discovered he needed to have Boker`s bitters which are a key ingredient in many classic cocktails like the Japanese Cocktail, Crusta, Martinez and Improved Holland Gin Cocktail. The problem was that Boker´s was defunkt since long ago and a recreation was needed based on a recipe from the late 1800`s.

Adam used a recipe printed in 1883 by Robert Haldayne´s “Workshop receipts” and Scientific American Cyclopedia of Receipts, Notes & Queries 1898), as well as reading tasting notes from those fortunate enough to have tried original Boker’s. After a lot of research, experiments etc the bottles are now sent out around the globe to countries and various places such as  San Francisco, Arizona, Georgia, London, Plymouth, New York, Belfast, Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Rovaniemi, Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Sweden, Los Angeles, Munich..to name a few. These new Boker´s Bitters are now a world citizen – already used in many bars.

Some of the botanicals used in these bitters are quassia bark, areca catechu, calamus root sub, dried orange peel and cardamom. He started out by macerating the botaniclas together in one container, but found out that to make a difference to the final product and monitor what was happening he had to separate the botanicals into individual containers and try each botanical daily.

Once everything is filtered and combined they are coloured with mallow flowers and then diluted and finally a secret ingredient is added that brings everything together. Its much more to it than this brief description and some can be read about at the Chanticleer Society which is a “Worldwide Organization of Cocktail Enthusiasts” run by Robert Hess -  an organization designed by cocktailians, for cocktailians.

It was in the Chanticleer´s forums i first read about the Boker`s bitters project that was going to take place. I was very fascinated by the whole thing and how its hand-made at “home-level” and now finally when the bottles are released its with great pleasure i now try and test them. It strikes me how passionate cocktail folks are about what they are doing whether its making bitters, tinctures, cocktails, blogging, consulting, bartending, books whatever – its a set of truly passionate people doing their things stirred by the love for the art of the cocktail.

At first sight i found the label created by Christian Bell quite stunning with beautiful printing and colours.The next thing i did was to open the bottle and feel the smell and immediately i said to myself “wow” this smells good!

Adding a few dashes on my hand i proceeded to taste the bitters and yes, they are nice. The flavours i did detect was dark chocolate, coffee and cardamom but there`s more that i can´t really say what it is.

So now the next question was, in which cocktail do i try these first? KP suggested i make the Japanese cocktail. Its a yummy and strongly flavoured little cocktail, i think the orgeat really does a good job here to balace out the brandy and bitters.

And these bitters does very well here . Try it!


Japanese Cocktail

  • 1 Tbsp Orgeat
  • 1/2 tsp homemade Boker’s
  • 2 oz of Brandy

Stir with Ice, strain into champagne saucer. Garnish with 1 or 2 twists of Lemon Peel.

Reading Jerry’s book there´s  a reference for Bogart’s bitters, but that is a typo.

So that`s my first drink with Adam`s Boker´s bitters and i like it – more will follow. I did cut down at bit on the orgeat though to 1/5  tbsp. It looks to me that this first bitters-project has been successful and i`m sure there will be more to come. The production of these Boker’s starts and finishes in the kitchen in his own home and the labels are self-printed , hand signed and then stuck to each bottle before sealing for further distribution.

The bitters come in 100ml dasher bottles with an approx ABV of 30%. The price at the moment is £12.00 per 100ml (plus postage & packaging.

Wanna get the bitters? contact Adam at [email protected] Mob – +44 (0) 7796 620617

They go fast!