TOTC 2014 – Tastings – Plantation Pineapple Rum, Appleton Rum Brunch and Bulleit New Fashioned!

Plantation Pineapple Rum L pic2

Pineapple Rum Stiggin’s Fancy – Picture Laura Godel

Plantation Rum in Shades of Dark, White and Pineapple!

I was waiting with great excitement for the tasting and launch of the Pineapple Rum Stiggin’s Fancy by Plantation Rum – which I need to make it clear right away, is NOT for sale…..because this rum was an experiment by Alexandre Gabriel and David Wondrich….to be launched and tasted at the Tales of the Cocktail….

Well….I was not disappointed, the rum was delicious! with a deep well matured and slightly smoky pineapple flavor in the background of Plantation rums original dark rum. And the bottle is beautiful!! I asked Alexandre what made the flavor so deep and he told me it”s coming from that the pineapple skin has been distilled – together with pineapple fruit, which also has been macerated.

For being just an experiment I think the outcome was really delicious and very interesting!

Plantation Pineapple tasting queue2

The queue….a nightmare for anyone with a hangover….luckily I was not…and don’t mind all the yellow hats….it’s a Tales thing….

Yep the queue to the tasting room was pure madness and the warm air stood still, but eventually we got in there….and deliciousness awaited…

Plantation pineapple tasting 2

Plantation rums, pineapple, white and dark as shots and in daiquiri cocktails…

Plantation Pineapple Rocky

Here served by Rocky – appropriately painted….I don’t know how he does it, but Rocky really is everywhere…

Plantation pineapple collage

Yours truly with pineapple rum in hand, Alexandre Gabriel – Cognac Ferrand proprietor and spirits mastermind – and more delicious pineapple rum!

Plantation pineapple DTO collage

The DTO – Daiquiri Time Out coin, a treasure/token that was handed out, and which a certain man did drop inside a cab and had the entire cab floor torn up to find it…wherewith the cab driver in utter amazement said that this gotta be a very valuable coin…..

But there’s more to the coin than just a token for the fun of it, according to what I’ve heard, navy officers carried a special coin. When drinking, everyone showed their crew coin. If one person did not have their coin, they had to buy a round of drinks. This gave value to the coin and the tradition.

Now I have one wish….that plantation rum makes more of this fine pineapple rum….I could make use of a bottle…launching a delicious rum like this only for the Tales is really a teaser…!

The Appleton Estate Jamaican Bartender’s Brunch – Rum, Reggae, Food, Sun and Fun!

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Oh my….this was a nice event! a yellow school bus fetching us up outside of Monteleone and serving cocktails on the way to the brunch filled with rum, reggae, Jamaican foods like jerked chicken, lots of fresh fruits and fresh cocktails, Jamaican fizzes, fixes & swizzles made with island flavors and fresh cane juice pressed on site.

And of course one of my favorite rums was there – the JWray overproof – paired with Sanpellegrino!! (to sub Ting) plus Aperol…all by the pool at the Country Club. Very very nice on a hot sunny summer day down here in New Orleans.

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Rum, fruits and fun in the sun!

Appleton Brunch collage 1

Of course some of the usual shady rum suspects were there….The first refreshment was freshly pressed sugarcane juice before continuing to the bar for rum punches and JWray….Appleton also treated us with large red Appleton bath towels and flip flops 🙂

Appleton Brunch collage 3

Well….I wouldn’t mind repeating this….that’s for sure. Just look at that pineapple!

Appleton Brunch collage 2

Or how about this….I dunno….can it get any better??

Appleton Brunch Collage

Jerked chicken, Coladas and sugarcane juice!

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And time for a JWray shot from the melon….Appleton Rum baby! Please come back next year….

And now to something totally different…..

Ruth’s Chris & Bulleit New Fashioned 1965-Style Luncheon

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Bulleit Distilling Co needs no presentation….and this year they had a similar brunch as they did last year which then, was mint julep themed and absolutely fabulous! This years theme was the New Fashioned, a riff on the Old Fashioned…with Bulleit rye, Cherry Heering, orange rind, Italian Amarena cherry, Fee Brother’s black walnut and orange bitters.

The brunch was of course delicious…catered by Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and if you haven’t tried their fantastic food it’s time you do if you have a chance. And the New Fashioned cocktail which will be served at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse was very tasty and the garnish was so beautiful with a shiny black “filthy Amarena cherry” from Filthy Food Premium Drink Garnish, speared on to a dehydrated orange slice.

The wild Amarena cherries are slow cooked in copper pots to produce a wonderful all natural, dark red cherry with a sweet front and tart finish.

Bulleit New Fashioned 1

Hollis Bulleit, Helen Mackey, VP of Menu Strategy & Innovation for Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Tom Bulleit, founder of Bulleit Distilling Company presenting the event and their companies, while the crowd enjoyed an excellent luncheon.

Bulleit New Fashioned 3 food

The Crawfish Monica that was served was fantastic! and everything else too!

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The ingredients to make the New Fashioned….the only thing not in the picture is the jar of “Filthy Amarena Cherries”.

Bulleit 2

I get thirsty when I see this drink in the picture….and the cocktail WAS good! for people in the US – you can join Ruth” s Chris Steakhouse for a nationwide 5-course handcrafted cocktail dinner with the same menu across the US, participating restaurants and pricing vary, see more at Chris Ruth’s Steakhouse website.

Pictures Laura Godel

Next up….more tastings, parties, bars and restaurants…the last picture parade from the tales of the Cocktail 2014!

 

MIXING THROUGH GROG LOG 21 – Eastern Sour

Here`s and old favorite…the Eastern Sour. Orange and lemon juices, sugarcane syrup, orgeat and then rye or bourbon.

It´s drink number 20 in Grog Log and is also featured in Remixed where i also found the Western Sour which contains grapefruit juice and falernum. I find yellow grapefruit juice much tastier in mixed drinks than the pink one, it´s simply fresher and has that sourness which balances so well with sweeteners yet still contains that sour freshness.

The Eastern Sour was made sometimes in the 50s by Trader Vic. He also made the London Sour (sub scotch for the bourbon) and Munich Sour ( cognac) These sours were made for the various Trader Vic`s restaurants.

The Western Sour was featured at Steve Crane`s Kon-Tiki restaurant chain operating in Sheraton hotels across the U.S. Steve Crane and Trader Vic did really compete and in the end Vic did outlast Steve and the Kon_Tiki`s.

So…bourbon or rye?

I like both..but shame on me! –  i`m out of bourbon…so it´s rye to go in both drinks, and i`m using Rittenhouse bonded.  Also i found a few fresh kalamansi limes so i`m gonna use them in both drinks to see what happens.

EASTERN SOUR

Juice of 1/2 orange

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/4 oz orgeat syrup

1/4 oz rock candy syrup (well, i didn´t have that, so i used Petit Canne´s sugarcane syrup)

2 oz rye or bourbon

Now i added: juice of 1 kalamansi lime and garnished also with a sugared rim

Shake well with plenty of crushed ice. Pour unstrained into a double old fashioned glass or short stemmed goblet. Sink spent orange and lemon shells into the drink.

Since the kalamansi is both sweet and sour but a bit more on the sour side i decided to make a sugared rim on the glass to add some extra sweetness. I think it was very tasty with some tangy kalamansi juice in the Eastern Sour even though it doesn´t make itself very much noticed in this drink – just subtle. That said it was very very tasty.

WESTERN SOUR


1 oz white grapefruit juice

0.5 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 oz falernum

0.25 oz sugarcane syrup

2 oz Bourbon (or rye)

Shake well with ice cubes and por unstrained into a double old fashioned glass.

As i suspected, white grapefruit juice and kalamansi limes like each other and plays together very well..and here the two together is da bomb! this drink is so tasty!

The kalamansi transforms the drink from quite average to one step higher. Otherwise the Eastern Sour is in my opinion better than the Western but when kalamansi is in the game it`s slightly the contrary.

Interesting how the addition of just one thing can change things around!

I think i need to go and get me a kalamansi plant so i can have fresh kalamansi limes and make these  drinks all summer!

CAMPARI IN TIKI DRINKS

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I keep coming back to Campari over and over again, not too often but regularly because i really appreciate this bitter and very special tasting aperitif.

It goes perfectly with all kinda citrus fruits and traditionally its the lemon and orange that is used, naturally since that`s what`s growing in Italy – the home land off Campari. Did i say that one of my heros is Gaspare Campari?

As an aperitif with soda, orange or lemon its an aquired taste for many, but there are also many who loves it – me included. As a cocktail ingredient its both challenging and rewarding, and in the right place it can make some fantastic cocktails.

It goes very well with dark rum, gin, tequila – well most spirits actually but especially with those that also goes well with citrus. So how about Campari in tiki drinks? The classic tiki drink with Campari is of course the Jungle Bird, to be found on page 44 in “Intoxica” by Beachbum Berry but is there anything else?

There has been so much written already about Campari in other types of drinks like the negroni or Campari and dark rums but not very much about tiki drinks and there isn´t very much info to find either.

I went out to search..and ended up with the conclusion that if i want a  tiki drink with Campari other than the Jungle Bird or an occasional something i need to invent them myself. .not even in tiki central i found anything much..and that means there´isn`t anything much then.

So eventually, i ended up making these two cocktails:

ULA ULA PUNCH

campari-and-tiki-2

1.5 oz Smith & Cross Jamaican rum

0.5 oz aged rhum agricole, (like Clemènt VSOP)

0.5 oz Campari

1 oz pineapple juice

0.5 oz *limone rosso (or regular lemon)

0.25 oz fresh lime

0.5 oz rich demerara syrup (2:1 demerara sugar and water)

1 tsp hibiscus grenadine

crushed ice

For garnish – 2 small pineapple leaves, 1 cherry, 2 lemon quarters, speared

Shake all ingredients and strain into a rocks glass filled to the brim with crushed ice and garnish with the speared fruits.

This is a grown-up drink…the rhum agricole flavor is nicely blending with the bitterness of the Campari and the sugarcane and molasses from the Jamaican rum is steady in the background. Its much flavors in this drink, but its not no easy flavors since both Campari and rhum agricole isn´t “easy” neither of them.

*Limone rosso is a lemon variety i recently found in our nursery, it has reddish and wrinkled skin and inside it looks a bit different too from the regular lemon.

The fragrance is also stronger and slightly more perfumed. I also found out by tasting the juices from both lemons that the rosso is much more aromatic, mellower and somewhat less sour.

I´m gonna make a tincture with this lemon and its peel, would be interesting to see how that would turn out. Booze nerds are always on the hunt for new flavors..and into experimenting with the sometimes most unlikely flavors.

I like this dink but i cannot say if the limone rosso makes the mixed drink more aromatic compared to a reular lemon but i know i did the taste test before with the juices alone and the rosso was more aromatic, perfumed and also sweeter and not so astringent tart as the regular lemon.

This is a fresh drink and packs a rummy punch as well. But you gotta like both Campari and rhum agricole to really appreciate this cocktail. After a while when the drink “settles” with the ice the flavors comes through mellower and quite wonderfully.

campari-and-tiki-lemons

On the left side is the ordinary lemon and rosso on the right. I think the regular lemon looks quite boring and sleepy in comparaison..

Of course i needed to use it for my cocktails! i accuired my lemon by picking it up from the ground where it had fallen from the bush. I wish it was a staple in our grocery…but i guess i´ll need to buy one of the plants if i want to have more of it.

Cocktail number two uses rye and Campari and turned out very nice.

POLYNESIAN RED

Muddle 1 small piece of Mexican canela (cinnamon) with 0.5 oz sugarcane syrup (Petit Canne) and 4-5 chunks of fresh pineapple, then add:

campari-and-tiki

1 oz Rittenhouse bonded

1 oz Campari

0.25 oz lemon juice (limone rosso if possible)

a very small sprinkle of fresh lime

Shake and double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon quarter and a leaf.

This drink has a balanced mellow flavor and is a very nice cocktail indeed – at least to my palate. The rye, lemon and Campari mixes wonderfully. One i will make again.

And so we come to the last tiki style drink with Campari and this one is a swizzle. Its a twist on the negroni swizzle (made by Giuseppe Gonzalez at Painkiller in New York) turning it from negroni to a rum-swizzle type drink but with both rum and gin.

KAHILI SWIZZLE

kahiki-swizzle

1 oz  gin (Martin Miller`s)

0.5 oz Pusser´s overproof

1 oz Campari

0.5 oz lemon juice (limone rosso if possible)

0.25 oz lime juice

0.5 oz pineapple syrup

1tsp hibiscus syrup

1 oz club soda

Fill a large glass or tiki mug with crushed ice and swizzle with a swizzle stick until frosty. Garnish with lemon peel.

I would define this campariliscious and bitterly fresh with strong undertones…if that makes any sense. I believe that if you like Campari you`ll like this.

I`ve gotten to really like the combo Campari-Pusser`s – the Pusser`s goes fantastic with Campari and then in this drink, there´s a background of an almost floral flavor of the gin that is excellent. One could also use Smith & Cross in this.

Add a straw, sip and enjoy!

campari-and-tiki-glass

VANILLA SMASH to beat the cold

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The fragrance of the lightly bruised mint that blends so well with the fresh lemon and warm vanilla scent is heavenly..

A mix of lemon, rye whiskey and vanilla syrup topped off with fragrant mint, is a sure good drink to beat the cold of the winter.

Its friggin`minus 11 degrees F (-24C) here now, or at least it was yesterday in the morning and i am not a winter person at all, i freeze under 60 and prefer temps in the 90s so i sure need something to keep me warm and the Vanilla Smash is a good drink. Its just my take on the Whiskey Smash, adding some warm fragrant and soothing vanilla in the mix.

Many recipes uses Bourbon but i found one in Jerry Thomas 1862 “How to Mix Drinks” that uses rye instead. This drink is very close to the Mint Julep and if you add some passionfruit syrup and grenadine you get the PortLight.

The Whiskey Smash from Jerry Thomas book is as follows:

WHISKEY SMASH

2 oz rye

2 tbslp simple syrup

1-2 dashes orange bitters

6 mint sprigs

3 lemon wedges

How to mix is the same as with the Vanilla Smash.

Usually i mostly drink rum but i also like whiskey…and in any case i like spirits that`s got natural flavor and personality.

The vanilla i´m using here is a homemade vanilla syrup made with Tahitian beans which i think are the best. I would also warmly recommend Trader Tiki`s vanilla syrup which is outstanding and would do the job just as well.

VANILLA SMASH

vanilla-smash

2 oz rye whiskey

2 lemon wedges

6-8 large mint leaves

0.5 oz vanilla syrup (mine is made with Tahitian beans and light muscovado sugar)

1 vanilla bean for garnish

In a shaker, muddle the lemon wedges to get the essential oils into the drink along with the fresh juice, then add the mint and lightly bruise the leaves but not too hard to avoid bitterness. Add rye and vanilla syrup  Shake vigoriosly  with ice and strain into a rocks glass with ice chunks. Garnish with a vanilla bean.

There´s something i particularly like with this cocktail..the fragrance of the lightly bruised mint that blends so well with the fresh lemon and warm vanilla scent is heavenly..

The flavor is ridiculously tasty, i think i have a winner here! one of those that i will keep in rotation.

Try it! Enjoy!

vanilla-syrup-with-muscovado

Freshly made vanilla syrup with light muscovado sugar.

CANAL STREET DAISY

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A little bit of sour, a little bit of sweet,  a little bit of strong and finally some weak..and no, its not a Planter`s Punch i`m making – its a Canal Street Daisy!

It takes its name from the famous Canal street which was made in the colonial era and divided the downriver older French/Spanish quarter and the newer upper American part of the city.The street was built where New Orleans was supposed to get a canal to be the dividing line.The canal was never made and so instead the Canal street street was constructed.

The wide median earmarked for the canal was referred to by early inhabitants as the “neutral ground”, due to the animosities amongst culturally distant residents on separate sides of the avenue. The term is still used in NO to refer to all street medians.

It´s a wide street and here`s where they meet – New Orleans historical streetcars. I like Canal street and since i`ve never yet had any Canal Street Daisy i wanted to try it out and see if i liked it too. I found the drink in my book “Famous New Orleans Cocktails and how to mix`em” by Stanley Clisby Arthur. It was first written in 1937.

This drink does in older recipes contain orange juice but in this book it doesn´t – instead grenadine is used and this is the version i`m making so now i get a chance to try my new hibiscus grenadine as well.

A beautiful street to give name to a beautiful drink –  much due to the bright red grenadine.

A Daisy is basically a sour (citrus, sweetener and spirit). with some soda added and it should be very cold. Garnished with seasonal fruits and mint. A number of base spirits may be used and then shaved or cracked or crushed ice. And then finally it should be served in either a cocktail glass, pewter mug, Julep cup, large goblet or highball.

So i decided to mix two drinks and here´s the recipe from the book:

CANAL STREET DAISY

canal-street-daisy-2

0.5 oz fresh lemon juice
0.75 oz fresh lime juice
2 dashes grenadine syrup (you may add a little more, use homemade hibiscus grenadine)
1.5 oz rye whiskey
Top up with a little soda

Garnish with seasonal fruits and mint.

Swizzle in a julep cup or highball until frosty, then top with soda and garnish.

Its a very refreshing cocktail and should be served ice cold! i like the homemade hibiscus grenadine in it, it adds an extra tropical tang to the drink that is very refreshing. And homegrown fresh mint as garnish is not wrong either..

I like this cocktail!

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Canal Street

ORIGINAL NEW ORLEANS COCKTAILS pt5 – Peychauds & Sazerac

peychauds

Most of the cocktail folks are well aquainted with and knows the history of Peychaud`s bitters but i think its interesting enough to write about and for those who doesn`t know here it is in a short version:

We must go back to the 1793 when Antoine Amedèe Peychaud, a creole of a french family who was an apothecary went to New Orleans, Louisiana while his sister went to Paris during the insurrection of Saint-Domingue. He brought with him to New Orleans his family recipe which was a secret formula for a tonic called bitters.

He opened a pharmacy shop with his sister – who he had brought over from Paris – on 437 Royal Street where today there`s an antique shop. He used to serve friends and other folks who needed “a little something” for their stomachs – some brandy made better with his bitters and of course his bitters, like other bitters –  were used to cure all kinds of illnesses.

His bitters soon became famous and were sold at the coffee houses in town. “Coffee houses” were where drinks were served – known today as bars;-)

He served his bitters spiked brandy, some water and sugar and according to the legend served it in a double-end egg cup called coquetier (ko-k-ta`y) which probably was the fore runner of the jigger – and as the legend has it – the name is the fore runner to the word “cocktail”  But really – the word “cocktail” is actually much older than that but opinions vary.

Peychauds bitters naturally leads us to the Sazerac.

This is one of the cocktails that i love the most. Born on Royal st in a bar that no longer is there – but in the sidewalk still remains lettered the word “SAZERAC” – this is where the entrance to the bar was. Originally it was made with a cognac brand called “Sazerac-Forge-et Fils” from Limoges, France.

This cognac and peychauds drink was drunk at the Sazerac Coffee House but the cognac was substituted with rye sometimes around 1870 because cognac was harder to find.  At the same time when Thomas Handy took over the Sazerac Coffee House it became the Sazerac House. This is also when the absinthe started to be used in this drink – until it was as you know – banned and replaced by herbsaint which now has come back in its original state.

In 1949 the bar moved to Roosevelt Hotel ( former Grunewald Hotel ) which in 1965 became the Fairmont Hotel – badly damaged and closed after Katrina and the federal flood in 2005  –  but eventually it was purchased to become a Waldorf Astoria hotel and got back its former name Roosevelt ( which was a name in honor of President Theodore Roosevelt) And in 2009 the Roosevelt New Orleans officially opened and there the Sazerac bar and restaurant is today.

Did you know that in prior to World War II the Sazerac bar only admitted men? Ladies were not allowed to drink at the bar – only on Mardi Gras Day. Luckily that changed in 1949 when the bar relocated to the Roosevelt Hotel and on opening day for both genders the women outnumbered the men.

The combination of rye (or why not equal parts rye and cognac) peychauds and absinthe or herbsaint is amazing and addictive – and it grows on you. The balance of flavors is just perfect.

Let´s have one, let`s have two..

SAZERAC

sazeracs

1/2 teaspoon herbsaint or absinthe
1 teaspoon of simple syrup or 1 cube of sugar or 1 tsp of granulated sugar
4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
Optional: 1 dash angostura, not tradition but it opens up the flavors
2 ounces rye whiskey
Strip of lemon peel

Fill a 3-1/2 ounce Old Fashioned (rocks) glass with ice. Place the sugarcube in another glass and moisten it with water until it saturates and crush it or use simple syrup. Mix with whiskey and bitters, add ice and stir to chill.

Discard the ice from the first glass and add herbsaint or absinthe and coat the sides of the glass, then discard the excess (i like to leave a drop or two in the glass) Strain the rye into the glass and twist a lemon peel over the glass to express the oils, then rim the glass with it as well.

Discard the peel, or if you like use it as garnish – but don`t drop the entire peel back in the glass.

sazerac-close

CREOLE BITTERS

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With spring comes new bitters…

Released in Europe while awaiting approval for the US – the Bitter Truth has come up with a stunning product – the Creole Bitters – and they make a spicy intense Sazerac..

The Creole bitters are based on a sampling of a pre-prohibition version of Peychaud’s – which makes them similar to Peychaud`s yet different in that there´s a stronger herbal component here, more earthy/spicy and the nose is strong.The Creole bitters has slightly less of the anise even though anise is the dominating flavor –  with more complexity, spice and bitterness.

I think this its great that we now have these bitters as Peychaud`s is extremely difficult to find outside of the US and some classic cocktails really needs those bitters so with the Creole bitters it will now be possible for many to mix these cocktails and of course here we have a great potential to mix up a range of other exciting cocktails.

What an interesting nose and flavor these bitters have – i can`t exactly put my finger on what all these flavors are…more than “spicy” and hm…familiar yet different. And so of course immediately i wanted to make a Sazerac and then comes an intersting question up as these bitters are spicier than Peychaud`s – a little dash of Angostura or not?

The Sazerac do not originally have that in the recipe but a little dash of Angostura makes a nice Saz..and it`s used quite often together with the Peychaud`s.  But with these spicier bitters now i don´t think we need that.

Another thing that sometimes is used in the Sazerac cocktail is a little vanilla extract and that i can imagine could go quite well with the Creole bitters as well. I´ll try that but not just now – this time its a regular Saz…with only the Creole bitters because after all – i wanted to find out how they were in this cocktail.

SAZERAC

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1/2 teaspoon Herbsaint or Absinthe
1 teaspoon of simple syrup or 1 cube of sugar or 1 tsp of granulated sugar
4 dashes Bitter Truth Creole bitters
2 ounces rye whiskey
Strip of lemon peel

Fill a 3-1/2 ounce Old Fashioned (rocks) glass with ice. Place the sugarcube in another glass and moisten it with water until it saturates and crush it or use simple syrup. Mix with whiskey and bitters, add ice and stir to chill.

Discard the ice from the first glass and add herbsaint or absinthe and coat the sides of the glass, then discard the excess (i like to leave a drop or two in the glass) Strain the whiskey into the glass and twist a lemon peel over the glass to express the oils, then rim the glass with it as well. Discard the peel, or if you like use it as garnish – but don`t drop the entire peel back in the glass, it would give too much citrus flavor.

This made for an interesting – more intense and spicier Sazerac. Its actually amazing…

The Creole bitters are not only a lifesaver for those who cannot so easily find Peychaud`s, its also a great addition to the cocktail world and there´ll be many exciting cocktails coming i`m sure. I like Peychaud`s and will not abandon them but i`ll use these just as much and for my part i believe my cocktail experience will be greatly enriched by the Creole bitters. My mind of course also goes to tiki cocktails.

As soon as these bitters are available in the US – folks – go and try them out, you won´t regret it. As for Europe they`re in the shop!