MIRACLE MILE BITTERS

During Tales there´s always some bitters going around and i now have  five new bitters to play with and first out are 2 bitters from Miracle Miles – Chili-Chocolate and Yuzu.

Miracle Miles bitters are locally made artisanal bitters that started just over a year and a half ago. Louis Anderman – the maker of these bitters became friends with Joe Keeper from Barkeeper (an awesome barware shop n LA) and would always bring him some of his homemade experiments, bitters, Nocino, etc.

In December ’09 he did the Chocolate/Chili bitters, and Joe flipped over them and begged  for some. Louis tweaked the recipe a bit for the next batch and gave some to Joe, then after refilling his bottle for the second time in about 3 weeks he said, “Hey, why don’t you start selling these here?”

Then more and more bars started picking them up, and all of a sudden Louis was getting so much other momentum (e.g., interest from distributors) that he realized he was reaching a point where he had to go pro, or go home.

The varieties Louis currently makes are: Chocolate/Chili Bitters,
Gingerbread Bitters, Castilian Bitters, Sour Cherry Bitters, Yuzu Bitters, Forbidden Bitters and finally Orange Bitters.

That`s a bunch! and i don`t think they are out for purchase yet so i`m very happy i have got 2 of them.

CHILI-CHOCOLATE BITTERS

The chili-chocolate is made with fine Vahlrona chocolates and a mix of chilis.

In the nose you feel an exquisite and fine chocolate smell and when you taste it it´s there together with ginger, allspice and nutmeg, sweetened with molasses and maple syrup – with a slight chili bite.

The chocolate-chili bitters are perfect for dark rum drinks as well as bourbon, rye, tequila and well – any dark spirits really – anything that goes with well chocolate.

People also use them on ice-cream and coffee..mmm – i´m gonna try them with my blend of Community Coffee Nola blend with chickory and Pecan-Praline…oh my..

I stumbled upon a drink when i was sitting and reading an article about whiskey cocktails in Hawaii. Since ii like both cocktails, whiskey and Hawaii they had my attention.

The drink i was reading about – The Whiskey Thatcher – really looked interesting to me and looked like something where the chili-chocolate bitters would add a nice spicy touch. (btw the Whiskey Thatcher is a variation of a gin drink named after former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher- but don´t mix things up now…i`m not promoting Thatcher…and this blog is totally politics-free – i`m promoting booze!)

The Whiskey Thatcher was created by Dave Newman, bar manager of Nobu, Honolulu, Hawaii who was wondering if the Thatcher would work with whiskey which apparently it did.

Today people want spirits with more character – and i see whiskey coming back and also other flavorful, handcrafted spirits like rum, tequila and mezcal. Even vodka producers are going in that direction creating small batch vodkas with flavor – one example is Karlsson´s which contains 12 different potatoes.

The Whiskey Thatcher blends citrus and sweet, herbal and bitter with the depth and roundness of the whiskey. And besides, anything that contains campari is worth trying i think.

So here we go – the Whiskey Thatcher with dashes of chili-chocolate bitters!

WHISKEY THATCHER


0.5 oz Campari

2-3 mint leaves

A strip of lemon peel

1 tsp fine sugar. (i used Oxfam`s raw sugar)

1. 75 oz Bourbon

Hibiscus syrup ( a splash)

Bourbon ( a splash)

Top with dashes of Miracle Mile Chili-Chocolate bitters

Muddle a slice of lemon peel, two or three mint leaves, 1/2 ounce Campari and 1 teaspoon of fine sugar in a mixing glass.

Add 1. 75 oz bourbon, and a splash of hibiscus syrup and fresh juice from half a lime.

Shake with ice.

Put a splash of pernod and a splash of bourbon (the recipe calls for Wild Turkey but i had Maker`s Mark on hand) in the bottom of another (slightly preheated) lowball glass, light it on fire and burn off the whiskey and pernod. And fresh ice; and strain the drink from the first glass into the prepared glass and stir.

Top off with dashes of the chili-chocolate bitters. (I added a generous amount of dashes..)

Garnish with a fresh mint sprig and if you feel like it a lemon peel as well. (The garnish is not in the original recipe)

Yeah…I like it…it´s spicy…

From that i moved on to mix me this next drink because Louis told me to try it –  2oz demerara rum, 1/2 oz pineapple gomme, 2-3 dashes chocolate/chili bitters, built like an old fashioned – and indeed it was good – very aromatic and deep.

YUZU BITTERS

Now after these two very satisfying cocktails with dark rums it was time to try out the Yuzu bitters.

Released only a few months ago, it’s quickly catching up to the Chocolate/Chili in popularity in LA, and KL Wines in SF sold out of a full case within five days. In addition to the yuzu, cinchona is used for the bitter plus cardamom, cinnamon, and burdock root among the other spices, and two kinds of green tea to round out the finish.

The flavor of the yuzu bitters is something in between a lemon and a tangerine, with a deep citrus flavor. Yuzu is a citrus fruit rom SE Asia and which is a cross between sour mandarine and Ichang papeda – Citrus ichangensis × C. reticulata

Here`s a link to pictures of Yuzu.

These bitters would go well with anything that goes with citrus and i`m sure also with herbal liqueurs and so therefore i decided to try a variant of the Chartreuse swizzle adding Yuzu bitters thus turning it into a Yuzu Swizzle.

YUZU SWIZZLE


1 oz Green Chartreuse
1 oz Smith & Cross Jamaican rum
1 1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
0.75 oz Lime Juice
1/4 oz Falernum (i used B.G Reynold`s Dark Falernum)
3 dahses of Miracle Mile Yuzu bitters

Add ingredients to a large glass full of crushed ice. Swizzle to mix, lavishly garnish with mint, squeeze a bit and add a few extra dashes of the bitters on top of the ice as well.

After trying this i can say that it is tasty – no doubt – but i wonder if the yuzu and the green chartreuse might play out each other a bit…i cannot detect the flavors of the yuzu so clearly. Nevertheless – tasty it is. But i needed something “cleaner” to give the yuzu bitters space to play and the flavors to shine a bit more..

So how`bout a Yuzu daiquiri?

Hell yeah! and this is what i used:

2 Havana Club 3 yo

0.75 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 oz sugarcane syrup

3 dashes yuzu bitters

Float Coruba overproof

Now this was better in the sense of putting the yuzu flavors more forward and a Daiquiri is always a very nice cocktail – one of my favorite cocktails.

This has been fun and i`m very pleased with the Miracle Miles bitters, go try them when you get a chance.

And finally – try Yuzu bitters on oysters…

DANDELION & BURDOCK BITTERS

db-bitters1

More bitters on the way…

Seems like there`s  a steady stream of cocktail bitters coming these days..well, i don´t complain..i think its pretty much fun with bitters. If you need them all? well that`s another topic of discussion.. But bitters are FUN and in my opinion – yes they are useful in all their variations because we find new ways to use them because cocktails also develop..

What is interesting too with bitters i think, is that it takes some playing around with them before you get to know them and what they go best in so there´s much time and space for experimenting.

Here´s a new bitters from Adam Elmegirab who since the release of Adam Elmegirab’s Boker’s reformulation in July 2009, has been researching the work of our cocktail forefathers for ideas and inspiration to follow up with a unique product of his own.

The Dandelion & Burdock bitters are based on a drink he used to love in his childhood, namely the traditional British beverage called Dandelion & Burdock and which is believed to have been invented sometimes in the 1300th by by the Italian priest Saint Thomas Aquinas. As with many bitters, the original purpose was medical.

Tasting Notes:

Layers of complex flavours including ginger, anise, lemon, orange, liquorice, clove, honey, muscavado and malt; which combines to give an earthy, bittersweet product backed up by natural sweetness.

Like the Boker´s bitters the bottle is hand-labeled and pretty cute if you ask me;-)

Dandelion & Burdock Bitters adds depth to a number of cocktails such as Gin & Tonic or in classics such as the Martini, Martinez or Tequila Old Fashioned.

Here´s a great cocktail to use these bitters in, the Chiapas Old Fashioned, created by Adam for Yatai in 2009.

CHIAPAS OLD FASHIONED

50ml reposado Tequila

12.5ml green tea infused sugar syrup

2 dashes Dandelion & Burdock Bitters

Strip white grapefruit zest

Stir until ice cold and strain over ice into a chilled rocks glass

My batteries died so i don`t have any pic of this drink. Its a very refreshing drink and i think these bitters goes very well with tequila. Of course i had to mix something up with rum as well..

SAINTS & SINNERS


2 oz Smith&Cross Jamaican Rum

.75 oz fresh lime

0.5 oz sugar cane syrup

1 oz pineapple juice

3 dashes Dandelion & Burdock Bitters

Shake and strain into a glass with crushed ice and garnish with a pineapple leaf , lime wedge and a 2 more dashes of the bitters on the ice.

Since the Smith&Cross is 114 proof this is a strong drink. I find it quite refreshing.

I like these bitters, i like them a lot – they have a very nice and complex flavor. i need to play more with them and cannot wait to use them more with tequila and also mezcal..

I was curious how the bitters would go with rum too and they go quite well i think. Now i used a dark rum – but i believe a good white would go even better due to the herbal flavors in the bitters.

You can contact Adam for these bitters here.

Sugarcane bar

 

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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

creole-bitters1

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

creole-sazerac1

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!

DON`T BE BITTER

beefeater24_bitters

There´s a fun contest going on..Dietsch over at “A dash of Bitters” and Samantha Harrigan over at Cocktailculture is having a “Don`t be Bitter” contest for cocktail bloggers. I wasn`t aware of it buried in work as i`ve been lately. But just the other night  i discovered that Stevi over at “Two at the Most” had written about me! and while i started to read i said to myself oh my…what is going on here??

The contest is simple – give some link-love to a fellow blogger and write about an occasion when you was envious of their good luck, fortune, booze-collection – something you wish you had.

The prize?

Hm…….the prize is a very sought after bottle of bitters…namely the Bitter Truth’s Beefeater 24 bitters, specially made for Beefeater 24. There was already a contest earlier over at Cocktailculture to win a bottle of these bitters but you had to be in the US and you had to be the first on a photo with a bottle of these precious bitters in hand taken at certain bars.

Now we who weren´t able to do that have now got a second chance and i sure wanna try! If i`m lucky to win i have promised to share half the content with Stevi.

So who is at the top of my list? First of all its all those people who are able to (more than say – once a year) meet fellow booze bloggers and cocktailians that they can share their passion with and then well..i have to say it has to be Rick over at Kaiserpenguin.

Man, that guy seems to have everything! He takes fantastic photos, has a real garden..and not just “a garden” its THE garden, complete with fishpond, awesome fireflys, beautiful plants and flowers and not one but two large great grills, and there is an abundance of fresh mint growing wild everywhere..so when you want a garnish you just go out there and pick some mint and a lily or a basil in bloom..

And that`s not all..he`s fortunate to live in a big house, has a great kitchen (he´s a great chef too) and a real icemaker..just press a button and you get either crushed ice, cubes or cold water. I actually made the ice to finish..

And what about the booze-collection? – no surprise its great and there´s a lot of stuff there i wish i had but cannot get like Laird´s bonded, Old Overholt, Sazerac, Vieux Carré..but ok, i do have access to all those demeraras so i think we are even there.

So i do get a bit envoius when i compare that to how i have it here with no garden, no grill, a very small and dark10 squaremeter sized room to live in and no ice maker – instead i go through one handcranked device after another.

And oh yeah, his blog is fantastic, one of the best, if you haven`t been there its time you go and read – i guarantee you will enjoy it.

Second on my list of envy has to be Jeffrey Morgenthaler because of all his travels…even though well-earned, and third got to be TraderTiki for his awesome home tikibar Reyonld`s Galley and the fourth is Jay at Oh Gosh! for living in London and having access to so many great bars, events and great spirit shops like Gerry`s and the Whiskey Exchange.

So there you have all my envies…but no…i`m not bitter;-)

TESTING THE NEW BOKER´S BITTERS

bokerc2b4s-bitters

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

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 adamelmegirab@aol.co.uk Mob – +44 (0) 7796 620617

They go fast!

bokers-back