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The Bitter Truth

February 28, 2009

It is said that the appreciation of “bitter” is the sign of a fully matured palate.  Bitter is definitely something we acquire not at a young age, but come to love later in life.

 

Bitters themselves were originally created a medicinal formulas (Angostura is the only on created by a real doctor though) to cure anything from stomach trouble to joint pain. But if we have learned anything, it’s that Mixologist will make a drink out of anything, and bitters is no exception.  As a matter of fact the true definition of a cocktail requires the drink to contain bitters!!   

 

Most bitters are highly concentrated and used in small amounts to accent a drink.  However there area few that can stand on their own as a base ingredient.  I have two favorites like this, both from the beloved country of Italy.

 

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Campari has been made in Novara, Italy since 1860 from the same formula and contains twenty different bitter herbs, aromatics plants, and fruit.  Only one person at a time has ever known the full recipe. The most common drinks made with spirit are Campari and Soda and my personal favorite, The Negroni. 

 

Negroni

 

¾ oz Gin

¾ oz Campari

¾ oz sweet vermouth

 

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Fernet Branca, also from Italy, is a proprietary bitters made from myth, chamomile, saffron, and cardamom just to name a few of the forty plus ingredients.  Fernet has a sneaky flavor profile that doesn’t come all at once.  The first second or so, I taste a cacao sweetness then BAM!!!  The other incredible flavors come through producing a palate sensation like no other.

 

In Argentina, Fernet is popularly mixed with Coke. It is also a fantastic hangover sure (nursing one as I write).  Fernet is a wonderful substitute for angostura bitters in a Manhattan, which is called a Fanciulli cocktail. 

 

2 ½ oz Bourbon

¾ oz sweet vermouth

¼ oz Fernet Branca

 

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.  Garnish with Amarena cherry.

 

Fernet also mixes well with cream as well as crème de menthe.

 

I didn’t start truly appreciating bitters until my late 20’s.  Now a favorite flavor in aperitifs before dinner, I love to sip a cocktail that wakes my palate like bitters does.  So next time you are looking for something new, or wanting to challenge and mature you senses, give bitters a try!

 

Salud!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One Comment leave one →
  1. March 1, 2009 2:45 am

    Just passing by.Btw, you website have great content!

    _________________________________
    Making Money $150 An Hour

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