Tag Archives: Bitters

Lillet & Bitters

Lillet Blanc is a brand of French aperitif wine. It is a blend of 85% Bordeaux wines (Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle) and 15% macerated liqueurs, mostly citrus liqueurs from the peels of sweet oranges from Spain and Morocco and the peels of bitter green oranges from Haiti. Lillet belongs in a family of aperitif known as quinquina because of the addition of a liqueur of Chinchona bark from Peru which contains quinine. Other fortified wines in this category would be Byrrh and Dubonnet. Lillet is matured in oak casks and while it has been produced since the late 19th century, the current formulation (which contains less sugar and quinine) dates from 1986.

Normally I am not really one for drinking wines, but as I had opened the Lillet for a couple of vintage cocktails, I didn’t want it to go to waste. As it is a little on the sweet side when consumed straight, I added a generous amount of bitters. This has now become one of my favorite things to drink as an apertif before dinner. Cheers!

Lillet & Bitters
4 oz Lillet Blanc
4 dashes Orange Bitters
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
2 dashes Lemon Bitters

Vintage Cocktails #53: The Seelbach Cocktail

Created in 1917 as the signature cocktail of the Seelbach Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, this cocktail lay forgotten to the world until the mid 1990′s when it was brought back to life by Adam Seger, restaurant manager at the Seelbach. I do not know why this drink ever faded into obscurity as it is a fantastic champagne based cocktail. The sweetness of the champagne and liquer is perfectly balanced by the extra large dose of bitters, and the bourbon creates a great backbone flavor. The higher proof the bourbon, the better this drink will be. A 100 proof rye works excellently as well. Cheers!

The Seelbach Cocktail
1 oz Bourbon
1/2 oz Cointreau
7 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
7 dashes Angostura Bitters

MxMo: Brown Bitter and Stirred (or Shaken)

MxMo has been on hiatus for the last couple on months, but this month we are back at it. This month’s theme, chosen by Lindsey Johnson, is Brown, Bitter and Stirred. Although I liked the idea of using a dark spirit, they always remind me that autumn is here, and not far after winter will be appearing, so I chose rum as my spirit of choice, because there is always room for rum no matter what the season. Yes, I do still have rum in my bar, although it does seem like the rum is always gone.

Recently I have noticed how much my palate is becoming accustomed to the bitter side of life, and so this month’s theme was great to mix something new that contains a bitter element, as my summertime imbibing has been anything but. I briefly thought about doing the angostura fizz, but thought that might have been taking it a little too far. For my cocktail, I chose to use both a blackstrap rum as well as a dark jamaican rum. To balance it out, some falernum and a healthy dose of angostura bitters. I had been talking with friends about going to Disneyland with them in the new year, and since I was playing around with rum and falernum, I could not get the pirate theme out of my head, so without further ado, the Barbossa’s Blood.

Barbossa’s Blood
1 oz Blackstrap Rum
1 oz Dark Jamaican Rum
1 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Falernum
15 dashes Angostura Bitters

Vintage Cocktails #31: The Ford Cocktail

Up next we have the Ford Cocktail, created by George Kappeler, author of Modern American Drinks. Kappeler was the head bartender of the Holland House Bar, one of the three most acclaimed Manhattan hotel bars at the turn of the century.

This cocktail is a create variation on the classic martini. Featuring a once popular style of gin, It is paired with an equal amount of vermouth, orange bitters and a couple dashes of liqueur to deepen the complexity of the flavors. If you are a fan of the traditional gin martini, this cocktail is a must to experience.

The Ford Cocktail
1 oz Old Tom Gin
1 oz Dry Vermouth
3 dashes Benedictine
3 dashes Orange Bitters

Pegu Club Cocktail

Vintage Cocktails #17: The Pegu Club Cocktail

The Pegu Club was created in the 1920′s at the Pegu Club in Rangoon.  At the time, the Pegu Club was a gentleman’s club in the British controlled province of Burma.  Back then, most bars featured a house cocktail, and unlike many of them, the Pegu Club gained fame outside of its creator’s walls, and has become increasingly popular even today.

As the drink presented in Vintage Spirits differs from most of the other classic recipes that I have seen, I will present both, although the one I put together for myself stayed true to the printing in the book.  The main difference between the two versions is the type of orange liqueur used.  While the classic recipe seems to call for Orange Curacao, the Vintage Spirits recipe calls for Cointreau, a proprietary triple sec.

The Pegu Club (Original Recipe?)
2 oz London Dry Gin
3/4 oz Orange Curacao
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Orange Bitters

The Pegu Club (Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails)
1 1/2 oz Gin
1/2 oz Cointreau
3/4 oz Lime Juice
2 dashes Angostura Bitters

I think that these two drinks differ enough in proportions and ingredients to have two different flavor profiles.  Which is better?  I suppose that is a matter of personal preference.  I have only tried the one version as of yet, so let me know if you have an opinion.