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Boker's Bitters


evo-lution
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My first batch is completed, bottled and labelled. :D

9bokersbitterslabelsmal.jpg

10thecompletedproduct.jpg

More details to follow...

Already started work on the second batch. I'll hopefully begin work on the third (and largest batch) in the next few days. Some free samples will be available, and the rest will be sold to bartenders/mixologists/cocktailians/geeks around the globe (hopefully).

Many thanks go to my good friend Christian Bell for the label design.

www.thejerrythomasproject.blogspot.com

Edited by evo-lution (log)

Evo-lution - Consultancy, Training and Events

Dr. Adam Elmegirab's Bitters - Bitters

The Jerry Thomas Project - Tipplings and musings

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My mouth is watering as I ogle those bottles. :hmmm:

Mike

"The mixing of whiskey, bitters, and sugar represents a turning point, as decisive for American drinking habits as the discovery of three-point perspective was for Renaissance painting." -- William Grimes

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These will absolutely sell. Specifically, a bottle or two will certainly sell to me...please!

Cheers,

Mike

"The problem with the world is that everyone is a few drinks behind."

- Bogart

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Those labels are awesome.  What exactly are these bitters like?

They're very complex, can't really think of any product to compare it to, :wacko: although this is probably a good thing as I wanted that unique aspect from the product.

From those that've tasted/nosed them I've been told they get notes of dark chocolate, coffee, cardamom, orange, black forest gateuax, cola bottles (jellied sweets) and raisin, to name but a few.

My girlfriend was not a fan of the Martinez (she's not a huge fan of Maraschino or gin) until I made her a Dry Martinez* the other day using the Boker's. I'm happy to say that she's now converted... :smile:

*2 Dashes Boker's Bitters

25ml Both's Old Tom

50ml Noilly Prat Dry

5ml Luxardo Maraschino

Method: Add all ingredients to mixing glass, fill with cubed ice and stir for 15-20 seconds.

Glass: Chilled coupette

Ice: N/A

Garnish: Large strip of lemon zest sprayed over the drink and dropped in. Imbibe!

My mouth is watering as I ogle those bottles.   :hmmm:

Give me a few more days and you'll be able to ogle these in the privacy of your own home. :wink:

These will absolutely sell.  Specifically, a bottle or two will certainly sell to me...please!

No problem at all, I'll sell you as many as you like. Need to work out logistics regarding payment/etc. although I assume it'll be done through Paypal.

I'll keep you all posted in the next couple of days, if anyone's genuinely interested in obtaining some please e-mail me at adam.elmegirab@evo-lution.org

Edited by evo-lution (log)

Evo-lution - Consultancy, Training and Events

Dr. Adam Elmegirab's Bitters - Bitters

The Jerry Thomas Project - Tipplings and musings

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This is how the product looks in the brand new dasher bottles

thecompletedproduct.jpg

Bottles have also started being sent out, if you're near Edinburgh drop in past Bramble as they've a bottle behind the bar there. Rick's in Edinburgh will also have a bottle very shortly and there are a couple of bars in Aberdeen that have a bottle. Soon there will be some in England, America, Russia, Finland, Holland and Australia to name but a few countries...

The labelling and bottling process is also underway and should all be completed by the end of this week. With bottles being sent out every day, I'll have fulfilled very order by Monday. I'll keep you all updated with regards stock numbers, however I intend to start work on another batch shortly as interest has been nothing short of astounding.

http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/group.ph...29943652&ref=ts

Edited by evo-lution (log)

Evo-lution - Consultancy, Training and Events

Dr. Adam Elmegirab's Bitters - Bitters

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Nice labels! its the first time i see them, so now i have only to wait for my bottle to arrive :biggrin:

T

www.amountainofcrushedice.com

Tiki drinks are deceptive..if you think you can gulp them down like milk you´re wrong.

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1000940small.jpg

All 79 bottles in the above pic are now on their way round the World and will be at their destinations in the next few days if they've not already arrived.

If you're near Arizona, New York, Oxford, London, Amsterdam, San Francisco, Aberdeen, Massachusetts, Dublin, Rhode Island, St. Andrews, Melbourne, Rovaniemi, Saint Petersburg, Edinburgh, Virginia, Belfast, Skarpnack, Los Angeles, Munich or Plymouth then keep an eye out for bottles in bars near you.

I am down to the last 40 or so of the current batch... :biggrin:

Edited by evo-lution (log)

Evo-lution - Consultancy, Training and Events

Dr. Adam Elmegirab's Bitters - Bitters

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Rhode Island is me. Got mine and have tried only two things (it is, after all, a work day).

This morning, a drop on the palms was terrific, with lots of teaky cocoa & spice. It has a depth that's hard to explain, especially on the tongue. When I put a few dashes into soda water this morning, I got the cocoa, spice, and much more expanding through my mouth with each taste; it has a tail like a really good cognac or scotch, several seconds long when I counted.

I'll give it a go in mixed drinks tonight: I'm thinking I'll start with a Martinez. Adam, have you ever tried a Pink Gin?

Chris Amirault

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have you ever tried a Pink Gin?

Not as yet however I will this evening as I've just nipped out to pick up some lemons to make more Crustas for my girlfriend who has decided that this is her favourite drink, so I'll be sure to save some peel for garnishing the Pink Gin. I'll get some pics up later...

I've tried the Crusta (Cognac and Genever), Martinez (Dry and Sweet Vermouth), Manhattan (Rye and Bourbon), Whisk(e)y Cocktail/Old Fashioned (Scotch, Irish, Rye, Bourbon and Genever), Japanese Cocktail, Improved Cocktail (Genever and Rye), Martini (London Dry)... there are more :smile:

As well as trying them straight (sipping them), in soda, in water, in ginger ale and rubbing together in the palm of my hand, I've found a new way to try bitters out by adding 5ml to around the same amount of sugar syrup (2-1). You really discover a lot about the bitters using this method.

I've been advocating the use of measuring in mls over dashes as the dasher hole is smaller than pretty much every bitters on the market which gives you loads more control. Around 2.5ml-5ml per drink dependent on the ingredients.

They work particularly well with gin although they offer something different to a number of drinks if I'm being honest. A Pink Gin should be amazing methinks...

Evo-lution - Consultancy, Training and Events

Dr. Adam Elmegirab's Bitters - Bitters

The Jerry Thomas Project - Tipplings and musings

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Using Gary Regan's receipt with a tweak, the best Martinez Cocktail I've ever had:

gallery_19804_437_284042.jpg

2 oz Hayman's Old Tom gin

1 oz Martini & Rossi sweet vermouth

1 t Luxardo Maraschino

1/2 t Boker's bitters

Stir, strain, lemon twist.

These bitters absolutely adore sweet vermouth. And, as above, the tail on this is amazing. I don't know what substance accounts for it, but after the initial rush of flavor there's a second wave that's entirely from the bitters. The only thing I can compare it to is the combination of green bird chiles and roasted red chiles that you see in many Thai dishes like a mushroom salad I like to make, where the birds play with the acid and herbs up front while the roasted chiles commingle with the protein and umami for a big, round back-end mouthful.

Adam, what accounts for that ridiculous tail?

Chris Amirault

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Oh, I'll bet you can find a way to reveal a brief glimpse behind the curtain, dude.

To be honest it's quite hard to pin it down to one factor as I think everything is playing its part, from the spirit I've used as the base, the quality of the botanicals, the length of maceration time and the ratios to balance it out as each botanical offers something different.

The botanicals (quassia bark, areca catechu, calamus root, dried orange peel and cardamom) all bring something different to the mix with notes that are herbal, floral, sweet, bitter, spiced, citrus. In earlier batches I always found the cardamom was overpowering everything else, which amounted to a product that was a little unbalanced and lacked an edge.

The first few batches I made were constructed by macerating everything together in one jar, it wasn't until I separated the botanicals into individual macerations that I was able to make a difference to the final product. This enabled me to try each botanical daily and monitor what was happening.

This may not be the best method for other bitters recipes, but for Boker's it certainly is the case. The bitterness of the quassia bark and the strength of flavour that Cardamom imparts has to be taken into account, hence why I'll stand by this method. There's fewer ingredients in Boker's so everything has to be perfect otherwise it just doesn't work.

The recipes I used as my guide always stated to macerate everything for around 10 days but I find this flawed as different botanicals impart different levels of flavour at different times. Cardamom for one imparts a serious amount of flavour after only a few days so I found this maceration had to be filtered out first, with the rest a few days after.

Another key factor was the preparation of the botanicals before maceration. I read somewhere that freezing the dried orange peel made a huge difference and I wholeheartedly agree, the areca catechu and calamus root had to be ground to a fine powder to capture full flavour release, I preferred the use of whole cardamom pods versus seeds (I plan on an experimental batch where I'll toast the cardamom), and the quassia bark had to be broken into smaller chippings*.

*EDIT - I meant to add, no matter how adventurous you're feeling, don't chew on quassia bark. It's not big, it's not clever, and it's seriously... weird. It felt like my face was turning inside out! :wacko:

Once everything is filtered and combined they are coloured with mallow flowers and then diluted. Some recipes I came across suggested colouring the water with the mallow flowers and then diluting, but again I didn't like this process as the water didn't take on as much colour as I wanted and the flavour that mallow offers (even though it's mild, it still offers notes similar to herbs/tea) didn't come through as well compared to when the macerations were coloured.

I've yet to find a recipe which states how much mallow flowers to use, so I'd like to state that you require around 100-150g per litre.

After all this has taken place and the mallow is filtered out, I then add the final ingredient which brings everything together and adds the edge I was looking for. Few recipes of Boker's called for an element of sweetness which I found surprising as I really felt it would round everything off and accentuate what was already there.

For the sweet element I searched around for something that would offer a richness, spiciness, bitterness and sweetness. After trialling out a few different ideas I eventually settled on something which offers all of these. :wink:

Once this ingredient is added it really brings everything together; on the nose, palate and finish. :smile:

I'm still looking at ways to add even more depth as no matter how good something is it can always be improved or bettered. I'm going to age a small batch to see what this does, and there's also another ingredient or two that I want to throw into the mix.

The whole process of making bitters has me hooked now and I've so many questions regarding bitters that I want to find the answers too, not just about how they are made, but more towards the history and use of them. As mentioned already, I've started the groundwork on another bitters recipe I've come across and hope to have the first batch completed in the next few weeks.

I'd appreciate all input/feedback/questions on Boker's or bitters in general for that matter, and promise I'll contribute to the 'All About Bitters' thread as well.

Edited by evo-lution (log)

Evo-lution - Consultancy, Training and Events

Dr. Adam Elmegirab's Bitters - Bitters

The Jerry Thomas Project - Tipplings and musings

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I meant to add this to my last post;

Original Boker's were used with different intentions back in the 1800s, where we see them now as cocktail bitters they were used then as stomach bitters. What they had back then was a product that was far more bitter than we could imagine, but there was a reason for it.

I'm of the belief that they weren't necessarily used for the flavour and may have been used for a number of reasons. The question I keep asking myself regarding bitters is whether or not they were used for their flavour or for other reasons; their alleged medicinal qualities*, how readily available they were, a bartender's point of difference, the cost, etc. (if not all of these factors).

I've no doubt that Jerry Thomas used Boker's as he liked the flavour it lended cocktails. Much in the same way that I was looking for that final ingredient to really round off my Boker's, bartenders used bitters to really round off their cocktails.

With all that in mind though, I'm not naive enough to think that the factors mentioned previous would have also played a part. They do nowadays in bars - I like to call it the Angostura effect** - so why would it have been any different in the 1800s?

*In the case of Boker's, we know for sure that the botanicals used do have a number of medicinal qualities.

**I've always found it baffling that bartenders go to great lengths to recreate drinks from bygone eras using products which we believe to be similar to what was used then, but when it comes to bitters the decision is made to "just use Angostura." I have no issue with Angostura, it's a great product, but I've always been baffled by this mindset...

Edited by evo-lution (log)

Evo-lution - Consultancy, Training and Events

Dr. Adam Elmegirab's Bitters - Bitters

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Following on from Chris' post on the Martinez..

The Best Martinez Cocktail You've Never Had!

1000948small.jpg

50ml Both's Old Tom

25ml Noilly Rouge

5ml Luxardo Maraschino

2.5ml Boker's Bitters

Method: Add all ingredients to mixing glass, fill with cubed ice and stir for 15-20 seconds. Julep strain.

Glass: Chilled coupette

Garnish: Fat strip of lemon peel snapped over drink and placed in

Ice: N/A

I'm enjoying it too much to tell you how good it is...

Next up, my better looking half returns from work and we move onto Brandy Crustas.

Evo-lution - Consultancy, Training and Events

Dr. Adam Elmegirab's Bitters - Bitters

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Oh, I'll bet you can find a way to reveal a brief glimpse behind the curtain, dude.

To be honest it's quite hard to pin it down to one factor as I think everything is playing its part, from the spirit I've used as the base, the quality of the botanicals, the length of maceration time and the ratios to balance it out as each botanical offers something different.

... snip ...

I'd appreciate all input/feedback/questions on Boker's or bitters in general for that matter, and promise I'll contribute to the 'All About Bitters' thread as well.

Ok, you've convinced me it is worth ordering yours :biggrin:

... as soon as I figure out if I'm changing jobs and having to drink down the supplies, or not.

It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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I will happily add to the hype. Mine arrived at my office this morning, and all I could do at the time was open a bottle for a quick whiff and a fingertip taste. Needless to say, I was looking especially forward to cocktail hour all day!

First taste, dashed over ice and topped with club soda. Wonderfully complex, spicy and a strong bitter backbone, with a lingering hint of warm cocoa that goes on and on and.... As noted above, these bitters have a finish that lasts like nothing I've experienced outside my prized pre-War bottle of Abbott's.

Next up, and bowing to the wisdom above: Martinez X2. First one made with 2oz Hayman's Old Tom, 1oz Noilly Rouge, 1 tsp Luxardo Maraschino and 1/2 tsp Boker's, stirred, up, lemon twist. I will concur: Easily the best Martinez I've ever had, bar none. Even my wife loved it, and she, by and large, does not drink. Second one made exactly the same, but with Carpano Antica Formula. Also fantastic, but know what...?

...The first one was better. Like my beloved Abbott's, these bitters make me want to reach for a less complex vermouth so I can better taste the bitters. I have no higher compliment than that.

Cheers and genuine congratulations to Adam for a simply outstanding product.

Edited by Mike S. (log)

Cheers,

Mike

"The problem with the world is that everyone is a few drinks behind."

- Bogart

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Next up, and bowing to the wisdom above:  Martinez X2.  First one made with 2oz Hayman's Old Tom, 1oz Noilly Rouge, 1 tsp Luxardo Maraschino and 1/2 tsp Boker's, stirred, up, lemon twist.  I will concur:  Easily the best Martinez I've ever had, bar none.  Even my wife loved it, and she, by and large, does not drink.  Second one made exactly the same, but with Carpano Antica Formula.  Also fantastic, but know what...?

...The first one was better.  Like my beloved Abbott's, these bitters make me want to reach for a less complex vermouth so I can better taste the bitters.  I have no higher compliment than that.

I agree with that precisely. Grabbed M&R instead of my usual Punt e Mes -- and the M&R was at its end.

I'm heading into NYC early next week and have a few eager folks waiting to try them.

Chris Amirault

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Wow, thanks very much for the kind words Mike (and Chris). It's good to see my hard work is paying off and was worth it... :smile:

As promised earlier;

Brandy Crusta

1000954small.jpg

50ml Brandy/Cognac

5ml Grand Marnier

15ml Fresh lemon juice

12.5ml Sugar syrup (2-1)

2.5ml Boker's Bitters

Method: Add all ingredients to mixing glass, fill with cubed ice and shake hard for ten seconds. Fine strain.

Glass: Wine

Garnish: Whole lemon peel and sugar rim*

Ice: Cubed

Crustas are sublime cocktails and I'm glad to say they showcase the Boker's brilliantly. I'll be making these for my girlfriend every night if she gets her way...

*Wash lemon and cut the top and bottom off. Using a sharp knife, cut round the inside of the fruit using the pith to guide you round until the centre can be extracted. Squeeze the central section for the juice. Wedge peel into glass leaving about an inch or so exposed. Dab some lemon juice on the outside of the exposed lemon and rim with sugar. Chill in refrigerator in advance if possible.

Edited by evo-lution (log)

Evo-lution - Consultancy, Training and Events

Dr. Adam Elmegirab's Bitters - Bitters

The Jerry Thomas Project - Tipplings and musings

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Moving on, we have;

Improved (Holland Gin) Cocktail

1000959small.jpg

50ml Bols Genever

5ml Luxardo Maraschino

2.5ml Pernod

5ml Boker's Bitters

7.5ml Sugar Syrup (2-1)

Strip of lemon peel

Method: Add all ingredients to mixing glass, fill with cubed ice and stir for 15-20 seconds. Julep strain.

Glass: Chilled coupette

Garnish: Fat strip of lemon peel snapped over drink and placed in

Ice: N/A

I was quoted as saying, "That's f*cking heaven in a glass that is..."

It was that good. Just as good with Martin Miller's Westbourne although a very different beast!

Improved (Martin Miller's) Cocktail

1000962small.jpg

50ml Martin Miller's Westbourne Strength

5ml Luxardo Maraschino

2.5ml Pernod

5ml Boker's Bitters

7.5ml Sugar Syrup (2-1)

Strip of lemon peel

Method: Add all ingredients to mixing glass, fill with cubed ice and stir for 15-20 seconds. Julep strain.

Glass: Chilled coupette

Garnish: Fat strip of lemon peel snapped over drink and placed in

Ice: N/A

I'm having another! :smile:

Edited by evo-lution (log)

Evo-lution - Consultancy, Training and Events

Dr. Adam Elmegirab's Bitters - Bitters

The Jerry Thomas Project - Tipplings and musings

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Adam, why the Pernod? Is it what's on hand, or do you think it works better than absinthe?

Had my first stinker tonight, a Slope cocktail using 1/2 t of the Boker's instead of Angostura. Maybe I'm wrong, but I fear that Punt e Mes + Boker's = Mud. I'd be interested to hear what others think, but that one went down the sink.

Decided, for obvious reasons, that I needed a Rough and Tumble after that.

Sigh. Onward!

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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