Posts Tagged ‘bitters’
As my housemates will attest I drink a lot of gin. It doesn’t really matter, if it is Gin and Tonics, Martinis, Negronis or Gin Gimlets they all have their place on the drink menu. This becomes a problem because going through a bottle of gin a week takes a massive toll on your bank account (not to mention kidneys and liver.) Luckily, this is a problem that has solutions, earning more money, drinking less, buying gin by the container, or, and this is my current solution, drinking cheaper gin. Don’t get me wrong, I would drink Tanq 10, Hendricks (maybe not in a Martini), or Martins every day of the week, but I can’t. Gordon’s London Dry is my regular poison and I buy it by the litre.
I’m not a fan of dry martinis at the best of times but they really don’t appeal to me when made with such a harsh gin. There are 2 solutions that go hand in hand. Wet martinis and bitters. Vermouth is an amazing flavour and I’ve never figured out why people hide all of that herby goodness in their martinis. Bitters add a good dose of whatever their flavour to the libation and are brilliant at tempering the harshness and add a level of interestingness that a regular martini doesn’t posess.
- 45ml Gordon’s London Dry Gin
- 15ml Dry Vermouth (Cinzano is really cheap and not altogether bad)
- 1 or 3 olives
The bitters depends on your taste, orange bitters is quite mild in flavour and I recommend a few dashes of orange bitters in the glass before you add the drink as well as a dash of Peychauds. Peychauds is great by itself, the tart works well with the botanicals of the gin. Angostura is a curious flavour and more than 2 dashes is too much.
Finally, the olive flavour of a dirty martini is sufficient to mask the burn and asperity of the low quality ingredients. To some extent olive brine is similar to bitters in that it is a concentrated flavour, but they don’t quite hold the same intensity of bitters. an extremely dirty martini consists of a further 15ml of olive brine.You should follow me on Twitter.
As any good cocktail enthusiast or bar tender knows, the difference between a good cocktail and a great one can all come down to one ingredient. Bitters. Each bottle is packed with more bitter flavour than anything else known to man (this may or may not be true) a dash or 2 of this and a dash or 2 of that can really take that Manhattan to the next level. Finding these little bottles of joy can be a challenge, but in Melbourne, luckily they are available.
There are a variety of different flavours of bitters, Angostura is the most common has a dark brown colour and is perhaps the most bitter. Peychauds is next on the list of commonality with a reddy-pink hue and a tarty almost-sweet flavour. Following these 2 brands there are a variety of different brands, Fee Brothers and The Bitter Truth are worthy of mentions. The bitters these 2 companies produce come in a variety of flavours, Orange, Old Fashioned, Peach. Mint, Lemon, Grapefruit, Whiskey Barrel Aged, Celery and Jerry Thomas’s own pretty much cover the list. These flavours are not as intense as the 2 former brands but they certainly add a unique flavour to cocktails.
All this is well and good, but if you are in Melbourne, actually getting your shaking little hands on a bottle of anything but Angostura is nearly impossible. Nearly being the operative words, as the staff here at My Aching Head have wandered long and wide in the windy city to tell you of 2 outlets of these necessary ingredients.
Wigs Cellar, 172 Queen St.
Wigs Cellar is the best bottle shop in the CBD. The prices are a bit high (especially compared to Dan Murphy’s) but the range is without compare. They stocks Peychauds and Fee Brothers bitters as well as a myriad of absinthes, whiskeys and rums. The old bloke who runs the place will love to have a chat about whatever you are buying, he might even have a recipe or 2 of his own.
Melbourne Temperance Society, Der Raum
The Melbourne Temperance Society is a cocktail club with benefits at the bar Der Raum. Der Raum itself has probably the biggest range of alcohol of any bar in Australia and through the Melbourne Temperance Society they make some of it available to buy. The website doesn’t seem to have any information about it, but last time I was in the bar I’m quite sure they had The Bitter Truth bitters for sale as well as some home made Der Raum bitters. The only problem is, there is a $40 membership fee for the Temperance Society and the bottle shop is only available to members.You should follow me on Twitter.