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Last Minute Plans: Bitters Madness!

By Roger Kamholz in Food on Feb 11, 2011 9:30PM

2011_2_bittercube2.JPG Ira Koplowitz and Nick Kosevich, the duo behind Bittercube, will be dashing through town this weekend, making stops at two Lush Wine & Spirits locations. The Milwaukee-based outfit will be demonstrating its line of cocktail bitters at the Chicago Avenue Lush tonight from 6 to 8 p.m., and again from 6 to 8 p.m. on Sunday at the Lush in Roscoe Village.

Koplowitz is formerly of the Violet Hour, while Kosevich made a name for himself at the Town Talk Diner in Minneapolis. Besides crafting unique bitters, the guys do guest-bartending stints and consult with bars and restaurants on their spirits lists and cocktail menus (notably Chizakaya's). The Bittercube line includes six products: Jamaican #1, Jamaican #2, Orange, Cherry Bark & Vanilla, Blackstrap and Bolivar. Fuzzy on what the heck bitters actually are? Think of them as concentrated flavorings for cocktails - the bartender's "salt and pepper," as they're sometimes known. They're made from a blend of herbs, roots, spices and fruits. Bitters are strongly flavored - and usually highly alcoholic - so drink recipes will call for a few dashes at most. But that small amount can completely transform a cocktail's complexity.

If you're skeptical, the demos at Lush should set you straight. "The game plan is to make one simple cocktail, and see how it changes with the addition of each bitters," says Lush's Jane Lopes. Plus, the Bittercube guys are known for being generous with their cocktail recipes and bartending know-how, making this a prime opportunity to ask them your cocktail questions. You'll have to get in line behind us, though.

Lush West Town is located at 1412 West Chicago Avenue; Lush Roscoe Village is located at 2231 West Roscoe Street.