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Bittercube Shows Us How To Make Bitters

By Amy Cavanaugh in Food on Oct 21, 2012 4:00PM

When we were at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans this summer, we took part in a bitters-making session with the guys behind Bittercube. Comprised of Nicholas Kosevich and Ira Koplowitz (who worked at the Violet Hour for two years), Bittercube is based in Madison and makes a range of great bitters, including Blackstrap and Cherry Bark Vanilla.

We made bitters in groups of eight or so, and my group decided we wanted to make tropical-inspired bitters with citrus. We lined up in front of dishes of spices, herbs, roots, and barks, and called out ingredients we thought would work well, then Nick and Ira tossed in some they thought would complement those. We used wormwood, orris root, ginger, Ceylon cinnamon, pink peppercorns, hibiscus flowers, juniper, star anise, fresh lemongrass, and some other ingredients, and put them in a jar. Then they covered the mix with 151-proof rum and water, shook it up, and sent it to the lab for six weeks to rest. Then they bottled up the bitters and sent a bottle to each person in the group.

We made Batch #19, and Bittercube suggested using it in three different cocktails. I went with the Tropical Void, and replaced the Luxardo Bitter with Campari. Here's the recipe, which you could make with any tropical-inspired bitters, or Bittercube's Jamaican Bitters #2.

Tropical Void (adapted)

1.5 oz Vodka
.25 oz Campari
.5 oz Pineapple Juice
.25 oz Lime Juice
13 drops bitters
Glass: Highball with ice
Garnish: Orange Peel

1. Shake ingredients and strain on top of new ice.
2. Garnish. (For added aroma place a few drops of Jamaican Bitters #2 on top of the garnish.)