Nobler Holiday Gift Guide – Bitters!December 7, 2012
In last year’s Gift Guide, I called out the perfect stocking stuffer: a bottle of bitters. I stand by the fact that every home-bar needs a bottle of Angostura’s classic recipe. But it’s hard to ignore the fact that across the country, and particularly noticeably in NYC, the world of bitters has exploded. So many brands, so many flavors and I’ll be honest, it’s pretty easy to get swept up in it all. But if you want to gift a bottle of bitters in 2012, the best recommendation I can make is to keep it simple.
This could take on a few different approaches so let me elaborate. Bitters are meant to add that last little bit of complexity or nuance to a cocktail. My experience to date, is that even the most crazy sounded bitters flavors, often get lost or muddled once added to a full strength cocktail if not chosen correctly. That’s why as a gift, I suggest you stick with the flavors that sound most appropriate for a larger number of cocktail flavor profiles. I myself love a good citrus based bitters. Fee Brothers is a brand that is available more widely and I absolutely love their Grapefruit and Orange varieties.
But if your cocktail enthusiast is looking for a little more excitement in their bitters, you have to check out two of our local (Brooklyn of course) brands in Bittermens, Inc. and Brooklyn Hemispherical Bitters for your perfect 2012 stocking stuffer. I first tried Bittermens varieties at our visit to NY Distilling. I had brought a bottle of my Nobler Orange Bitters as a little gift, and in return, we spent sometime tasting all of the bar stocked varieties while we waited for the crew to arrive. I remember being blown away by their Hopped Grapefruit bitters which packs an amazing punch of flavor perfect to add some excitement to even simple cocktails like shandys. And speaking of flavorful, Brooklyn Hemispherical has made a splash with there Sriracha based bitters but I love their Mission Fig variety for the richness and sweetness perfect for whiskey based cocktails during this time of the year.