Good Spirits News recently received a package with some very intriguing bitters from a new company in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Unlike most bitters on the market which are heavily botanical or fruity, The Bitter End Bitters collection pack some heat as well as interesting top and bottom notes. Most of these will make for an unusual and unique addition to your cocktail arsenal.
I tasted each in a random order over a three hour period using a teaspoon of Polish rye vodka for some dilution. I recommend experimenting with a number of different spirits, but as I’ve noted below, some will work better than others.
- Jamaican Jerk Bitters – A lot of heat in the back of the throat from this one! This would be tremendous using tropical fruit flavored vodkas like mango, banana or perhaps a coconut rum. There is a dry, tannic quality about these bitters that left me wanting something fruity to balance it out. Rated B
- Memphis Barbeque Bitters – Lots of heat on the tongue. A lighter feel than the Jerk Bitters tho’. This would work well in an atomizer to finish a cocktail off with a quick spritz on the surface. Slightly sweet, tangy and smoky, but not in a peaty way. These are a natural for a sweet bourbon like Maker’s Mark or in a cocktail using a bacon infused spirit. Rated B
- Mexican Mole Bitters – Lots of dark, woody notes. Heat throughout the mouth. Think a blend of BBQ and Hot sauce. Very interesting lingering mouthfeel. The chili peppers are very much upfront in this. Would work well with mescal, tequila or even a high proof bourbon or spicy rye. Rated: A-
- Moroccan Bitters – Very nice! This comes closest to the favor profile of Moroccan cooking. Very balanced, you can pick out different elements in the bitters. Sweet, grassy, spicy, vegetal, and nutty. I really like this one, and it will work fantastically with gin in a martini or add an extra note of complexity to a pisco sour instead of using Amargo Chuncho or Angostura bitters. Rated A+
- Thai Bitters – Oddly enough, I couldn’t detect much happening in these at all. If there is an overall note, it is a very light grassy one with a tiny bit of heat. I’m not sure what they were going for here, so I’m not sure how much they would add to a cocktail. Perhaps a few dashes in a vodka martini? I had hoped for high notes of lemongrass and lime, but… nothing. Rated D
The Bitter End Bitters are available online at bitterendbitters.com