GSN Review: El Guapo Bitters & Tonic Syrup

1373647549My cocktailian home away from home is New Orleans.  So much about the city has to do with cocktail history that it just makes sense that a new company specializing in bitters and syrups has established itself there.  El Guapo started out as a supplier for a local bar in the Vieux Carré, saw the potential to reach a wider audience and grew from there.  Interestingly, the owner Scot Mattox (an ex-Marine) named the company after his military nickname which literally means “handsome”.  He also donates 10% of their revenue to the Semper Fi Fund and the Wounded Warrior Project.  Definitely two worthwhile causes, and another reason to support the company.

Chicory-Pecan Bitters – First of all, the scent of these bitters is extremely appetizing.  It encapsulates New Orleans in every way.  Loose, flavorful and vivacious.  The flavor is much milder than I expected, resembling a cup of coffee at Cafe Du Monde.  It definitely pushes a coffee/chicory blend with a warm richness to it.  The main issue I have is that there is NO alcohol in these bitters.  This may seem like a small thing, but virtually all bitters are in a neutral alcohol base which allows the flavors to be intensified.  I’m not sure that these will lend much more than a hint of the intended flavor when they become diluted in a cocktail.  That being said, you can certainly add some grain spirit to these at home and come to a compromise.  These definitely have potential as some of the best smelling and tasting coffee based bitters I’ve tried.  GSN Rating: B-

British Colonial Style Tonic Syrup – An opaque reddish-brown.  Quite tart with a lot of citrus that seems to outshine the typical bitterness of the quinine.  You won’t need to add a squeeze of lime to your drink with this syrup.  The flavor is well-balanced and quite bright.  It works very well with a standard London Dry style gin.  More juniper driven gins will also benefit from this style of tonic syrup, whereas gins with less character will have to take a back seat.  I like this a lot, very easy to drink. I suggest using a ratio of 0.75 oz. syrup/2 oz. gin/4 oz. carbonated water.  GSN Rating: B+

For more information go to: El Guapo Bitters