I’d had this idea in my head for awhile, to develop a bitters to bring out and strengthen Tiki flavors in drinks. Of course, lo and behold I find that BIttermens beat me to the punch with their Tiki Bitters.
A few months ago, I gave a bottle of Bridgetown Bitters to the OBG to include in a gift pack sent to Mr. David Wondrich when he was here for the OBG event, recounted here and here. The batch was, admittedly, but together in a hurry, and I don’t think was quite the product I was going for. I hope you (well, first off, got them) liked them, the formula has been MUCH improved. What I used here was my usual Falernum formula with a bit of Gentian, soaked in overproof white rum, and combined with Gentian-infused water to proof. I thought it was dandy, but knew it needed something more.
Batch two of Bridgetown bitters used the same Falernum spices and Gentian, but this time using an overproof Demerara rum and no proofing, make this a straight-infusion. These came out very good, but not quite there. A bit clovey (despite containing no cloves), which I think was due to the strong alcohol bringing out the sharper notes of the flavors.
Well, after an e-mail exchange with Avery of Bittermens, Jamie’s article, and of course, Daniel and David’s Bitters Class, I decided to take another stab at it. The result of this is my Bridgetown Bitters, now renamed as Falernum Bitters, which I will be handing out samples of at Tales of the Cocktail. The Falernum spices are still there in the same formula, but using a unique combination of spirits as both infusion and flavoring, as well as 3 different bittering agents. The difference from Batch 1 to Barch 3 is tremendous. The flavor of the Falernum spice and rum are screened behind a bit of sweet, so as to time-release their depth and complexity. The Bittering agents allow the flavor to carry for a LONG time, which was a definite goal in making these.
I’ll admit there are still a few attributes I’m looking for that are still lacking, and a batch 2 of Falernum bitters is destined for the future. As you may have read in an earlier post, I did throw these in a barrel for 1 month. Unfortunately, this was not enough time in the barrel to pick up the complexities I was looking for in a product I would label “aged”. The next attempt at an aged batch will be going into the barrel for a minimum of 6 months.
Meanwhile, if you’ve got a bottle of Bittermen’s Tiki Bitters, or want to make a home-batched attempt, go ahead and toss together this little number which I came up with to highlight the stuff. It’s a Rum version of Pink Gin, and I think makes a stiff but sippable number I really enjoy.
- 2 oz Flor de CaÃ±a 4 year Extra Dry (sub Cruzan Light)
- 3 dashes Falernum BItters
Rinse cocktail glass with Falernum Bitters. Shake Rum with ice and strain into cocktail glass. Zest lime over glass to release oil into drink.
Like I say, I’ll have samples to pass out at this year’s Tales of the Cocktail, but supplies are fairly limited, bug me early!