A classic Swedish-style bitter schnapps created by Avery Glasser, co-founder of Bittermens!
Gourmet retailer The Meadow‘s blog “In the Cupboard” reviews the Burlesque Bitters:
Avery and Janet Glasser, prodigal makers of Bittermens Bitters, have relocated their facilities to the ever-more boozy borough of Brooklyn—or re-relocated, as Bittermens started out in Brooklyn before spending a few years transplanted in Boston. Burlesque Bitters is the first new concoction since the Glassers’ return to the fold.
The new concoction was released just ahead of Valentine’s Day with what I take to be an appeal to blushing lovers to undertake mixological experiments on one another. Avery says the “burlesque” preceded the bitters:
“This is one of those flavors that just came about based on a friend mentioning the word burlesque during our first big bottling session after we restarted Bittermens. As soon as we started talking about Burlesque, it evoked a color and texture—red velvet, like a curtain at a stage show. Once the color and texture were decided upon, we started thinking about flavors that would evoke that feeling, and eventually developed this formula.”
Avery describes the flavor as floral and tart, though to me there’s a bit more to it than that. The bitter element is very strong, with a long, pitchy-peppery flavor that comes through clearly in the aroma, and more subtly in the taste.
The simplicity of the production process belies the complexity of the product: “steep herbs, roots, peels and spices in high proof neutral grain spirits, filter and dilute.” Hibiscus flowers and açaí berries comprise the main ingredients of these bitters, though they are bolstered by over a dozen other flavor components. The Burlesque Bitters are a unique concoction and a new endeavor for Bittermens:
“This is the first time where we attempted to play with bitter and tart flavors together, so coming up with a working balance that made tart a supporting flavor, not the dominant component, was necessary. However, once we figured out how to layer the flavors, it was just a matter of tweaking some of the components.”
Cocktail Recipe with Burlesque Bitters
But what to do with this tarty new addition to the cocktail world? The Glassers recommend gin, genever, rum, vermouth, and Italian amaros.
But Lord God above, putting bitters in amaro evokes for me some turducken-like contraption made by stuffing dynamite into a firecracker. Avery insists “these all play extremely well with these bitters. Certain scotches and tequilas also work extremely well.” Tequila has not worked out so well for us, with several attempts at cocktails coming off discordant and odd. Avery insists that he finds that the smokier mescals or richer reposados make for a good tryst with the Burlesque. I’ll grant that Burlesqued tequila evokes a border town saloon with high-kicking ruffles and smoke and player pianos—and that conjures a thirst.
Generally speaking, Bittermens Burlesque Bitters is a distinctive–or maybe seductively weird is the word–and absolutely necessary addition to the bitters world; elements of razzle-dazzle ricocheting off a sophisticated reserve… what I might venture to call the hallmark of the Glassers’ expertly crafted products.
Thomas Waugh of Death & Company in New York offers this recipe inspired by Bittermens Burlesque Bitters:
1½ oz bourbon (Eagle Rare 10)
Stir and serve on the rocks (or on one large rock if possible) without any garnish.
These bitters would also be an excellent complement for a Negroni, for those of us with more modest home bars. Equal parts gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari topped off with a dash or two of Burlesque Bitters and garnished with a slice of orange – voilà!
via In the Cupboard
In a recent article, the folks at VIVMag find that Bittermens Bitters take sparkling water “from ordinary to interesting”:
Lauren Shockey of the The Village Voice’s blog Fork in the Road wrote about Bittermens’ move to Brooklyn:
Good news for bitters lovers: Bittermens, a small-batch bitters company based out of Boston, has just moved to New York, opening a production facility in Red Hook. “We’d gotten to a point where we were exceeding the space we had. We got our start in New York City and it is really a market we have to be in. We could have hired brand managers or we could come down and make it happen for ourselves,” explained Avery Glasser, who co-owns the company with his wife, Janet.
The Glassers started making bitters in 2007. The company’s first bottles went on sale in 2009 through a partnership with the Bitter Truth of Germany. That relationship ended in July 2010, however, with the Glassers taking back production themselves. Since then, they have been producing bitters at a commercial kitchen up in Somerville, Massachusetts, which they leased from Taza Chocolate. It was there that they made the popular Xocolatl Mole Bitters, Hopped Grapefruit Bitters, Elemakule Tiki Bitters, and Boston Bittahs.
So what does this new space mean? Well, for one, new bitters. The company is launching Burlesque Bitters, available just in time for Valentine’s Day. The new batch combines hibiscus, açai berry, and long pepper for a cocktail flavoring extract that is sweet, spicy, and tart.
“The genesis for the Burlesque Bitters came out of left field. We were doing the bottling in Boston and we had a bunch of people over and for some reason someone mentioned the word ‘burlesque.’ And we thought burlesque bitters would be cool. I started thinking in colors — red, velvety curtains and tartan. And from that we went to basic flavors. I hadn’t had bitters with a floral, bitter, berry flavor so then we started looking at ingredients that would work: açai, rose hips, hibiscus. We started playing with those ideas and it came together quite beautifully. Between our first trial batch and our final batch we only made one adjustment,” said Avery.
How to use the new bitters? The better question is how not to use the bitters. “The first thing we had it in was a Negroni. It really plays well with vermouth, Campari, and amaros. It works well with outlier spirits, like Pisco or Cognac. It’s really becoming one of those bitters that’s like our mole bitters — it’s universal,” said Avery.
The bitters are currently available at the Meadow, Spuyten Duyvil, and Court Street Grocers, though the Glassers note that it’s still difficult because their product cannot be carried in liquor stores since it’s classified as a food product. But for now, they’re focusing on ramping up production in their new space — a large temperature-controlled room with a large sink for washing bottles. Maybe next in line we’ll be seeing a Brooklyn Bitters. One can only hope so.
Camper English noted that Blackbird in San Francisco is using Bittermens in the La Flama Blanca from their winter menu…
We recently had an opportunity to sponsor a Christmas Lingerie/Fashion event in Hong Kong…
via Find. Eat. Drink.: Liquid Gifts: Recommendations from Sommeliers, Mixologists & Chefs on the Huffington Post.
1 750 ml bottle Banks 5 Island Rum
Combine all ingredients and chill in a refrigerator. Serve in a bowl with a large block of ice. Garnish each serving with grated nutmeg.
The December 2010 issue of Details Magazine includes an article on winter drinks, which lists several great cocktails which incorporate eggs. The Heering Flip, from The Counting Room’s Maksym Pazuniak, also uses Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters:
Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Dry shake, shake with ice, strain over a large ice chunk, and garnish with 3 drops of mole bitters.
K&L Wines published a recipe for the Trillionaire Cocktail in their December, 2010 newsletter. It’s one of the first cocktails to feature products from our friends Eric Seed (Haus Alpenz – Cocchi Americano) and Jennifer Colliau (Small Hands Foods).
Shake vigorously and strain into a cocktail glass.