Mother's Bitter Helper

Like Janus Mother is looking back in time to the days when bitter medicinal tinctures were added to spirits creating the first cocktail - the Bittered Sling, and also forward to the boom in cocktails and the modern cocktail bitter. In this lucent state she has been gathering barks, roots and leaves (thank you Baldwins) - sourcing over-proof hooch (easier said than done) and wielding a sharp paring knife.


Combining a bitter base containing herbs such as wormwood, quinine, dandelions and gentian with a heart of warm spice and a fruit top note - bitters add complexity and balance to cocktails. The very opposite of the sparkler and flamingo garnish good bitters impart depth, darkness and intrigue. I'm in the middle of a series of experiments to create the perfect bitters - Mother's Bitter Helper. I've found the ideal bottles, looking like they might contain poison and with a handy dropper for precision cocktail construction.


   For the bitters enthusiast,


The Modern Cocktail

1 1/2 oz good bourbon
1 tsp dark rum
1/2 tsp pernod or absinthe
1/2 tsp lemon juice
2 dashes orange bitters

Combine ingredients in a shaker half-filled with ice cubes. Shake well, and strain into a cocktail glass.