Adam Elmegirab began a project to recreate the drinks from Jerry Thomas' 1862 bartender’s guide ‘How to Mix Drinks or the Bon Vivant’s Companion’. This was cleverly titled ‘The Jerry Thomas Project’. As he wished to recreate the drinks as close as possible to how they would have been constructed in the 1800s he always had the intention of getting his hands on the various cocktail bitters that bartenders used all those years ago.
Since that time Adam Elmegirab has focused his attention on the recreation of Boker's Bitters, a brand created in 1828 by Johann Gottlieb Boker. This was a key ingredient for many old cocktail designs and Adam set to bringing it back to life so we could once again create these old-timer cocktails.
Adam's bitters are a small batch bitter selection, which means the products are handcrafted with time and care put into every bottle. These are not assembly line style products nor should you look at "small batch" in terms of marketing hype like such notables as "ultra premium" and "super premium" and other labels brands use to look more important. Small batch means what it states, they're made by hand in smaller batches.
Boker's Bitters (100ml bottle)
Boker's bitters bring an inviting eucalyptus scent, light peppermint and a mild earthy profile. In a cocktail you'll find the bring a biting eucalyptus/cardamom flavor that moves quickly into an earthy mid-palate profile and a wildly bitter bite in the finish which reminds me a bit of an Italian Campari. (read our full review)
Dandelion & Burdock Bitters(100ml bottle)
Originally the Dandelion & Burdock beverage of the 1300s was created by the Italian priest Saint Thomas Aquinas and where famed for their alleged medicinal properties. The aroma of the Dandelion & Burdock Bitters is highly botanical and have a slight medicinal scent intermingled with star anise. The finish reminds me a bit of citrus peel and a hint of spicy ginger. Reminds me of a lighter herbal Peychaud's like product. Could make a lovely Sazerac cocktail.
Teapot Bitters (100ml bottle)
One of our most popular sellers on Awesome Drinks, as it brings a nice compliment to many cocktails that align themselves with tea-like properties or have vanilla notes not too unlike Adam's Teapot bitters. The aroma of the teapot bitters is that of sweet vanilla playing off a rich chai tea and hazelnut. They'll bring a flavor of dark black tea with a vanilla mid-palate and a finish of citrus and clove. (read our full review)
Aphrodite Bitters (100ml bottle)
An enigma wrapped in a green label, aphrodite bitters bring the sensation of a historic aphrodesiac into the 21st century home. A heartwarming aroma of bitter chocolate which moves into chili peppers on the nose. The taste reminds me of a deep European chocolate which transitiosn to hazelnut and ends with a very distinct coffee bean. I love coffee so there is a special spot in my heart for Aphrodite Bitters. (read our full review)
Spanish Bitters (100ml bottle)
This is another popular one among our customers. The customers buying Spanish Bitters are those looking to get creative in their cocktail designs. During the mid-1800s Gainer’s Spanish Bitters were celebrated for their alleged medicinal properties and in particular were noted for their complex flavour profile that included layers of chamomile, citrus, spice, violet and berries. I definitely get a berry aroma with a bit of a tonic, violets and hard to describe spices. The taste sensation brings back the berries with a mild herbatious tone but overall definitely a richer sweetness of dark berries and floral essences. Very versatile.
How To Taste Test
My suggestion would be to add 3 dashes of bitters to about 3 ounces of cool spring water and pay close attention to the aroma. Then take a few sips to get the concept and dynamic flavors that play out on your tongue. From there, you may also want to taste a dash on your tongue to get a presence for the bitterness (or is there no bitterness at all?)
After your initial tastings with Adam Elmegirab bitters, play around with some cocktials from classics to your own creations. Create a cocktail without the bitters and one with the bitters and do a "taste off" to see which you find works best. Perhaps re-create it again with a different set of Adam's bitters and see if the flavors compliment better or take awhile from the overall aroma and taste.
Remember, take the time to explore all the in-depth flavors of the bitters you've purchased and understand how they can compliment a cocktail. You may also simply add them to water and use them as your own personal digestif or to calm a sick stomach as they once did. Most importantly, have fun. You will soon understand why Adam and other small batch bitters brands exist and why they are fighting so hard to get in the hands of every bartender and home enthusiast.