Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Presenting...Dr Adam Elmegirab Bitters

First of all, he is not a doctor. Sorry. 

Second, Adam came all the way from Aberdeen - bringing his accent with him (I've been in London too long) - to present the London Cocktail Society and I hope he felt it was worth it because we all really did have a great time, best event yet...

Thirdly, I have never been as tipsy as I was at this tasting so it may get vague towards the end. 

So, bitters... more than just for getting drunk?

I shall start with the bits and bobs of history that I wrote down, feel free to skip to the drinks underneath:

The original recipe for the bitters that Adam has spent years recreating exists in two places: New York where the bitters company was originally created and Mexico City at the Casa di Bokers. Used the past as a remedy for indigestion amongst other things, Adam has dug into the history of the creating family and the label (which he used to individually sign and glue on) reflects this work. 

So what are bitters? Essentially they are overproof spirits and botanicals. They can either be potable i.e. drinkable such as Campari or non potable i.e. used for flavour. Being the first new bitters company in 100 years the explanation of his product on setting up was no easy task! You see Adam is not distilling but needs a compound license to change the flavour of the base spirit...

How do I taste bitters? Try them on an ice cube, in a vodka cocktail or simply with soda water (or when cooking add Aphrodisiac to your chilli, Bokers to your chicken and Dandelion & Burdock to your lemon sorbet)

What is the inspiration? The Bokers was the original recipe and that Adam extended into Spanish bitters (with citrus and camomile) designed especially for a Spanish drinks competition, Dandelion & Burdock (citrus, ginger and anise too) from childhood drinks and Aphrodisiac bitters (cocoa, spice) were created to treat "Dickensian illnesses" for the Zetter Townhouse - a favourite of mine.

1500 bottles a month now go out to 18 different countries with more growth day by day!

For more info on this side see Adam's blog and how it all started at

Lets get straight in with the drinks of the evening now:

#1 Caorunn Gin and Fentimans Tonic with Dandelion and Burdock bitters and an apple garnish :Liquorise notes, a little earthy and I got more juniper on this but may have been the gin

#2 Adnams Copper House Gin and Fentimans Tonic with Spanish bitters and a lemon garnish: Violets and citrus flavours were stronger and had more of a kick

#3 Adnams First Rate Finest Cut Gin anFentimans Ginger Ale with Aphrodisiac bitters and a lime garnish: Fresh!

#4 "Horses Neck" Adnams Copper House Gin and Fentimans Ginger Ale with Bokers bitters and a lemon twist: Earthier

And a cocktail recipe for you to finish:

Highland Picnic

25ml Caorunn Gin
25ml Lillet Rouge
25ml Apple Juice
3 dashes of Dandelion & Burdock bitters

1) Shake with ice then top with lemonade
2) Garnish with fruit and mint or rosemary

Perfect alternative to Pimms

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