Bitter truth about mont blanc pens hard-to-find bitters

August 09 [Thu], 2012, 11:19
In Montblanc Meisterstuck 1992, I had a full-blown disaster on my hands. My first book, "The Bartender's Bible," had been released the previous year and I received a letter - one of those missives that we used to write on paper and stuff into envelopes - from someone who'd bought a copy. She wanted to know where she could procure some orange bitters. I didn't have a clue.I had a few old bottles of De Kuyper orange bitters in my liquor cabinet - I think I'd stolen them from some bar I used to work at - but I was getting dangerously close to the end of them, and search as I might, I couldn't find any more at retail.Fee Brothers, mont blanc pens a company in Rochester, N.Y., was selling orange bitters at that time (and still is), but search engines were beyond my ken in 1992, and I'd never heard of this family-owned company. There was only one thing to do. I set out to make my own. I started by stealing someone else's recipe.There's a recipe for orange bitters in "The Montblanc Etoile de Gentleman's Companion," a book from the 1930s that was penned by Charles H. Baker Jr., a writer and bon vivant of the time, so I made up a batch of the stuff. Although it was good, it lacked depth, so I played around with the proportions and came up with my very own orange bitters about which I boasted frequently. I also used them as a bartering tool at various bars.More recently, there's been a little panic among bartenders because rumors have abounded that we're about to face a shortage of Angostura bitters because of something or other supposedly going down at the plant in Trinidad. I'm pretty optimistic about this scare not lasting too very long, though I must say that if the day comes when I'm no longer able to have Angostura in my Manhattan, I might just jump on that wagon that people have been telling me about. (Do people really do that?)If you run out of Angostura, it will most likely be because cocktail geeks have been hoarding the stuff, but rather than be without aromatic bitters altogether, now might be a good time for you to try some other bottlings. The aforementioned Fee Brothers makes a fine Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters, and their original Aromatic Bitters are well worth the price of a bottle, too. Then there's the Bitter Truth, a new - to this country, at least - line of German bitters that includes a great bottling called Old Time Aromatic Bitters and another that proudly wears a label proclaiming them to be Jerry Thomas Own Decanter Bitters.The Jerry Thomas bottling is simply divine. When used in a Manhattan, it makes the cocktail jump all over your mouth yelling, "I'm over here now," then, "I moved over to this cheek," then "Catch me if you can." It's a complex little mont blanc pens outlet potion.I can't tell you that any of the aforementioned bitters are a substitute for Angostura. There is no substitute for Angostura. These babies are worth taking out for a spin, though, as the Friar Serra Flip will demonstrate. Friar Serra Flip Makes 1 servingAdapted from a recipe by H. Joseph Ehrmann at Elixir in San Francisco.1 ounce Dry Sack sherry1 ounce Combier orange liqueur (see Note) 3/4 ounce Bols genever1 egg 4 dashes Jerry Thomas Own Decanter bitters from the Bitter Truth (see Note)-- Pinch of ground cinnamon1 orange twist, as garnishInstructions

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