This week we turn our attention to the shelf on the bar where we keep the weird and wonderful collection of small bottles that occupy what we think of as the spice rack of our bar. The big bottles almost always get the spotlight. Not this week. For the next few days, the bitters bottles take front and center. Our guide on this tour of the bitters shelf is Mark Bitterman’s (apparently that’s his given name) Field Guide to Bitters and Amari. As we always say when we do one of these book reviews, we hope that our little taste compels you to read the whole thing for yourself; it’s a particularly helpful guide if you want to make you own bitters, or have a bitters by bitters guide of what the difference is among all those little bottles you can buy. For a general introduction to bitters and this week focused on them, take a look at Monday’s post.
There are hundreds of bitters, and more everyday, but not all bitters are equal. Angostura is almost the kleenex of bitters, the brand name often being used as a synonym for the whole category. It might not have a rival, but if it does, it’s Peychaud’s. Peychaud’s bright pink, anise-forward recipe was created in Haiti in the late 18th century. It made its way to New Orleans in 1830 in the hands of Antoine Amedeee Peychaud. There it became the crucial ingredient in the Sazerac and other classic New Orleans drinks. Like almost all other alcoholic products, Peychaud’s was forced to cease production during Prohibition, but unlike most others it resumed almost immediately after Repeal, making it the only product to fulfill its unique niche for about 75 years, until the recent cocktail renaissance created a surge in bitters making. Seventy-five years of extra practice has made Peychaud’s pretty good at its job.
Antibelle Cocktail Recipe
- 2 oz dry gin
- 3/4 oz lime juice
- 3/4 oz simple syrup
- 5 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
- 4 oz peach bitters
- 1 egg white
- mint sprig, for garnish
- Add egg white and lime juice to a cocktail shaker.
- Shake without ice until it’s nice and frothy.
- Add remaining liquid ingredients.
- Fill with ice to above the level of the liquid.
- Shake for 20 seconds.
- Strain into a rocks glass.