Hella Bitter BittersMADE BY HELLA BITTER IN BROOKLYN, NEW YORK
Bitters are to drinks what spices are to food. Indeed, a few drops will add a little magic – and will absolutely make you happier.
Hella Bitter has many lofty goals, but here's the biggest: "We want people to understand how bitters work, and to use them regularly in their bars at home. You don't have to be a fancy bartender to do that." They love seeing the expression on people's faces when first tasting a drink made with bitters.
Hella is a Bay Area expression for 'really' or 'very' or, simply, 'good.' Hence, Hella Bitter is hella bitter.
Hella Bitter's intent here is to show off the rich spectrum of citrus, rather than focus on one variety. They work with nine types of citrus pith – each batch might contain (depending on what's in season) Naval, Blood, Valencia, Satsuma, Temple, Tangelo, or Clementine oranges. Or grapefruit, pummelo, lemons and limes. High quality aromatics and spices are then added to the pith, such as fresh ginger, green cardamom, Saigon cinnamon sticks, whole star anise, fennel, coriander, black pepper, and Gentian or Angelica root. After a month of maceration, the mix is filtered and sweetened with caramelized sugar. The result is a vibrant, well-balanced citrus bitters – great in a martini, with seltzer or any drink recipe calling for orange bitters.
INGREDIENTS: Water, alcohol, citrus pith, herbs and spices, caramel. Comes in a hand-dated 5 oz bottle.
This is Hella Bitter's answer to Angostura but a little more assertive. Although cinnamon, star anise, cloves and whole allspice go into the mix, they are managed with careful thought so that more subtle flavors like rose hips and caraway can shine through. Shredded wormwood and calamus root also provide a little kick (and stands up to richer caramelized spirits like whiskeys and aged rums). The whole concoction macerates for two weeks, then is filtered and sweetened with caramelized sugar. This is a modern take on a classic variety of bitters every bar needs.
INGREDIENTS: Water, alcohol, wormwood bark, herbs and spices, caramel, beet juice. Comes in a hand-dated 5 oz bottle.
Salt and Pepper Set
Can't decide on which to get? Now you don't have to: the Citrus and Aromatic bitters in Hella's Salt and Pepper set come in two petite 1.7 oz bottles to cover all of your cocktail making needs.
TIP OF THE TONGUE
Here's the cocktail that got Hella Bitter started, perfect for warm weather: Combine 1 oz gin, 2 oz seltzer, 5 dashes of Hella Bitter Citrus, and a twist. So easy, but everyone'll think you're a pro.
Or try The Goldminer's Daughter: Mix ½ muddled and strained clementine (or just some plain orange juice in a pinch), ¼ squeezed lemon, lemon zest, 1 oz bourbon, 1 oz whiskey, some dashes of citrus bitters, a splash of soda. Pour into a rocks glass, top with soda, and garnish with a twist.
And now for some unexpected ideas: Put a few dashes in a glass of sparkling water (simple but great!). Experiment with few drops in salad dressing. And, something magical happens when you drip some over vanilla ice cream. Yes!