Whisk Sips Video Cocktail Series featuring Hella Aromatic Bitters and Citrus Bitters

Originally founded in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Hella Cocktail Co. is a New York City-based small batch producer of a variety of handcrafted cocktail products. What began as a hobby in the early 2000s turned serious in 2011, when they used crowdfunding to raise enough money to officially launch their brand.

With vision, determination, and a commitment to quality, they got their start making 5-gallon batches of bitters, but graduated to 30-gallon batches and eventually invested in two 550-gallon tanks for their facility in Queens. From there they’ve gone on to launch other cocktail products like syrups, mixers, & kits.

Rather than marketing to bars and bartenders, Hella is focused on the home cocktail enthusiast. All of their products are designed to be user-friendly and appeal to a wide audience. “We want to make bitters for people who don’t know what bitters are,” says cofounder Tobin Ludwig.

Two of their first- and most popular- bitters flavors, Citrus and Aromatic, are featured in the classic Manhattan recipe in the video below.
Hella calls their Citrus flavor their “full spectrum bitters”. Instead of just focusing on one citrus fruit like orange or lime, they infuse the rinds of several different varieties of citrus with traditional bittering agents to create a bold, bright, full-flavored bitter that’s incredibly versatile and pairs well with almost any alcohol or cocktail.

Their well-balanced, classic Aromatic bitters are a step above the rest. They include the quintessential aromatic flavors of cinnamon, clove, and allspice with the added depth and zing of black peppercorns and caraway seeds. By combining both wormwood and Gentian root, the bitter finish is interesting and elevated without being overwhelming.

Hella Classic Manhattan
2 oz rye or bourbon
1 oz sweet vermouth
2 dashes Hella Bitters Aromatic
1 dash Hella Bitters Citrus

In a mixing glass or shaker combine ingredients, add ice and stir for 8-10 seconds. Strain into a coupe glass or in a rocks glass, over ice. Garnish with cherry or orange peel.

Whisk Sips Video Cocktail Series featuring Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters

In 1864, James Fee opened a grocery and liquor store in Rochester, NY to help support his large, close-knit family. His brothers helped him grow the store into a successful winery and wine import business, and in 1883 the name was changed from James Fee & Company to Fee Brothers.

When prohibition began in 1920, Fee Brothers kept themselves afloat by making altar wine, distributing wine-making supplies, and consulting with homeowners to legally make their own wine at home. While it was legal to make a small amount of wine for personal use, making and selling stronger spirits was strictly forbidden.

That didn’t stop people from bootlegging though, and the result was a flood of poor quality hooch being made by people who didn’t have a clue as to what they were doing. Since most of the alcohol being sold in saloons and speakeasies tasted terrible, Fee Brothers saw an opportunity and developed a line of cordial syrups and drink flavorings designed to make inferior spirits taste like the real thing. Benedictine, Chartreuse, Brandy, and Rum flavorings were among their most popular products.

When prohibition was repealed in 1933, Fee Brothers returned to the sale of liquor, but their cordial syrups remained so popular that they soon decided to focus on mixers, syrups, and flavorings instead. By the 1950s their line of cocktail bitters really became a focus, and today they’re best known for their huge selection of interesting and unusual flavored bitters.

Fee Brothers’ Atzec Chocolate bitters are a unique offering that combines a rich cocoa flavor with a touch of heat and a pleasant bitter finish. Made with cocoa beans, chili peppers, warm spices like cinnamon, and traditional bittering agents; they’re a perfect compliment to dark spirits like rum, whiskey, or tequila. Please watch the video below for an idea of how to put Fee’s Atzec Chocolate bitters to use in your home bar.

The Campfire Sling
2 oz rye whiskey
1/4 oz real maple syrup
3 or 4 dashes Aztec chocolate bitters
Orange twist

Add whiskey, maple syrup, & chocolate bitters to a mixing glass with plenty of ice. Stir to chill and strain into a rocks glass with a large ice cube.
Flame an orange twist over the glass (hold a lit match between the orange twist and the glass, & squeeze the twist to release the oils toward the glass. The oils will flame up as they’re released)
Rub the orange twist along the rim of the glass and add the twist to the cocktail as garnish.
Enjoy!

Whisk Sips Video Cocktail Series featuring Scrappy’s Firewater Habanero Tincture

After years of experimenting with flavors and extraction methods, Scrappy’s Bitters was founded in 2008 by Seattle, WA bartender Miles Thomas. He was constantly searching for bitters with cleaner, brighter flavors, so he decided to take matters into his own hands and immersed himself in the world of herbs, botanicals, and bittering agents. He learned to pair multiple ingredients to intensify the flavor he was seeking, and came to understand that different methods of extracting flavor from the same source could yield vastly different results.

He perfected and released a range of flavors based on fruits, spices, and herbs, and Scrappy’s has been handcrafting their bitters with a small dedicated team ever since. Their commitment to quality shows in the boldness and purity of their flavors and they consider their bitters to be the best in the world.

Firewater Habanero Tincture is Scrappy’s first official product line that isn’t technically considered a cocktail bitter. Made in a similar manner to traditional bitters, this tincture features all the flavor and heat of habanero peppers without any bittering agents. Perfect for adding a clean spice and heat to any drink or dish, this tincture balances the heat of Habanero peppers with their delicate floral notes and subtle sweetness.

It should be noted that this tincture is extremely spicy and should be used sparingly and handled carefully.

The Bollinger
2 slices cucumber
2 lemon wedges
2 oz dry Gin
1/2 oz yellow Chartreuse
Simple syrup to taste (up to 1/2 oz)
2 dashes Scrappy’s firewater tincture

Muddle cucumber in a cocktail shaker, then add and muddle lemon wedges. Add remaining ingredients and plenty of ice. Shake well and strain over ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with thinly sliced cucumber.