Fee Brothers’ History:
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. 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. They even consulted with homeowners to legally make their own wine at home. It was legal to make a small amount of wine for personal use, but making and selling stronger spirits was strictly forbidden.
That didn’t stop people from trying though, and poor quality alcohol flooded the market. Most of the people making this black market booze had no clue what they were doing. For that reason, most of the alcohol being sold in saloons and speakeasies tasted terrible. Fee Brothers saw this as an opportunity and developed a line of cordial syrups and drink flavorings. They designed them to make inferior spirits taste like the real thing. Benedictine, Chartreuse, Brandy, and Rum flavorings were among their most popular products.
Cordial Syrups & Cocktail Bitters:
When prohibition ended in 1933, Fee Brothers started selling liquor again. They kept making their cordial syrups though, and they remained very popular. Therefore, they soon decided to focus on mixers, syrups, and flavorings instead. By 1950 they were on a never-ending quest to develop new products and their flavored cocktail bitters line really became a focus. Fee Brothers’ product list now boasts almost 100 drink mix products. Today they’re best know for their huge selection of flavored cocktail bitters.
Orgeat syrup is traditionally made from almonds, sugar, and either rose water or orange flower water. It has a sweet almond flavor and is a very traditional ingredient in many cocktails and soda fountain drinks. Many classic tiki drinks call for Orgeat syrup, and it is an integral ingredient in the Mai Tai. Please watch the video below for another idea of how to put Fee’s Orgeat syrup to use in your home bar.
Bourbon Rootbeer Lift
1 1/2 oz. bourbon
1/2 oz. orgeat syrup
1/2 oz. heavy cream
1/2 oz. coffee liqueur
2 to 3 dashes rootbeer bitters
2 to 3 dashes vanilla extract
Combine all ingredients, except the soda water, and shake with ice. Strain into a glass and gently stir while adding the soda to achieve a good froth. After it sits for 20 seconds or so add an ounce more soda water to lift the head above the glass. Serve with straw.