Fee Brothers’ Aztec Chocolate Bitters

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, and in 1883 the name was changed from James Fee & Company to Fee Brothers.

Surviving Prohibition: 

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. It was most often made by people who didn’t have a clue as to what they were doing. 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 designed to make inferior spirits taste like the real thing. Benedictine, Chartreuse, Brandy, and Rum flavorings were among their most popular products.

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. They’re best known for their huge selection of flavored cocktail bitters.

Aztec Chocolate 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 flame up when released)
Rub the orange twist along the rim of the glass and add the twist to the cocktail as garnish.

Bar Keep Lavender Spice Bitters

Bar Keep Lavender Spice Bitters are a delicious addition to any cocktail! They combine floral lavender with warm cinnamon spice and an earthy piney flavor.
Bar Keep Lavender Spice Bitters

Bar Keep’s Story:

In the world of craft bitters, Bar Keep’s line of of organic aromatic cocktail bitters has a unique origin story. Most bitters companies are founded by bartenders or cocktail enthusiasts who thought that their homemade bitters were good enough to break into the retail market. Not the case with Bar Keep’s bitters. Contest winners created these amazing flavors!

In 2009 LA’s Greenbar Distillery, already the largest portfolio of organic spirits in the world, decided to break into the world of organic cocktail bitters. They decided to enlist the help of professional bartenders, because they were more familiar with distilling spirits than bitters. Many bartenders were already perfecting their own recipes on a smaller scale, so it was a great plan. To find the best bartender-made bitters in the nation, they organized the first ever Bar-made Bitters Challenge. To enter you had to be a professional, practicing bartender in the U.S.. Having an amazing bitters recipe you’d be willing to share with the world helped too.

The entries were narrowed down to fifteen finalists, and a panel of over 100 bartenders and fans sniffed and sampled to choose a winner for each of their three categories, Fruit, Herb, & Spice. Each of the winners had their recipes produced, marketed, and released. The three original flavors were so popular in fact, that the line has since expanded by way of even more bartender competitions.  Every flavor has the names and faces of the winning bartenders featured prominently on the label.

The winner is:

The winner in the “Spice” category was an English Lavender & Spice Bitters created by John Hogan and Tobin Ellis of Las Vegas’s BarMagic at The Pelican Club. Their Lavender Spice recipe balances fresh lavender’s intensely floral notes with its masculine pine-y nature and a bit of warm cinnamon spice. Floral flavors like lavender can sometimes be overpowering. A few drops in the right cocktail however, will practically transport you to a summer flower meadow buzzing with bees. These bitters are an ideal partner for gin cocktails and play well with most other drinks made with clear spirits.
Still not sure how you might put Bar Keep Lavender Spice bitters to good use in your own home bar? Check out the video recipe below for inspiration!

The Amber Outlaw

1.5 oz. Amber or Old Tom Gin
75 oz. Orange Liqueur
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
6 dashes Bar Keep Lavender Bitters

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice. Shake until frosty and strain into coupe or cocktail glass.

Whisk sips featuring orange blossom water

orange blossom water

Orange Blossom Water has a rich history!

Orange blossom water is just as simple as it sounds: it’s water distilled with orange tree flowers to extract their essence. To make orange blossom water, they use bitter orange trees rather than sweet, the same kind of oranges used to make orange cocktail bitters! In this case though, they use the flowers rather than the tree’s fruit. They gently boil the flower petals in purified water, and then they capture and condense the heavily-scented steam. This produces a highly fragrant liquid with a subtle floral flavor.

The orange blossom water we carry at Whisk comes from Al Wadi Al Akhdar. They’ve been a leading Lebanese food brand throughout the world since 1979. They combine traditional and exotic touches with the latest food technology to bring high-quality authentic ingredients to the global market. They focus on traditional Lebanese & Middle Eastern specialties, and their flower essences are known to be some of the finest on the market.

Orange blossom water can be a surprise to people who have never tried it before. The scent is incredibly fresh and bright, like walking through an orange grove in spring! The flavor is pleasantly bitter and floral. A dash or two can give a dish or a cocktail an elegant otherworldly quality, but be careful not to add too much! A few extra drops can take your cocktail from delicate, subtle, and refined, to a big ol’ swig from Grandma’s perfume bottle.

Orange blossom water is traditionally used to add a subtle fragrance to sweets and pastries, but it lends itself perfectly to craft cocktails as well. For use in your home bar, orange blossom water works in any recipe or liquor that would pair well with orange bitters or the fresh flavor of citrus. Therefore, the possibilities are endless, but for a little bit of inspiration, please watch the cocktail recipe video below.

The Ramos Gin Fizz

  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 oz heavy cream
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • 1 egg white (1 oz pasteurized egg white if desired)
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange flower water
  • Ice
  • Club soda, chilled

Add the gin, lemon juice, lime juice, simple syrup, cream, egg white, & orange flower water to a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously without ice to combine.
Add a generous handful of ice and shake again until very frothy and shaker becomes frosty. Strain over ice into a highball or collins glass and top off with club soda. Garnish with an orange slice if desired.