Whisk Sips Video Cocktail Series featuring Fee Bros Cherry 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When prohibition was repealed in 1933, Fee Brothers returned to the sale of liquor, but their cordial syrups remained so popular that they soon decided to focus on mixers, syrups, and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’ Cherry bitters have a bright sweet cherry flavor with a subtle bitterness, floral notes, and a hint of candy on the nose. They’re wonderful in fruity, summery cocktails and are also an excellent addition to whiskey cocktails like old fashioned or manhattans, especially for those who love their maraschino cherries. Please watch the video below for another idea of how to put Fee’s Cherry bitters to use in your home bar.

The Orchard

2 oz Applejack or Apple Brandy
1/2 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1/2 oz Grenadine
4 dashes cherry bitters
Soda water

Combine applejack, chartreuse, grenadine, & cherry bitters and shake together with plenty of ice. Strain into a cocktail glass and top off with soda water.

Whisk Sips Video Cocktail Series Featuring Regans Orange Bitters

Named one of the top 10 bartenders throughout history, renowned New York-based Gary “Gaz” Regan has helped pioneer the idea that bartending is a profession with the potential to “change the world”. He’s written countless articles and books on the subject, and even created his own wildly successful flavor of bitters.

In the early 1990s Gaz was having a hard time sourcing orange bitters that he actually enjoyed using in his cocktails, so he decided to set about making his own. Armed with a recipe from 1939’s The Gentleman’s Companion: An Exotic Drinking Book, he set to work. The recipe called for orange peel and warm spices like cardamom, and Gaz decided to add some traditional aromatic bittering agents like gentian & cinchona for depth. He set off to the Village in Manhattan to procure the ingredients and before long his wife was calling him the Weekend Alchemist. Their apartment began to fill with jars of differing amounts and ingredients that he tended to and futzed with every day.

On his fourth try he came up with a formula that he loved, but batch number 4 ran out after only a year. When he tried re-creating the recipe on a larger scale, he ran into issues with the freshness of one of his ingredients and had to go back to the drawing board. Eventually he teamed up with the makers of Peychaud’s Bitters in New Orleans, and before long they’d reached formula number 6, which tasted great, could be reproduced on a large scale, and met all the requirements needed to be sold commercially. The rest is history!

Regan’s Orange bitters offers a delicate, yet complex orange flavor infused with spicy cinnamon and cloves. They’re most often used in Manhattans and Old-Fashioneds, but they’re tasty enough to be used in almost anything! Bon Appetit recommends using them to recreate the original dry Martini recipe, which is almost indistinguishable from what we think of as a martini today. In the early 1900’s, and the word “dry” referred to the type, not the amount, of vermouth used. Along with orange bitters, this recipe contains equal parts gin and dry vermouth! Please watch the video below to see just one way to put Regan’s Orange bitters to use in your home bar.

Classic Dry Martini
(1910-era recipe)

1 1⁄2 oz. London dry or Plymouth gin
1 1⁄2 oz. French white dry vermouth
2 dashes Regan’s orange bitters
Strip of orange peel

In a mixing glass, combine gin, vermouth, & bitters, with plenty of ice. Stir until well chilled and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Twist a strip of orange peel over the top and drop it in.

Whisk Sips Video Cocktail Series featuring Fee Bros Cranberry 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 trying though, and the result was a flood of poor quality alcohol 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 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, but today they’re probably best known for their huge selection of flavored bitters.

Fee Brothers Cranberry bitters are an unusual and hard to find bitter that adds a tart, fruity sweetness to your favorite cocktails. With notes of botanical bittering agents and citrus zest, they’re fruit forward and taste of unsweetened cranberry and cherry juices. They’d be perfect for fall and winter cocktails and would make a great addition to the bar at your upcoming holiday parties. They’re best used in drinks that you don’t want to water down or over-sweeten with too much cranberry juice. Please watch the video below for an idea of how to put Fee’s cranberry bitters to use in your home bar.

The Cranberry Rose

2 oz applejack
1 oz cranberry juice
1/2 oz grenadine
4 to 6 dashes cranberry bitters

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