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When prohibition was repealed in 1933, Fee Brothers returned to the sale of liquor, but their cordial syrups remained so popular that they soon decided to focus on mixers, syrups, and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.
2 oz Applejack or Apple Brandy
1/2 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1/2 oz Grenadine
4 dashes cherry bitters
Combine applejack, chartreuse, grenadine, & cherry bitters and shake together with plenty of ice. Strain into a cocktail glass and top off with soda water.