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When prohibition was repealed in 1933, Fee Brothers returned to the sale of liquor, but their cordial syrups remained so popular that they soon decided to focus on mixers, syrups, and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
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.