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The Secret to Great Whiskey Cocktails: Whiskey Barrel Bitters

It's the time of year when whiskey cocktails are as common a sight as long waiting lines in front of every cash register. And no wonder, after waiting in those lines to spend your money, you're gonna need a good drink.

Now, I confess that I've been much in the spirit of drinking bourbon and rye this December. It's a little embarrasing to admit how many Manhattans, Old Fashioneds, and Sazerac have passed these lips in the last few weeks. But I can't say that I haven't enjoyed them. What I can say is that I've enjoyed every drink a little more, once I started putting these Whiskey Barrel-Aged bitters from Fee Brothers in them.

As I understand, Fee's regular Old Fashion bitters are given extra barrel aging in used Jack Daniels barrels. This concentrates the flavors, harmonizes the extremes and makes for one potently delicious bitters. However, they might just as well as called them Cinnamon Bitters, as that spice is the dominant flavor. But I frankly don't care, as that hit of cinnamon and wood and dark, spicy goodness makes any American whiskey drink shine.

These bitters are bottled only once a year in the spring. Look for them at Cask or at John Walker and Co., but if you can't find them, make sure you grab some in the spring. Come next winter, you'll be glad you did.