Okay, everybody, you can relax now. Your Manhattans and Old Fashioneds are going to be okay. If you didn't know it, we were in the midst of an Angostura bitters shortage due to a strike in Trinidad & Tobago where the stuff is manufactured. People had been worried. Evidently, the US is the world's biggest consumer of Angostura bitters, drinking the equivalent of about 750,000 four-ounce bottles or equivalents annually. I know that Duggan McDonnell, proprietor of Cantina, had gone around the Bay Area, buying up the remaining bottles he could find at Bevmos, in case the shortage was to be prolonged.
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.
1. Cheap and Cheerful
The economy has got people drinking cheaper bottles of wine. But learning something along the way. As a sommelier in a high-end restaurant told me, “Maybe wine drinkers are learning that often what makes wine expensive is not only high quality, but things like fashion and availability.”
2. DIY Everything
Bartenders started the DIY trend a couple of years ago by making their own bitters. But now witness the portfolio of shrubs (syrups made from fresh fruit and vinegar) from Nopa’s Neyah White and the tonic water made with cinchona bark and assorted herbs and flowers from her backyard made by Pizzaiolo’s Cate Whalen. What’s next? Glass blowing?