Bittermilk: Creative cocktails made easy!

Bittermilk, the name may not ring a bell, not yet anyway. But hopefully after we’re done here you’ll understand why to us that name is anything but bitter. 

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We have a confession to make.  We enjoy a great cocktail. It could be with dinner, a Sunday brunch, with friends at a social gathering, or whenever the feeling strikes -- time and place permitting, of course. We're not saying go overboard, we're just saying there is absolutely nothing wrong with responsibly enjoying a fine libation. And nowadays there seems to be no shortage of fun places to find a great beverage. In fact, some of the places you can find a great drink seem like you’re getting a show just watching your cocktails being made.

The drinks seem like works of art, with a carefully crafted menu that fits the season. The perfect pour, with crystal clear ice, the garnish that you see right away and you just know that it’s going to be a delightful drink. Even the glassware can make you want to know where you can get it for yourself, especially the awesome array of tiki glasses. We’ll also admit that we’ve taken our fair share of snapshots of the cocktail menu when we are out, only to go home and try our hands at reproducing the drink. That’s always fun, and sometimes we're successful! These are certainly some of the fun things about cocktails. But it’s not all fun all the time, because my goodness does it get expensive and time consuming. Making a variety of flavored simple syrups, squeezing lemons, limes, orange, grapefruit or whatever other citrus you want. Then there’s buying and in turn accumulating quite a bit of sprits and accompanying liqueurs. For the average cocktail consumer this isn’t fun at all. This becomes a lesson in what you really need in order to make a killer cocktail. Well, ladies and gentlemen, we're here to tell you that things just got a whole lot easier!

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Bittermilk has done the work for you and they want to keep it that way. Bittermilk has taken sugars, spices, citrus, and more and turned them into a one bottle concoction of endless possibilities just for our enjoyment. Bittermilk was launched in late 2013 by the husband and wife duo MariElena and Joe Raya. The team has tailor-made their own manufacturing facility in Charleston, South Carolina so that they can control every aspect of the Bittermilk making process. The team is also using a variety of culinary techniques in order to make Bittermilk stand out. And believe us it certainly does that! Bittermilk is using techniques such as roasting, burning, smoking, barrel-aging, percolating and macerating. Now if that doesn’t spark your interests we're not sure that you should read any farther.

They offer 6 year-round varieties of mixers and one rotating seasonal mixer crafted just for the winter holidays. These mixers are non-alcoholic which means they can also be used to create a delicious mocktail for the T totaler. Or, in our case at the time, we found Bittermilk as a great substitute for a pregnant wife who was sick of water (Michaela!). Whatever use you choose is fine with us, as Bittermilk themselves puts it, “The labor is in the bottle. Just add booze.” and that couldn’t be more true. 

The Party Dilemma Has Been Solved :

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The labor is certainly in the bottle, the team at Bittermilk has given us a wonderful gift through their hard work and dedication. They have made our lives easier. Just think, you’re having a party and want to serve a few cocktails. That’s great, but not easy to make one at a time. And it takes you away from the point of having a party, being with your friends/family socializing, and having a chance to relax. Well, here again the work is done! Put out a bucket of ice, a bunch of widemouth mason jars and with that a couple bottles of various Bittermilk flavors and accompanying booze. Place a bar spoon and jigger next to each bottle and give simple instructions. Some of this and some of that in your ice filled glass, mix and enjoy! It doesn’t get much easier than that.

And if you’re thinking that a punch is easier than that you need to be punched. I’ve made punches and a good one isn’t always easy and it is most definitely always costly. 

Listen to this line-up and associated ingredients:

No. 1 Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Fashioned

Ingredients: Florida Golden Cane Sugar, Water, Fresh Orange Peel, Spices, Gentian Root, Cinchona Bark, Tartaric Acid

No. 2 Tom Collins with Elderflower & Hops

Ingredients: Fresh Lemon Juice, Water, Florida Golden Cane Sugar, Natural Extract of Elderflower and Elderberry, Centennial Hops

No. 3 Smoked Honey Whiskey Sour

Ingredients: Fresh Lemon Juice, Water, Bourbon Barrel Smoked Georgia Honey, Florida Golden Cane Sugar, Fresh Orange Peel

No. 4 New Orleans Style Old Fashioned Rouge

Ingredients: Florida Golden Cane Sugar, Water, Fresh Lemon Peel, Spices, Wormwood, Gentian Root, Tartaric Acid, Cochineal

No. 5 Charred Grapefruit Tonic with Bulls Bay Sea Salt

Ingredients: Fresh Lemon and Lime Juice, Florida Golden Cane Sugar, Water, Charred Grapefruit Peel, Cinchona Bark, Bulls Bay Sea Salt

No. 6 Oaxacan Old Fashioned

Ingredients: Florida Golden Cane Sugar, Organic California Raisins, Lemon Peel, French Broad Chocolate Cocoa Nibs & Fines, Dried Chiles, Spices, Cinchona Bark, Tartaric Acid

Other products available seasonally:

No. 7 Limited Edition

2015 Edition: Gingerbread Old Fashioned

2016 Edition: Yuletide Old Fashioned

We're going to provide you with two cocktails this time around that will get you through what's left of this warm weather season. And as it has gone so far maybe it'll help you through the rest of this hurricane season. Before we begin, and all joking aside, please have those affected by hurricanes Harvey and Irma in your thoughts and prayers. This post had taken longer than expected because of our very minor impact from Irma. However there are those that have not been so fortunate and who need all the help and prayers they can get.

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Recipe #1: Bittermilk Charred Grapefruit Gin & Tonic

This combination of grapefruit and sea salt in Bittermilk's No. 5 offering is fantastic. It's so refreshing and we just love how easy it is. 

Add 1 part Bittermilk No. 5 to 4 parts gin in a ice filled shaker. (If you want to add a little variation in flavor, not that it needs it, try adding various cocktail bitters to the mix. We tried orange, grapefruit, lime and even a tiki style bitter worked well. We also tried using some rosemary tincture to add aroma and flavor and it was delicious.)

Skake it like crazy for about 20-30 seconds until it's very cold.

Pour the contents into a glass of fresh ice, garnish as you choose and serve. (you can see our garnish of choice was the grapefruit wedge and rosemary.)

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Recipe #2: Bittermilk Smoked Honey Whiskey Sour

This smoked sour mix is an absolute gem. With a slight sweetness of honey and bright acidity it coupes so well with your favorite bourbon or rye. 

Add 2 part Bittermilk No. 3 to 4 parts bourbon or rye in an ice filled mixing glass.  (Again If you want to add a little variation in flavor try adding various cocktail bitters to the mix. We tried lemon, aromatic, charred cedar, even cranberry bitters. We also tried using some fresh sage for an aromatic, all worked amazingly well.)

Stir about 40-50 times until the mixing glass in cold to the touch. Strain the mixture into the glass of fresh ice and garnish as you see fit. (We used lemon peel and sage)

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This is only a very small sample of what Bittermilk has to offer you. Please check out their website for a full product line up. 

And stay tuned because the gracious folks at Bittermilk sent us another little gem that we didn't share here intentionally. We'll have a follow on post down the road highlighting even more of their amazing products. 

The Judge Family6 Comments