Yesterday, I discovered that there is a place a few miles from my house that makes nine different kinds of bitters for mixing with cocktails (orange, cherry, rhubarb, lemon, peach, whiskey-barrel aged, old fashion, grapefruit, and mint). According to the guy who runs the place, it is the only place in the world that produces nine different kinds of bitters. The place is called Fee Brothers and, remarkably, it’s been run by the same family since 1863. They still have the same cash register they did when the place opened (I tried to take a picture with my cell phone camera but it didn’t come out very well).
If this were New York City, Fee Brothers would have been the subject of at least one Sunday Styles article and would likely be accorded the same kind of civic respect as the Pickle Store, Russ and Daughters, and the OCD guy in Midwood who makes the pizza with the five cheeses. But since this is flyover country, Fee Brothers is just another unusual business in a slightly sketchy neighborhood that no one pays much attention to locally. (They told me that they do a lot of their business with bars and restaurants in San Francisco and New Orleans.)
I bought cherry, orange, and whiskey-barrel aged bitters yesterday. I made a Manhattan with the whiskey-barrel aged ones and a margarita with the orange bitters. Both came out great. But I don’t know much about mixed drinks. Does anyone out there have any ideas on drinks to make with exotic bitters?
And to take this perhaps one step too far, what kinds of old-tymey foods would be good to eat with weird old-thymey drinks? What movies would be good to watch while drinking them? I’m thinking of throwing some kind of party. I’ve already settled on the music.