My travels in the past month included an extravagant evening at a culinary show at Turning Stone, located on the Finger Lakes in upstate New York. The most interesting takeaway for me wasn’t just the elaborate buffet of lobster tails at the after party- it was a delicious, refreshing cocktail made with an ingredient I’d never heard of: Rhubarb Bitters.
Bitters is an alcoholic beverage flavored with herbal essences and has a bitter or bittersweet flavor. Numerous brands of bitters were formerly marketed as patent medicines, but are now considered to be digestifs rather than medicines. They commonly have an alcoholic strength of 45% ABV and are used as digestifs and as flavoring in cocktails.
The particular bitters I had were made by the Fee Brothers, of nearby Rochester, NY. Their motto is “The House of Fee by the Genesee since eighteen hundred and sixty-three”- that means this year marks their 150 year anniversary of making cocktail mixes, bitters, brines, botanical waters, and cordial syrups! Their Rhubarb Bitters gets the natural rhubarb tart/ bittersweet flavor just right! Here’s the recipe and directions:
- 2 oz vodka
- ~½ oz Fee Bros. Rhubarb Bitters
- 1 oz lime juice
- ~3 oz of strong ginger beer
- slice/wedge of lime
- ~soda (if desired)
- Mix vodka, rhubarb bitters, and lime juice in a cocktail shaker.
- Pour over ice into a glass or classic copper mule mug.
- Top with ginger beer. Add soda if a less potent cocktail is desired.
- Garnish with mint and a lime wedge.
Voila! You have a yummy and oh-so refreshing summer cocktail!