Thursday, March 31, 2011

Day 81: Making Betty Botter's Bitters Batter Better

Fox River Cocktail
Maybe the Fox River is murky?
It is hard to keep coming up with ways to introduce the daily drink and list its ingredients.  Invariably it ends up being a variation on “today’s drink is the XYZ, a mixture of some alcohol and some other ingredients.”  Every once in a while we might get creative and/or bust out the thesaurus, but even that only gives us so many options.  The first step towards solving any problem is recognizing that you have a problem, though, so I think we are well on our ways towards finding a solution. Don’t think for one minute that a boring sentence or two or three or four means that we are mailing it in.  Care and thoughtfulness are put into every wird in this blog.

Today’s drink is the Fox River Cocktail, a mixture of bourbon (or rye) whiskey, brown crème de cacao, and bitters (oops, we did it again). Even with two ounces of bourbon, the Fox River Cocktail was not the worst drink we’ve ever had.  It actually was almost good despite the fact that it was extremely strong, coming in at over 37% alcohol.  It is one of those drinks that makes your stomach and throat warm when you take a sip.  That is the feeling of protective lining rotting away, so it might even be an effective weight loss measure. The primary flavor was of course the bourbon, but the crème de cacao did manage to take a little of the edge off and the bitters was definitely noticeable. This drink had four dashes of bitters, which is four more than most drinks have, and three more than most drinks with bitters have.

Bitters is alcohol infused with aromatic herbs.  The Angostura Bitters that we used is 44.7% alcohol.  Even though it is typically very strong, you can buy it in the grocery store and as far as I know you don’t get carded when buying bitters.  I am not advocating that our underage readers go load up on bitters, though.  Vanilla extract is a tastier option.  If you’ve ever had Jägermeister then you know what bitters tastes like: cough syrup.  I happen to love cough syrup, so I find the bitters flavor quite pleasant.  Bitters isn’t always bitter, though, it can also be bittersweet. That makes “bitters” a terrible name not only because it ends in “s” making subject-verb agreement confusing, but also because it is a bit misleading.
The giant label does not hide the bitterness
(Img: © Chriusha (Хрюша) / CC-BY-SA-3.0)
If you do happen to find bitters too bitter there is new hope.  Researchers have recently discovered a chemical that blocks the taste buds that are receptors for bitterness.  The chemical is called GIV3616.  The people who named it couldn’t even get over the incredibly low bar for naming that “bitters” established.  At any rate, I am looking forward to the day GIV3616 becomes commercially available. On that day I will make a drink that has both bitters and GIV3616 and let them fight to the death.  It will be glorious. I will also liberally use GIV3616 to cut down on the bitterness of vegetables.  It will probably be a better option than my current bitter blocker of cheese sauce.

Overall Rating for the Fox River Cocktail

Taste: 2 – Just missed a 3
Presentation: 4
Ease of Preparation: 4
Drinks Until Blackout: 3 – 37% Alcohol


2 oz Whiskey (Bourbon or Rye)
1 tbsp Crème de Cocoa (Brown)
4 dashes Bitters

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