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local source for bitters?

talking with friends about bitters they all seemed to agree that Angostura were the ONLY bitters available locally. i Googled around a bit and could not find much. do any CH's know of any place locally that sell a different kind of bitters? i remember somewhere that there were several types produced and i would like to get a sampling to present as x-mess gifts.

thanks!
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  1. Bitters is a pretty broad class of alcoholic beverage, and includes stuff that doesn't come in little Worcestershire sauce sized bottles. Examples include Jagermeister (yep, that stuff, actually a fine digestif), most Italian amari (Campari, Fernet Branca, Averna, Cynar, etc.), Unicum (Hungary), Becherovka (from the Czech Republic), Underberg (Germany), and so on.

    I'm guessing you're looking for stuff that's nowadays used mostly as cocktail flavorings, like Peychaud's Bitters, orange bitters, orange flower water, etc. I don't have a detailed listing, but the liquor stores with eclectic booze sections (Marty's, Blanchards, Martignetti's) tend to carry both types. You might also ask bar managers at the more serious cocktail bars in town: No. 9, Eastern Standard, B-Side, Green Street, etc, where they get theirs.

    2 Replies
    1. re: MC Slim JB

      thx MC. i did here that the bar staff at No.9 were actually making their own. i wonder what it would take to get them to part with a few ounces?

      1. re: ScubaSteve

        I don't know about homemade bitters at No. 9, though I have seen and sampled some homemade infusions and Maraschino cherries. There might be some legal issues around selling you some (no retailer's license), but perhaps a "donation"?

        I've bought both Peychaud's and orange bitters online. Amer Picon, a French bitters with a distinct orange flavor and a good alternative to orange bitters, isn't terribly hard to find in liquor stores. I understand I can get elderflower syrup (which probably, along with orange flower water, is not technically a bitters) at Ikea.

    2. I dropped a line to Lauren Clark, who runs http://www.drinkboston.com/, which is "about where and how to drink well in the Boston area." Sure enough, she had this to add:

      "* Eastern Standard stocks extra bottles of bitters to sell to those who ask: orange bitters (both Fee Bros. and Regan's, I think); and Peychaud's.

      * Christina's spice shop in Inman Sq. Cambridge sells Fee Bros. orange bitters (and also orange flower water for your homemade grenadine and cocktails like the Ramos Fizz.

      )

      * If my memory is correct, Blanchard's stocks Fee Bros. orange bitters and Peychaud's, but you may want to double check with them.

      Of course, you can get Angostura anywhere, and you can order any of the above from various online sources. Some bars (No. 9 Park, B-Side) have been known to make their own bitters."

      Her blog is worth checking out.

      1 Reply
      1. OMG, they have Regan's at ES?!?! I'm there. (See my crying post on the Spirits board.)

        A friend of mine contacted Fee's, and they claimed Kappy's also stocks Fee's bitters, but I've never seen them there.

        Indeed, B-Side has their own orange bitters, and I'm sure others. Bitters are not that hard to make, actually, if you're willing to make a vat's worth.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Alcachofa

          You can pick up a bottle of Stirrings Bitters at Whole Foods on River St. in Cambridge. I believe Stirrings is a MA based outfit (Cape Cod?). They seem to be everywhere right now. I can vouch for both their bitters and grenadine. They use only natural ingredients and nothing artifical. http://www.stirrings.com/index.php

          1. re: bakemeacake

            As of early 2008, Gordon's Liquors in Newton has Peychaud's in the 10 oz (and Creme De Violette thanks to my gentle nagging!), joining BRIX in the S. End and I think a store in Somerville as the only places I know in the general Boston area to have them. The folks at Gordon's are also expecting the Regan's Orange soon!

        2. I bought a bottle of Peychauds and another of Regan's Orange Bitters at Brix on Washington St. in the South End, a very good wine store. The bitters were $6 each. Don't look for them on display. Just ask, they keep 'em in a closet behind the cash register. They had at least one other type of orange bitters, too.
          Angostura bitters are much easier to find: just about any big liquor store will have them.

          2 Replies
          1. re: katzzz

            I went to Brix a few minutes ago and they are currently out of Peychaud's but they had Fee's Orange, Regan's and Angostura. Much to my delight they had just received a box of Fee's Whiskey Barrel-Aged Bitters. While a little expensive ($22) they are a treat when I have had them at 9 Park or Green Street.

            1. re: JWR

              I thought that the liquor store in the Porter Square shopping center had Peychauds (overall interesting store, but a bit pricey like Downtown), but haven't been in a while.

          2. Looks like Grand in Union Square Somerville is stocking all sorts of bitters and barware. I saw the full line of Fees, Angostura Orange, Peychauds, and Regans Bitters.

            1. I think the inventory has increased a lot since the date of this initial post and they are pretty widely available -- I picked up Peychaud's and Regan's Orange at Downtown in Davis Square recently - they had a couple of others as well and mentioned they expect to be adding more. Cambridge Discount at Fresh Pond also has several types now, as well as the Creme de Violette noted above.

              1. the old wine store at the corner of richmond and north in the north end has a selection of non-Angostura bitters. I think maybe Peychaud's but I can't remember now.