Confessing that I’ve been obsessing… over DRAM Apothecary bitters
If you follow me regularly you may have noticed that I’ve developed a slight obsession with DRAM Apothecary bitters. Why do I love them so? Let’s begin with the fact that they are made in Colorado from wild and organic herbs that are foraged locally. They contain no synthetic dyes, flavorings, preservatives, or flavor oil, and they are alcohol and gluten free as well. I wish every product I buy could make these claims! The fact that they are free of anything undesirable makes these bitters equally at home in a cocktail, a cup of tea, a smoothie, or even in baked goods. I’ve used their Citrus Medica flavor in a pound cake and it was amazing. As if all this wonderfulness wasn’t enough, DRAM bitters are also available in the most fun and fabulous flavors. My favorite are the Black bitters, which are deep and dark, but with a happy pop of cardamom. I’ve used them in The Blackout, You Want It Darker, A Tale of Two Whiskies, and Moonshine and Apples. Second runner-up goes to Wild Mountain Sage whose taste literally makes me feel like I am wandering around on a mountain somewhere, under a gorgeous blue sky, with just a slight chill in the air, and a nice dog by my side… Sorry I’m getting carried away. I’ve used these bitters in 3 of my cocktails so far: December New Moon, The Ghost of Christmas Present, and Early Autumn. Next we have the Citrus Medica flavor which is citrusy and floral at the same time; it was an important component in The Ghost of Christmas Past, as well as in that pound cake! The Palo Santo bitters were the perfect fit in The Winter Solstice, both because of their vanilla smokiness, and because they are supposed to have magical powers, much like the solstice itself. Hair of the Dog bitters made an appearance in Falling in Love Slowly, one of my favorite cocktails that I’ve come up with, and I’m using them in today’s drink called Ginger or MaryAnn? The only flavor I have not tried yet is the Lavender Lemon Balm, but don’t despair! They’ll be front and center in tomorrow’s Friday Musings post that features a drink called All My Good Intentions.
As for today’s cocktail, who remembers the TV show Gilligan’s Island?? Ginger was the redheaded movie star and MaryAnn was the brunette farm girl, both beautiful, but in completely different ways. So it became a question mostly asked of men (because who would have thought to ask a woman back then) as to who they’d prefer: Ginger or MaryAnn? In a broader sense the question was really asking “do you want to chase the spectacular, but most likely unattainable girl that might break your heart, or can you be satisfied with the down-to-earth, more realistic one that might actually marry you?” Apparently the answer was thought to be able to give men insight into their personalities, which I find to be more than a little bit funny. In terms of the drink, MaryAnn is represented by the Goslings Rum and the chamomile fennel simple syrup, and Ginger by the ginger shrub and the Velvet Falernum. DRAM’s Hair of the Dog bitters, with their fennel and ginger flavor profile, work to bring all the ingredients together. This cocktail also has a bit of an island feel to it, which makes me think that Gilligan and the Skipper could have easily spent a lazy afternoon drinking these, hoping to gain insight into their male personalities.
Ginger or MaryAnn?
2 oz Goslings Black Seal dark rum
2 oz Tait Farms ginger shrub (or your favorite brand or homemade)
1/2 oz Velvet Falernum (Canal’s Pennnsauken)
1/4 oz chamomile fennel simple syrup*
2 dashes DRAM Apothecary Hair of the Dog bitters
2 oz of a good club soda
1 candied ginger cube and 1 fennel frond for garnishing
Combine all the ingredients except for the club soda in the bottom of a shaker tin and add ice. Shake for 30 seconds or until very cold. Strain and pour over ice into a Collins glass. Top with the club soda. Garnish with the ginger cube on a skewer and the fennel frond. Enjoy!
*To make the syrup, steep 1 fennel and 2 chamomile teabags in 1 cup of hot water for 10 minutes. Add an equal amount of sugar and heat gently until clear. Store in the fridge in a Mason jar for 2-3 weeks.
DRAM products are available on their website, locally here on N. 3rd St. in Philadelphia at the Art in the Age store, and at Dean & DeLuca stores. The cocktail bitters sampler pack is around $30.