What is Brown, Bitter & Stirred?

12 Dec

Brown, Bitter & Stirred is a concept loved by booze hound bartenders.  The concept is seen as almost a pinnacle for those hiking up the craft cocktail mountain.  While they might be the most challenging to drink, they could be the least challenging to concoct.

January 7th will be out first competition and we’ll start with this advanced intense cocktail.  Here are the rules for the competition but to keep it brief, it needs to contain something from the bitter list below, be only made of alcoholic ingredients (wine counts) and be gently stirred.

For this competition however, please, don’t softball it.  Rather, show your understanding of amaro’s subtlety, create something that brings new drinkers in instead of something that is a barrier to all those that aren’t, “initiated.”

Here is what Vinum Importing has to offer when it comes to bitterness:


if we make this cool in America, France might use it again



Salers Aperitif is a classic French beverage created from the roots of Gentiane Lutea, a wild plant that grows at high altitudes in the Auvergne region of France. The roots are steeped in a neutral alcohol base for several months, which is then distilled with an assortment of herbs and matured in Limousin oak casks. The result is a distinctive bittersweet liqueur with earthy vegetal notes complemented by hints of citrus peel, mint and anise.

aveze gentiane

vaguely tastes dirt in a good way


Created in 1929 by Emile Refouvelet, Aveze is a gentian liqueur produced from the roots of the large, yellow gentian roots, which are native to the mountains of central and southern Europe. The Aveze distillery is located in France’s picturesque Auvergne region.  Aveze is created by harvesting fresh roots from the gentian plants, which are then sliced and left to macerate in alcohol for nine months, along with other carefully selected plants to balance the delicate flavor profile.


strength of amaro tempered with flowers



Developed over 100 years ago by the Bosca family, the recipe for this wine-based Amaro is a true expression of Piemonte tradition. It is created by infusing Cardoon, Blessed Thistle and other botanicals into the family’s estate wine, which is then rested in new oak for at least six months. The result is a rich, smooth liqueur with wintry notes of fresh pine, roasted nuts and dried fruit, tied together by a subtle smokiness.

meletti amaro

the baby seal of amaro

Meletti Amaro


Meletti Amaro is made from a unique, proprietary blend of herbs and botanicals from a 5th generation family distiller. The flavors of these carefully selected ingredients are obtained through the cold-extraction process known as percolation. The process is similar to brewing coffee. Much like a coffee pot, an assortment of ingredients is placed in the upper section of the still, and alcohol flavored with additional ingredients is pumped over and through it.

rabarbaro zucca

beats Bud Light at BBQs



Zucca is a bittersweet Italian amaro. Although ‘Zucca’ is the Italian word for squash / pumpkin, its base ingredient is rhubarb – hence the name Zucca Rabarbaro. The recipe includes zest, cardamom seeds and other curative herbs. After 10 days of rest, the drink is filtered and bottled.  Rhubarb is beneficial to the liver and has been used in traditional Chinese medicine since its earliest days  Zucca enjoys a certain amount of prominence as a featured drink at the Caffe Miani in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele at the Piazza del Duomo in Milan. The bar is locally known as the Zucca bar thanks to a large Zucca sign outside the building, and was also the site where Gaspare Campari first introduced his alcoholic infusion of herbs in the 1860s.


jager with a master’s degree



The origin of Rossbacher lies in the heart of Austria, in the year 1897. This was when 19-year old Adolf Wunderlich founded his superb little liqueur factory and marked the beginning of Rossbacher’s triumph.  The exact composition of the “Rossbacher-herbs” remains a strictly kept secret to this day. As well as the knowledge of how to extract the precious ingredients of different herbs.  Many a bark or root makes it a considerable challenge to have it release its elixir.

underberg flowers

cute enough to drink any time



OnJune 17th1846 Hubert Underberg both married Katharina Albrecht established the company Underberg-Albrecht at the Town Hall of Rheinberg on the same day.He started to develop a drink which would combine the healing power of herbs with modern production methods – according to the motto “SEMPER IDEM” (= always the same quality and effect).  He selected each individual herb with great care and invented a method that enabled him to extract the ingredients from the exquisite aromatic herbs as gently as possible. That was the birth of the Underberg Herbal Digéstif.

dr adam's bitters

Read the label in a Scottish accent

Dr. Adam Elmegirab’s Bitters


Adam Elmegirab decided to revive Boker’s bitters from a 1853 recipe.  Adam’s painstaking efforts in bringing this back to market have now also given us the chance to try a true Martinez, Japanese or Brandy Crusta.  Dr Adam now also makes Aphrodite, Dandylion & Burdock, Teapot, Spanish and Christmas Bitters.

scrappy's bitters

Perhaps 1 dash of each?

Scrappy’s Bitters


Bold and robust. These are two words that thoroughly define Scrappy’s bitters. But it wasn’t always like that. Scappy’s was on the receiving end of something that plagues many first-timers trying to master the art of bitters: weakness. . The bitters tasted great on their own, but they just weren’t strong enough to prove the worth of a great cocktail. After digging deeper into herbs and methods of extraction, Scrappy’s found out how to pair flavors in order to intensify the taste and learned that there were not only many ways to extract flavor from the same source.  Scrappy’s Bitter are available in Lavender, Lime, Aromatic, Orange, Grapefruit, Cardamom, Chocolate and Celery.

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