Bitters - Sweet Grass Farm Winery and Distillery Bitter Blueberry
Aromatic Cocktail Bitters - Bitter Blueberry
Sweet Grass Winery and Distillery , Union, Maine
PROOF: 70 (35%)
PRICE: $12 5 oz.
Notes: An aromatic cocktail bitter from of bitters from a relatively new company to enter the bitters trade in Maine (although truth be told anyone other than Fee, Angostura, Underberg and Peychauds - all in business for over 100 years - is a relative newcomer).
Sweet Grass Winery also produces a cranberry bitter, a couple of gins, vermouth, and a host of other products all worth exploring.
First Impression: A well integrated bitter bouquet to start (think gin with gentian to bitter it) with a hint of blueberries. A very hopeful start. A lot of bitters are not so well integrated - one smell dominates the others and the complexity can suffer.
Appearance: Dark gold brown with small (extremely small) bits in it - which lets you know this came from organic ingredients and also not processed to death. Does not seem to have the dyes others use to darken their bitters nor thickening agents, which can dull the taste significantly.
Taste: Well concieved and executed blueberry bitters. Nicely understated with touch of other citrus/fruit and a few bitter herbal notes mostly cardamom and coriander, a good dose of gentian root Nicely done in a thoughtful way that is both faithful to a bitters profile but able to impart a nice blueberry flavor . I shudder to think given some previous examples what some companies would produce if they tried a blueberry bitters, this one on the other hand is excellent.
Drinks: Was very nice in a gin martini and also in a vodka and vermouth cocktail (that some people refer to as a Martini for some reason?).
Was also very interesting in a twist on a Manhattan, Sazerac, Margarita, Sunrise and a Aviation. Also worked well with Sotol and mezcal in a number of drinks. For a non alcoholic use it is a lovely addition to your mineral water also ( You can also sweeten the mineral water with agave,honey or Sweet Leaf for a slightly sweeter take )
Bottle: Clear glass old-style / apothecary bottle, screw cap closure with nylon disk to easily dispense drops or dashes. Amusing artwork (cue Norbert the pig!), commentary and good recipes on a blueberry colored background.
Final Thoughts: Very nicely done and a unusual flavor - far too many times a bitter will smell more like a candied baking essence or a cleaning product than something you would want to put in a drink - happily this is not the case with this bitter. It also expands the bitter flavor category in a nice way and adds to a cocktailians flavor cabinet - always a good thing in my mind. Good solid bitter base and a nice fruit/berry to lighten it up- nice combo. Slightly more expensive than the the really cheap stuff - but take a look at our Bitter Math page to see how meaningless that is.
Quick loading website- with decent amount of information and company history, where to order (always important), events and updates. With all this, somehow still easy-to-navigate.