You know that you have a bit of a shopping problem when you find a bottle of bitters stashed away that you have never opened. Five months after buying it. That’s what happened with the Old Forester Bohemian Bitters that I bought during my September pilgrimage to Kentucky. Upon the recommendation of the tour guide we had at the Old Forester Distillery, we picked up this bottle as we walked through the gift shop at the end of the tour. And then I set it on a shelf in my kitchen, away from all the cocktail fixings, and promptly forgot about it until mid January.
Much like the Woodford Reserve bitters, these are made by Bourbon Barrel Foods in Louisville, Kentucky. In describing the bitters, their site says:
The Old Forester Bohemian Bitters are inspired by the scent of pipe tobacco. Old Forrester’s Master Bourbon Specialist, Jackie Zykan, recalls a yearly tradition of her father smoking his pipe. Cherry was the tobacco of choice for the Bohemia native and an essential part of the inspiration behind the flavors in Bohemian Bitters. The Bohemian Bitters are handcrafted using all-natural ingredients, such as sour cherries, clove, wild cherry bark, gentian root, anise, smoked black pepper and cacao nibs.
I knew the first time I tried them in a cocktail that I really liked them. They really are delicious. Along with a nice bitterness, they are quite floral with notes of anise and cinnamon. And when compared head to head with the old standard Angostura, the Old Forester is more forward with the cinnamon and the baking spice notes. The floral notes come through on the back end.
Because I’ve been making my Old Fashioneds with various spirits lately, I tried these with Rye, Bourbon, Brandy and Rum. It complemented the Rum, Bourbon, and Brandy wonderfully. With the rye it was just ok. Nothing wrong with it, but a nice orange bitters would have been better. All in all, it made a nice souvenir…once I found it again.
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