cycling, food

What to do with orange bitters


My Boulevardier: no bitters in here.

Well, at least it’s good damage control for the gin purchase: Inspired by this article in Heavy Table, I recently bought some Dashfire bitters to try out at home. So far, the experimentation has yielded a solution to my disappointment in a Bombay Sapphire gin & tonic. Adding Dashfire or peach bitters to it makes it taste a lot closer to a G&T made with a more flowery botanical gin like Nolet’s (my preferred cocktail, last summer). This is a terrific win, but I haven’t yet discovered a bourbon drink that works with my new purchase. Perhaps that’s the point – as Dashfire is advertised as bourbon orange bitters. However, at $20 a bottle I was hoping for quicker gratification. I’m eager to try it in a fruit salad. If you’ve got a recipe suggestion, I’d love to read it in the comments, below!

One role the bottle is surprisingly adapt at filling: looking good in the living room. Last weekend’s activities included a rearrangement of furniture that yielded a new spot for a floral + pottery + attractive packaging arrangement. Bitters packaging is busy, fascinating stuff.

In fact, in my research on orange bitters cocktail recipes, I found this great article in Umamiventure about a tasting that happened in Brooklyn, a few years back. The packaging of this A.B. Smeby bitters looks charmingly authentic for a substance once used for primarily medicinal purposes. I found the article while looking for advice on how to compare cocktail bitters, four or which now reside in our house. Noting that these ladies did it with plastic spoons and a side of cocktails, I ditched my tasting advice mission and settled in to enjoy the read. I’m fascinated by the idea of a bitters inspired by the Black & White cookie, and the idea of hibiscus-rose bitters inspires me to try and make some bitters, if only to use up more of the 1-lb bag of dried hibiscus that I ordered from Nuts Online last summer. The only dried thing of which we have more volume is rosemary. Could a rosemary bitters production line be in my future? More brilliant ideas & instructions can be found, here, and I hope to use them.

My findings on how to compare bitters? Simply smelling the lip of an opened bottle and comparing the liquid colors in a glass (maybe diluted with club soda) seems to yield the most helpful information – but again, if you have tips, I’m all eyes. Please share in the comments!

Lilydale Regional Trail

My 8-mile return route, flocked.

Adventures outside the cocktail shaker also continue, as I spend more time biking this summer than I have in many years. I’m glad that the plantar fasciitis, which has been keeping me from running, has proved conducive to exploration.

I’ve identified something that is truly difficult for me: to view my bike-commute as just a commute: to enjoy the short (<3 miles) ride and not think about whether it is a component of my physical fitness for the week. On top of my fitness compulsion, there is also this: my ride home includes a hill ascent, so considering doing the commute in skirts rather than Lycra seems foolish. Also: both my bikes have a crossbar and a few really easy ways to get oil on clothing.

Invariably, I extend the ride home, finding a longer route home and/or including an errand in the route. Thus far, the only circumstances that make me take the shortest route home are: looming storm clouds, or a serious time crunch. A part of me wonders if it’s the bike. If I got a cruiser bike (check out these swank Nirve numbers!) with a decent chain guard, would that help me enjoy the view and just relax? Or would the speed demon in me just end up begging for my road bike with dropped bars and a killer granny gear?

Stay tuned. Some progress has been made: I stopped wearing padded shorts for the commute.


2 thoughts on “What to do with orange bitters

  1. hedgehog says:

    On the cyclocommuting…first, I think utility riding like that is the best possible use of a bike and it doesn’t matter how you do it or what you wear (OK, helmet is required).

    I started feeling sheepish when my commute was shortened from 10K to 5K. So I did the only sensible thing…worked out a 16K route.

    What to wear? Check out what Andrea and hubby (I think) are wearing: plaid and flower-print shorts.
    I don’t have any of those so I wear plain old khaki.

    Ride on!

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