So what happens if you can make your favorite cocktail at home? Does it make your favorite bartender obsolete?
A couple months ago I started working with two different “do-it-yourself” bitters kits: Easy & Oskey Habanero bitters ($40) and Bitter Bliss Raspberry Lavender bitters ($25).
The Habanero bitters were particularly intriguing to me because they’re a critical part of my all-time favorite cocktail, Dan Oskey’s Cobra Kai at The Strip Club Meat & Fish in St. Paul. I love this drink. Seriously.
The Easy & Oskey kit is extremely easy to work with—there are three packets of ingredients and step-by-step instructions on what to do with them. This kit costs a little more than Bitter Bliss, and yields a little less bitters, but it includes everything–the eyedropper bottles, the filter, funnel, and labels. All you need to do is add your own booze (I used overproof rum with the habanero bitters) and your own sugar (I used honey). It took several weeks for the habanero spices to steep in the alcohol spice mix in a mason jar (included in the kit).
The Bitter Bliss kit was a very similar process (it took about four weeks)–but it’s still sitting in a Tupperware container on my counter because I haven’t found eyedropper bottles yet. The raspberry lavender turned out beautifully; it’s so light and lovely. It’s the creation of Caitlin Marlotte and yields 44 ounces of bitters. That’s a lot of bitters!
The hardest part of both of these was the filtration process: trying to get the bitters to be clear took patience and time. And both produce A LOT of bitters: plan on giving some away as gifts–five eyedropper bottles of habanero bitters is a lot, and 44 ounces of raspberry lavender is a ton!
But the big question was how it would taste? Dan Oskey gave me the recipe for his Cobra Kai: 2 ounces of Kilo Kai Rum, 2 ounces of house-made sour, and a half-eyedropper of habanero bitters. Shake and serve over ice.
To make the sour: 3 cups water, 1.5 cups sugar, and zest of 4 limes–heat to make it into simple syrup. Then add: 6 ounces lime juice, 6 ounces lemon juice, 1 tablespoon dehydrated egg white.
And? Oh my. The perfect Cobra Kai. In my house, life-changing. Incredible.
I don’t think Dan has to worry, I’ll still be visiting him at The Strip Club, but we’re going to have to find me a new favorite drink for the bar.
Bitter Bliss is only available through the web.