A friend asked me this week what he could do with celery bitters. Here are two cocktails, one I’ve tried and enjoyed and one I’d like to try. Be forewarned though: Fee Brothers celery bitters are more on the savory side, and to me taste a little garlicky. Other brands, like The Bitter Truth are more herbal and green (their tasting notes: “The initial flavor of celery is dominant, leading into a complex palate with aromas of lemongrass, orange peel and ginger.”).
The Restraining Order Cocktail (via Jason Wilson at the Washington Post):
1.5oz reposado tequila
3-4 dashes celery bitters (this calls for the Bitter Truth brand)
Twist of orange peel as a garnish
Stir ingredients over ice in a mixing glass until well chilled. Strain into a rocks glass with two ice cubes and squeeze orange peel over the glass, then add it as the garnish. Use a large chunk of peel.
I first had this cocktail at Clover Club in Brooklyn. I had asked a bartender there what he could make me with celery bitters in it, and he suggested this. I love tequila cocktails, espcially, non-margarita ones, so I eagerly accepted. It was created by Colin Shearn, a bartender ata Philadelphia bar called Franklin Mortgage and Investment Company.
The Pimm’s Up (via Beta Cocktails):
1oz Bols Genever
.75oz lemon juice
.75oz simple syrup
7 drops celery bitters
Shake and strain into a chilled coupe; Garnish with two drops of celery bitters.
That one was created by Kirk Estopinal for the New Orleans cocktail bar, Cure. I haven’t tried this one yet, and to make it I’d have to buy myself a bottle of Bols, which is about $32 — less expensive than I remembered. Genever has a pretty unique flavor, and as others have said, it may have more in common on the palate with unaged whiskey than with gin, its distant English cousin.