Breckenridge Bitters — produced by one of our favorite vodka makers — isn’t the same stuff. More in line with Italian amari, this is a bittersweet liqueur designed for sipping straight. A blend of “hand-harvested alpine herbs… ancient bitter roots and spicy dried fruits,” Breck’s Bitters are gold in color and slightly sweet, with a nicely bitter kick on the back end.
There’s lots going on here. The nose is muted, masking attempts to suss out its recipe. On the tongue, things get explosive. It starts with a quick dose of sugar, which quickly retreats as the bitter and herbal elements march to the forefront. The specifics are indistinct, but there are traces of grapefruit peel, cinnamon, vanilla, and plenty of root beer notes. It doesn’t meld quite the way I’d like — and I’d like it to be a little more bitter, a little less sweet — but on the whole it’s a pretty solid way to end a meal.
(I haven’t tried it yet but Breckenridge suggests dropping a shot into a pint of IPA. Report back if you try it…)
B+ / $29 / breckenridgedistillery.com