The Bitter Housewife is a fanciful name for a new line of products clearly not being developed by a housewife at all but by a savvy entrepreneur. I met owner Genevieve Brazelton at a recent event and found her to not even be a little bit bitter, but rather quite effusive about her burgeoning product line, which includes six types of bitters and a ready-to-drink, nonalcoholic canned cocktail (of sorts) called Bitters & Soda.
We received three of the bitters varieties and the RTD product. Thoughts follow.
The Bitter Housewife Orange Bitters – Brisk orange peel notes, with hints of tea leaf and cardamom (both of which are ingredients). Quite bitter with a lasting citrus finish. A- / $17 (100ml) [BUY IT NOW FROM AMAZON]
The Bitter Housewife Cardamom Bitters – There’s more cinnamon than cardamom here (and in fact cinnamon comes before cardamom on the label), but that’s not necessarily a bad thing: Cinnamon tastes better than cardamom, anyway. Not overly bitter in comparison to the orange bitters. The spiciness of the product is immersive and quite evocative, particularly on the fragrant nose. A / $17 (100ml) [BUY IT NOW FROM AMAZON]
The Bitter Housewife Old Fashioned Bitters – A chocolate-cherry character here is immediate, almost candylike with hints of gingerbread, cinnamon, and vanilla. A heavier clove character informs the finish, which shows a moderated bitterness. The cherry notes are quite enduring, so plan your cocktails accordingly. B+ / $17 (100ml)
The Bitter Housewife Bitters & Soda – “Our signature Old Fashioned Aromatic bitters have been reformulated to be free of alcohol and sugar, then mixed with carbonated water for a complex, satisfying beverage you can have any time of day.” Alcohol-free bitters with soda added, huh! It’s a refreshing beverage, moderately sparkling and only lightly bitter on the back end. The heavy cherry notes found in the (unadulterated) Old Fashioned Bitters aren’t overly present here, replaced by a more generalized, bark-driven, bitter character and some modest notes of cloves and allspice. Surprisingly the concoction works quite well even without any added sugar, though it’s all fairly straightforward. B+ / $36 per 12-pack of 12 oz cans