I recently met with my friend Louis Smeby, who began his own line of bitters about a year ago. We tasted through his current offerings and he graciously left the samples behind – enough to keep me experimenting all summer long; hibiscus rose, celery, ginger, summer verbena and the list goes on.
I began with the cherry vanilla bitters, thinking its sweet notes could lighten up the “Mixed Nuts” cocktail for summer. I chose rye for the base because I wanted a little spice and then I added Drambuie (a scotch whisky liqueur) to the mix for its honey and nutmeg notes. The name Drambuie comes from the Scotish Gaelic phrase an dram buidheach, meaning the drink that satsifies.
This cocktail looks like a cherry coke and tastes like a pie (or cobbler).
Cherry Walnut Cobbler
2 oz. rye
1.5 oz. Nux Alpina Walnut Liqueur
3/4 oz. Drambuie
1/2 oz. simple syrup
4 (healthy) dashes A.B. Smeby Bittering Co. cherry vanilla bitters
Combine all ingredients in shaker with ice, shake, strain and serve in a chilled up glass. Louis mentioned he rarely added his bitters to the shaker, but rather to the glass because they’re on the delicate side, but I got my desired result in this case by shaking. Garnish with a cherry or maybe a crushed, spiced walnut rim.
Since he may be the only source of cherry vanilla bitters around, contact Louis directly for the goods.