The Bitter Truth about Bittermens

A few people have wondered about the formulation of Bittermens Bitters, now that they are again making them here in America, instead of contracting production to The Bitter Truth.

Nicely, Avery Glasser noticed that I had used his product in my re-modeled version of the Whizz-Doodle and commented with details.

In case you weren’t following that post, here are his comments:

So, here’s the reason there were differences between our initial Xocolatl Mole, what TBT was producing under license from us and the “real” Bittermens Xocolatl Mole that we relaunched with when we rebooted Bittermens in July 2010.

The initial Xocolatl Mole and what we are producing ourselves now after the reboot is exactly the same formula: it’s what we submitted to the TTB before we partnered with TBT. Only three things changed. First, we went from making 2 liter batches to 20 gallon batches, which is helping ensure consistency from batch to batch. Second, we went from filtering using a gold coffee filter to using a real filtration system (and every batch the filtration gets better – we’re now using a 5 micron filter for the first time – before, we were filtering at 10 microns), which brightens the flavor a little and improves shelf stability. Finally, we’ve really taken a great amount of care to find the right cacao nibs. Initially we were using Scharffen-Berger nibs, now we’re using smaller-batch nibs from artisanal roasters and finding that it’s improving the chocolate profile without making the chocolate too overpowering.

When we partnered with TBT, we had to make compromises so that our formulas would fit their processes. That meant changes in the maturation time and final alcohol content (and yes, we do think that the final ABV radically changes how the flavors disperse across the tongue). We also had to change a number of ingredients – we purchase 95% of our ingredients now from organic producers and really take the time to select the vendors to ensure that we’re getting the flavors we want. With TBT, they selected the vendors based on what they had access to. Some items changed (from peels to essential oils) based on what they could find and what they were willing to make (for example, certain ingredients were too much of a strain on their filtration equipment). At the end of the day, we did approve the final formulations before they went into production – and we accepted the compromises because at that time, it was the only way to get our products to market.

Now that we’ve ended our partnership with TBT and are self producing, we’re staying true to the products and formulas that we want to make.

Hope this is helpful

Oh – and you won’t have two expressions to play with regarding our Xocolatl Mole and the TBT produced version for much longer. TBT lost their right to produce any of our formulas in July 2010, so once their stock is sold out, there’s no more TBT produced Xocolatl Mole or Grapefruit bitters. They may come out with new chocolate or grapefruit flavors, but they won’t have anything to do with our recipes.

2 thoughts on “The Bitter Truth about Bittermens

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention The Bitter Truth about Bittermans | Underhill-Lounge -- Topsy.com

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