Sake Gumi
A.B. Smeby Bittering Co.

Bitters, bitters, bitters. I remember my first encounter with a bottle of Angostura was at The Royal Oak in Williamsburg about four years ago. I asked the bartender, "What the hell is that?" as he added a few drops into a mixing glass. He then tirelessly tried to explain to me what it was, but I absolutely did not follow.

Herbs? Digestif? Medicine? LAXATIVE???

Bitters is not so easy to explain, but truth be told, it is said that by definition, a "cocktail" MUST include bitters. Yes, it is that crucial of an ingredient.

Well Martians, it's time to get our heads out of our asses and learn more about bitters: the definitive ingredient in a cocktail! Paystyle and I have been long in discussion about such an Umamiventure, and it has worked out that Louis Smeby, founder of A.B. Smeby Bittering Co., can join us for cocktail hour this Sunday 9/26, 3:30pm at Quarter Bar, one of his favorite spots in Park Slope.

How lucky of us! Here's what Paystyle has to say about Mr. Smeby's bitters, and this special event.

Do you know what cocktail bitters are? Their purpose in a cocktail? How they're made? Bitter artisan Louis Smeby makes his own brand of seasonal small-batch bitters for his Brooklyn-based brand A.B. Smeby Bittering Co. With flavors like Chai & Rye, Celery-Lovage, Spiced Grapefruit, and many others, Louis' bitters are just beginning to shake up the cocktail world. You'll have a rare opportunity to try these new products as well as cocktails featuring them, and the man himself will be on hand dispensing the bitter truth about his passion and craft of making cocktail bitters.

Louis himself used to cook professionally for years, before he started making bitters. His philosophy is to use bitters as a starting point to form cocktails, and always has the changing seasons in mind when creating his newest products (Apple Cinnamon with Molasses, anyone?). A.B. Smeby Bitters are used at some of the most reputable bars in NYC, like PDT, Buttermilk Channel, The Modern; plus he's custom-making bitters for The Vanderbilt now.

So, please join me on Sunday for this special afternoon with Louis, as he schools us on the world of this magical potion, and we sip on cocktails that best highlight his bitters. Then, maybe we'll hop over to Franny's for dinner?

*As always, RSVP on the Facebook Fan Page, in the comments below, or Twitter me.

**Please bring some cash, as it will be pay-as-you-drink at the bar (about $10-12 per drink). The bartender will be mixing awesome cocktails using A.B. Smeby Bitters.

***Photo courtesy of A.B. Smeby Bittering Co.
Column: Umamiventure


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