About US SPIRITS

The spirit industry in America is much like the beer industry; some large corporate distillers turning out good quality vodka, gin and whisky along with a growing number of artisan producers of these same products.

In large cities such as Chicago and San Francisco, small distilleries turn out superb spirits, many of them organically produced. Vodkas and gins are most common, but there are even a few examples of single malt whiskey.

This is certainly an encouraging alternative to the commercially produced spirits in the US, but the truth is that these artisan spirits are a drop in the bucket next to the huge amount of vodkas, gins and whiskeys made by the large companies and are sold in huge numbers; given the promotional money spent by these firms.

But the new competition is a bright sign at least in terms of some of the famous whiskey producers that have recently introduced specialty bourbons, aged for a dozen or more years, many of them single barrel products. They are responding to a public looking for more high quality American spirits. The success of these products is a great thing for the American sprits industry.
Top Picks for USA
220657
Weatherby’s
Orange Saffron Bitters
Tasted as a Gin Martini cocktail. Slivery straw color. Aromas and flavors of juniper, orange fruit cake, pine sap, and saffron with a satiny, bright, dry medium body and a tingling, interesting, medium-long orange peel, pine, cardamom, and chamomile and pollen finish. In a gin martini these bitters add delicious orange spice cake and fruit cake bass notes that offset the herbal juniper forward gin and then an ethereal saffron high note that lingers.
94 points $18 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
210379
Regans’
No. 6 Orange Bitters
Tasted as a Gin Martini cocktail. Brilliant bright gold color. Interesting, complex smoky woody aromas of smoked peppercorns, pine bark, coriander, and gentian with a body and a lemongrass, wet cedar, and grapefruit rind finish. This earthy bitters meshes well in the martini the pineyness of the juniper is really amplified and the overall effect is a very woodsy fall like one with the spice in support.
93 points $7.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
210034
Dutch’s Spirits
Colonial Bitters
Tasted as an Old Fashioned cocktail. Bright hazy copper color. Woody, complex oaky spicy aromas of mace, saffron, anise, and pepper marinated meat with a body and a sassafras, cola, and salt and pepper finish. This bitters adds meaty earthy bases notes to the old fashioned cocktail while popping the cherry flavor; this will work great with all whisky based cocktails.
93 points $17.95
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
210035
Dutch’s Spirits
Boomtown Bitters
Tasted as an Old Fashioned cocktail. Clear amber color. Spicy, savory aromas of sandalwood incense, Indian spices, gingerbread, and honeyed citrus with a body and a nougat finish. This bitters integrates perfectly and adds multiple layers of exotic spice and earthy incense-like tones to the old fashioned cocktail; a super choice for whisky, rum and Asian themed cocktails.
93 points $17.95
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215359
Basement Bitters
Bitter Frost
Tasted as a Pisco Sour cocktail. Brilliant golden amber color. Spicy aromas of fresh gingerbread and oatmeal, fruitcake, brown spices, and malted cocoa with a supple, lively, spritzy, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a seamless, captivating, medium-length anise seed, clove, cardamom, and saffron finish. A very attractive and confectionary-like spice bitters that will add a wonderful pie-like quality to cocktails; in the case of the pisco sour it made it like a liquid key lime pie.
92 points $20 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
210036
Dutch’s Spirits
Prohibitters
Tasted as a Gin Martini cocktail. Bright dark amber color. Spicy, attractive aromas of ginger beer, orange cake, honey lemon tea, and dried spices with a body and a dried orange, clove, and mace finish. This orange bitters really amplifies the martini and gives it more layers of citrus and spice complexity.
90 points $17.95
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
206133
Peychaud’s
Aromatic Cocktail Bitters
Distinctive crimson color. Complex aromas of anise, nutmeg, clove, and pomegranate. On the palate, subtle and integrated brown spice, celery stalk, and pepper bread like notes. In the Martini cocktail, the bitters continue their nuanced journey and round out all the edges of the cocktail very nicely with a nice licorice note. Subtle, but effective.
90 points $5.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
208472
Horror Infused
Fiendishly Tropical Bitters
Tasted as a Gin Martini cocktail. Dark amber copper color. Spicy aromas of cinnamon, clove, dried citrus, and vanilla bean with a body and a lemon, orange, and anise finish. The citrus character of this bitters is not as pronounced as the spice elements and the martini definitely showcases the spice with some citrus in support.
89 points $13.13
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215365
ERA
Jamaica Bitters
Tasted as a Pisco Sour cocktail. Clear bronze color. Lively, meaty, spicy fruity aromas of chocolate covered espresso bean, smoked pepper, toasted brown spices, and cedar and frankincense incense with a silky, soft, dryish medium body and an intricate, medium-length sassafras, chocolate nuts, and nougat pistachio finish. This is a nice mocha-sassafrass-like bitters that brings a baked, brown roundness to cocktails; in the pisco sour it combined with the creaminess of the egg to create an interesting chocolate soufflé note.
88 points $10 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215364
ERA
Origins Bitters
Tasted as an Old Fashioned cocktail. Opaque bronze color. Bright, spicy, fruity aromas and flavors of licorice and clove, chocolate nuts, fig-date bread, and pencil shavings with a supple, bright, dry medium body and a seamless, interesting, breezy peppercorns and cologne-like spices finish. A subtle, anise-led cocktail bitters that adds a pleasant licorice high note to cocktails.
87 points $10 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab