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Making Bitters with Auchentoshan

auchentoshan hella bitters seminar

As the rain poured down on an otherwise lovely afternoon in the Big Easy, a small group of us dipped into the fascinating New Orleans Pharmacy Museum to learn more about bitters and single malt scotch. It was a fitting locale, what with the medicinal history of bitters and all. We were welcomed with a Seelbach, a refreshing, pre-prohibition, Auchentoshan American Oak-based (the original calls for bourbon) cocktail topped with bubbles. Unlike many seminars at Tales of the Cocktail, this one was more than just informative and air-conditioned. This was going to be a much more hands-on affair.

Auchentoshan brand ambassador, Robin Nance, walked us through the high level details about the single malt scotch that’s “more uptown than countryside.” It’s distilled three times; the only brand in the category that can say that. And due to the smooth result of that distillation process, they welcome a little creativity (which translates to: don’t feel ashamed to use it in a cocktail).

auchentoshan seminar at tales of the cocktail

After a quick lesson on the history of bitters from a man who knows a lot about such things, co-owner of Hella Bitters, Tobin Ludwig–we were tasked with making a batch of our own. And considering the recent news that we could be headed for a severe bitters shortage, this is important work.

On the back patio, we were welcomed with tables filled with over 20 different tinctures; everything from spicy Thai chili to soothing lavender, and our base was two ounces of Auchentoshan American Oak. My proprietary blend was inspired by my love of citrus and the band Neon Indian, so I dubbed it Chillwave. It included burdock, sweet orange, lavender, almond, cardamom and apple, and I’m looking forward to dashing this stuff with reckless abandon into everything I drink moving forward.

Tobin even gave me some notes on my creation, saying that it tasted just as the name suggests.

It’s possible he was just being nice. But regardless, I will quit my job to pursue this full time.

Written by Mark Schectman

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