A very interesting bitter aperitif and one of the few examples available in the United States. Conceived and brought to you by two of the finest mixologists and artisans in the cocktail world
Notes: Well, I thought, didn’t Dale know better than go even further down the rabbit hole of spirits production after all these years? Isn’t he too old and wise enough not to get entangled in more spirits husbandry?
Apparently not! And much to our benefit, if not his too, given all the heartbreak and headaches anything like that entails!
DeGroff Bitter Aperitivo and its sister creation DeGroff New World Amaro are both made by Dale Degroff A.K.A. King Cocktail, The Grand Old Man of Cocktails, etc., etc., and prodigious author of many classic cocktail books, I could go on for a few paragraphs… And Ted Breaux is a younger legend in his own right, having revived Absinthe both formulaically and legally, and someone who has revived a number of spirits, potions, and rituals.
Both of them are working with Clear Creek Distillery of Hood River Oregon, one of the older artisanal distilleries around in the United States with a host of award-winning spirits of their own to produce this Aperitivo and the Amaro.
He also has a very nice Aromatic Pimento Bitter on the market made for him by Buffalo Trace.
Appearance: Gold bronze, tincture like appearance, not muddy but more like translucent tea or infusion ( which it is of course !)Leaves a light coat on swirling with an evenly receding edge line back to the level of the spirit.
First Impression: Pleasantly herbal in a dark herbaceous way smelling of roots, leaves, and aromatics with citrus elements. Gentain, clove, sage, tarragon , some wormwood(?),lemon peel, angelica and a host of other hernbs, fruits and flowers waft out of the glass in a promising bouquet.
Taste: Slightly sweet entry prepares the tongue for the plethora of gently bitter, complex and multilayered flavors to follow. Gentian,tarragon, sage, lemon, fruit. Finish ia a bitter yet sweetending with a long fade and earthiness to it- much like life.
Drinks: Lets face it, this is not an easy spirit to come up with a slew of off the cuff cocktails or riffs on traditional cocktails. No doubt thinking of this Dale has come up with a number of good cocktails that he helpfully lists on his website
Bottle: Interesting sort of mid century modern and Italianate use of colors and aesthetic Square bottom to round upper decanter weighted bottom to round shoulders., Decent neck grip and easy to open with tight synthetic cork to keep contents from oxidizing.Distinctive and easy to spot on a commercial or home bar.
Final Thoughts: Frankly I fell barely qualified to judge this Bitter Aperitivo as it is not in my usual roundhouse of spirits. I can say this very hard to make distillate is well made and skillfully blended .
A somewhat minimal but reasonably fast loading website.Information is a but opaque or at least missing a lot of detail. But plenty of concise and easy to follow recipes for some delicious cocktails by the master himself.