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Hella Bitter

Two cocktail recipes from the Brooklyn-based purveyors of craft bitters

by James Thorne in Food + Drink on 09 July 2012

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With a mission to "make the world a bitter place," Hella Bitter is a brand of bitters focused on creating fine, hand-crafted cocktail accompaniments. The name and the attitude of irreverence are evidence of the brand's Bay Area roots—the company may have ditched the former logo personality of a well-dressed gent sporting a "thizz face", but their origins remain a major influence. Operating out of Brooklyn, Hella Bitter is part of a growing community of enthusiasts looking to take craft cocktails to boozy new heights.

Fine ingredients and small-batch production help to distinguish Hella. Departing slightly from the norm, their aromatic bitters use a wormwood rather than an angostura base (a detail based more on preference than quality), and caramelized sugar gives a rich color and viscosity. Hella's citrus bitters can substitute garden variety orange bitters, and the company occasionally releases off-the-wall seasonal varieties, such as a vanilla kumquat creation. While made to compliment cocktails, Hella Bitter encourages people to dilute their bitters in a glass of seltzer for a refreshing dram.

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We recently enlisted Hella's help to come up with a duo of cocktails for CH readers. The two tequila concoctions below are ideal for knocking a few back during a sun-filled happy hour.

La Ultima Palabra

1.5 oz Reposado Tequila
2 healthy dashes of Hella Bitter Citrus
0.5 oz Green Chartreuse
0.5 oz Maraschino
0.5 oz Fresh Lime
Use a jigger to measure out tequila, chartreuse, and lime over ice. Add Hella Bitter. Shake and strain into a coupe glass pre-garnished a with premium grade maraschino cherry.

High Noon Tea

2.0 oz Reposado Tequila
2 healthy dashes of Hella Bitter Citrus
1.5 oz Mild Black Tea
0.5 oz Green Chartreuse
0.5 oz Fresh Lime
0.5 oz simple syrup
Stirred tequila, tea, chartreuse, lime, and simple syrup in an iced highball. Add Hella Bitter. Garnish with a lemon wheel.

Hella Bitter is now available on Fab through 13 July, and via their online store.

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