Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Bitters of the Month: Maple Aromatic

This month, we're testing Runamok's Maple Aromatic bitters.  Runamok is based in Fairfax, Vermont, not far from us at all.  On its own (with gin), it's sweeter than other aromatic bitters.  The maple comes through in the nose.

Obviously, with any aromatic bitters, we're going to try it in a Manhattan...

Bitters Battle: Hella Aromatic vs. Runamok Maple Aromatic

The Runamok is lighter in flavor, allowing more of the whiskey to come through.  We both preferred it.

Winner and New Champion: Runamok Maple Aromatic

For those keeping score at home, this is the second Runamok bitters to make it into our house cocktail recipes.  See here.  Tally another win for local Vermont products!

There are developments on the cherry front, too.  My wife recently informed me that her preferences has reverted back to Luxardo.  She feels it ages better than the Aramena.  It's interesting in that Aramena recommends refrigerating after opening whereas Luxardo specifically cautions against it.  Here's what happens with the Aramena: the sugar separates and settles to a sludge at the bottom.  I don't mean to denigrate - the sludge is quite yummy.  Luxardo, on the other hand, maintains a uniform consistency.  I'd be interested to know if the Aramena wouldn't separate if you didn't refrigerate - perhaps an experiment for some day.  But for now...

Cherry Battle, Winner and Champion Once Again: Luxardo


  1. I've hit a wall with bitters. My wife has decided that she really doesn't like them, and they're too expensive to buy for the very limited uses I put them to.

    1. They are kind of silly. Obviously, I have a pretty ridiculous collection at this point. For all practical purposes, one could get by pretty well with just Angostura and orange - Peychaud's if you really like Sazeracs.

      But they are fun. Especially in my efforts to invent my own drinks, they're useful.

    2. I keep Angostura on hand. And my Aztec chocolate. I use those two. I do have some orange, but I haven't really found it to be useful. We always have at least two types of orange liqueur on hand which tends to make the bitters useless.

    3. I put orange bitters in martinis - takes the gin edge off a little. But then you're not a gin drinker anyway.

      Bitters are nice for a little hint, though some definitely work better than others for that. For the fruity ones, I usually see them combined with a same-flavored liqueur, presumably to enhance the latter. I'm not sure I really see the point of that. Are you adding them just to add them? I would want a with/without side-by-side comparison to be sure.

      There have been a couple of exceptions. The peach and grapefruit both hold up well on their own.

      I'm just now digging into the more herby varieties. They're stronger in flavor. Stay tuned.

    4. We did buy some gin recently. My wife decidedly didn't like it. I need to experiment with it more. I'm not sure what to do with it.
      It's a local gin, too, so I'm not sure if I should have gotten something like London Dry to start or not.

      I experiment with the bitters. Add them to thing to see how it changes the flavor. Mostly, I feel like the difference is not distinct enough to matter.

      But I haven't tried any with the gin, yet, because we haven't gotten past trying the gin when my wife didn't like it. I did try the one tiki recipe I have with gin, and we weren't a fan of that, either.
      Oh, and we got a bottle of aquavit, recently, which I would say is not dissimilar to gin, and I think that bottle is going to just sit here for eternity.

    5. Generally, I first try each bitters with gin in a gin and bitters - but my recipe calls for a full teaspoon of bitters so it had darn well better come through! Sometimes, I make the executive decision and use vodka instead.

      Gins certainly vary - I've learned that much. Burnett's is our current brand - very light in flavor.

    6. I'm not sure if we'll do much more experimenting with it any time soon. It's expensive to buy a bottle when you're only going to drink one shot from it.

  2. I am not sure I would like it as I am not into whisky but, ya never know. Cherry Liquer, on the other hand.....

    1. With the cherry in a Manahattan, I see whiskey and cherry as a natural pairing. There are drinks that combine the favors nicely.

      Stay tuned.