Talking Bars with the Tablehopper
This Summer's Top Trio: Mint, Lime, and Bubbly

The New Bitter

With all the new bitter products on the market I was getting a little confused as to what's what, so I've made this cheat sheet for myself. 

Cocchi Americano: Quinquina, flavored with quinine; a Kina Lillet substitute

Gran Classico: A "Bitters of Turin" with wormwood and gentian; a Campari substitute

Calisaya: A brand of high-quinine elixir that was once a generic name for the category of quinquinas. According to CocktailDB: "Generic Spanish/Italian spirit-based beverage/digestive bitters of calisaya bark (quinine), herbs, and spices. Ferro China and china-Martini bitters are other forms of this product. Calisay is a liqueur which utilizes the same main flavoring ingredients."

Bonal: According to Paul Clarke in the SF Chronicle, "Produced in France since 1865, Bonal has a double-headed bitterness from cinchona and gentian. When combined with other ingredients in a base of mistelle - partially fermented grape juice mixed with higher-proof alcohol - its character is simultaneously juicy and bone dry."


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Andrea Loreto

Hi Camper,
Thank you for mentioning Calisaya. It is actually produced in Oregon, but according to a jealousy kept Italian recipe.
I know Calisay is produced in Spain, but being Italian I know better the Italian cinchona-based liqueurs. "China" in Italian, pronounced "kina", means cinchona and "ferro" means iron, an ingredient of Ferro-China. This types of "amaros" are traditionally drunk straight as after-dinner drinks or are added to espresso to make "caffe' corretto". Our Calisaya, on the other hand, mixes very well and is highly appreciated by mixologist.

Camper English

Thanks for the note Andrea- more good info!

Joshua Cole

Great. Thanks for the cheat sheet Camper. Good stuff.

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