The New Bitter
July 09, 2010
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."
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.
Posted by: Andrea Loreto | July 09, 2010 at 02:43 PM
Thanks for the note Andrea- more good info!
Posted by: Camper English | July 09, 2010 at 02:50 PM
Great. Thanks for the cheat sheet Camper. Good stuff.
Posted by: Joshua Cole | July 09, 2010 at 04:47 PM