B-Hoppy: The Original Hop Candy

b-hoppy-candyIf you’ve ever sipped a cool, refreshing summer brew or  a dark, brooding IPA, you’ve experienced a hops or two. Maybe you were unaware of what exactly it was you were tasting, but that unmistakeable hop taste (whether super faint or center stage), likely stayed with you in both memory and mouth.

Bob Bero, and Ohioan with a penchant for good beer, is the maker of B-Hoppy: The Original Hop Candy. As the story goes, Bob was drying some of his home-grown hops when a moment of ingenuity struck: he added some sugar to his existing hops, melted it all down then cooled it, and the candy was born. The homebrewer spent years perfecting these candies and decided on three distinctive flavors: Saaz Hops, Cascade Hops, and East Kent Goldings.

The original hop candies are a true, unmistakable representation of hops at their finest, and a new way to explore the power of hops. Each variation has distinctive floral and citrus flavors that really capture a fresh hop cone without creating any of the residual bitterness that you get when drinking beer.  Bob Bero says these hop candies are perfect for those moments you want a “refreshing hop kick” but don’t want (or can’t have) a beer- and I couldn’t agree more.

The beautiful thing about this candy is that it’s all hops – with no yeasty or malty aftertaste you get when drinking a beer. Savor this candy slowly, inhaling as you swirl it around your mouth. Or crunch it between your teeth for a burst of flavor. Go one step further and enhance the hop flavors even more: pop a B-Hoppy into your mouth, then a dash of cocktail bitters, and let it melt between your tongue for a satisfyingly serendipitous experience.

Saaz Hop candy is made with dry and earthy hops traditionally grown in Czech Republic since the mid-1800s. These delicate, herbal hops have a touch of warm spice and are golden amber in color. They are low in alpha acid content (what makes beer bitter), so these hops are predominantly used for their aromatic flavor they impart and less as a bittering agent. Many of your favorite Pilsners, like the original Urquell, Rogue Dead Guy Ale, and Stella Artois, use these hops in their beers today.  If you’re a fan of light, earthy brews you’ll go crazy for this hop candy.  Pair it with a dash of Bittermen’s Grapefruit Bitters and be transported back to the 19th century- fresh earth hops dancing on your tongue and nose, whirling about the yard in unbridled ecstasy.

Cascade Hop candy is a made using a variety of hop developed in Oregon back in the early 1970s. If you’ve ever tasted a true American Pale Ale, you’ll know that this hops is defined by its unmistakable flowery grapefruit aroma. And that is exactly how this flavor of B-Hoppy tastes on the tongue: irrefutably citrusy, big and bold, with a tinge of orange and a whole bunch of grapefruit. These hops are especially popular amongst West Coast ales due to their high alpha acid content (where beer gets its bitterness); these acids also produce the green hue that give this variety of hop candy its seafoam color. Crisp, clean and delicate with moderate bitterness makes this the signature hop candy, in my opinion. Pair this Cascade Hops candy with a drop or two Hella Citrus Bitters for an explosion of citrus; watch as your mouth, mind and the flowering buds whisper gently at your fingertips and the boundless hopfields unfold before you.

East Kent Goldings is a classic English hops that’s been growing in the region since the late-1700s. These hops are perfect for those just starting out on their hop-voyage.  Sweet and juicy, with a mild herbal flavor, the resulting hop candy is certainly a nectarous one on the eyes and the mouth, with a mellow golden yellow color and low-key hop notes.  Many English beers (pale ale, brown ale, porter, stout) delight in these hops for the aromatic quality it lends. This candy is tailor-made for those that enjoy these light and refreshing brews, like Sam Adams Deconstructed 48 IPA.  East meets West when you pair the flavor of East Kent hops with a dash or two of Texas’ De La Rosa Grapefruit Bitters. Be transported to the English countryside, drizzly and cold and wet as it is, with rays of citrus Texas sunshine peaking through; hoppily find your way home.

You can play around with other B-Hoppy Candy and cocktail bitters combinations at The Meadow’s online shop.

Dr. Adam’s Aphrodite Daiquiri

Dr. Adams Aphrodite Daiquiri

There’s a reason why the Daiquiri is one of the six drinks in David A. Embury’s  The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks. Hemingway loved it, so did JFK, and it’s a true classic that has stood the test of time for over 100 years. After all, it makes sense that this cocktail was the favorite of so many. Is it possible to go wrong with a glug of well-aged rum, a touch of citrus and a bit of something sweet? Throw these components in a glass in the right proportions, and it’s hard to mess up.

For a sophisticated twist on the traditional Daiquiri, try adding in a dash or two of Dr. Adam Elmegirab’s Aphrodite Bitters. These bitters take their name from the Greek goddess of sexuality and love. In fact, the botanicals used to flavor these bitters were selected for their alleged aphrodisiac qualities. The finest chocolate, cocoa nibs, ginger root, red chilli, Arabica coffee and ginseng are compounded together to create a complex flavor profile with each botanical playing off and enhancing one another.

This cocktail is a sumptuous twist on a Daquiri, with none of the fuss and all of the fun. Dr. Adam Elmegirab’s Aphrodite Bitters lend a sophisticated edge to your favorite rum, with crisp oakiness and slightly sweet vanilla and espresso notes. Liber & Co. Gum Syrup takes place of the traditional simple syrup and lends the same sweetness that any simple syrup would, but with a more interesting mouth-feel, while Mixer Elixir’s Hibiscus Limon adds a melodic citrus component that transports instantly to sunshine and warm breezes. One sip and summer will beckon you.

 

Dr. Adam’s Aphrodite Daiquiri

 

2 oz light rum, such as Cruzan

1 oz Hibiscus Limon Mixer Elixir

1/2 oz Liber & Co. Gum Syrup

2 dashes Dr. Adam Elmegirab’s Aphrodite Bitters

Lime wheel, for garnish

 

Mix the rum, hibiscus limon and gum syrup in a glass. Dash in the bitters. Stir and serve over ice, garnish with lime wheel.

 

Add surprising depth and complexity to your other cocktails with a dash or two of  Dr. Adam Elmegirab’s Aphrodite Bitters in vodka-based Gin & Tonics and Moscow Mules, or in whiskey-based Old Fashioned and Manhattan cocktails.

Other syrups, tonics, bitters, and shrubs can be found at The Meadow’s online shop.

The Heart Throb with Liber & Co. Texas Grapefruit Shrub

The Heart ThrobAny great cocktail starts with a solid foundation. Some days (or months) call for a bourbon or whiskey drink to gently settle you into winter.  Some weeks only gin-based cocktails sustain. But as the recent snow puddles away and the sunshine begins peaking through, a sweetly tart cocktail that pulses with Lillet Rose is the only thing that will do.

A good heart throb will sweep you off your feet with adoring glances and a come-hither attitude. And so will this cocktail. With a heady mix of luxurious bubbles, luscious ripe berry notes, and a citrusy kick, this is one Heart Throb that’s certain to make the heart a-flutter.

Light and bright and slightly sweet, The Heart Throb is perfect before or after supper, and will endure well into the night. Lillet Rose lends a fruity aroma and playfully rosy hue. The Liber & Co. Grapefruit Shrub adds a hint of citrus fruit, a splash of acidity from the coconut vinegar, and a hit of allspice. A splash bubbles at the finish rounds out this delicately composed cocktail.  As you sip away the night with your sweet, feel your heart begin to take root in your body.

 

The Heart Throb

 

1 1/2 oz Lillet Rose

1 1/2 oz Liber & Co. Texas Grapefruit Shrub

Splash of Champagne, 5oz or so (I like Andre Clouet)

 

Pour equal parts Lillet Rose and Liber & Co. Texas Grapefruit Syrup into a fluted champagne glass. Top off with your favorite champagne, then serve. Your heart throb will thank you.

 

When springtime rolls around, add a splash of Liber & Co. Texas Grapefruit Shrub to your Gin & Tonic for a citrusy twist on the classic. Or liven up the basic Margarita. With such a well-balanced citrus shrub, the possibilities are truly endless.

 

Other small-batch cocktail syrups, tonics, bitters, and shrubs can be found at The Meadow’s online shop.

The Surly Shirley with Wild Ginger & Grenadine

The Surly Shirley Temple

Shirley Temple was a sweet, ringlet haired starlet, a childhood legend in the film and music industry. Raised by a banker father and homemaking mother, she rose to fame through 30s and 40s cinema classics like “Curly Top” and signature songs like “On The Good Ship Lollipop.” She became a household name across the country, and even had a drink named after her.

Odds are that if sweet Shirley had an alter ego, she might be a bit pin-straight haired, a little sassy and a lot surly. A true contrast to the bouncy, sparkling, and energetic Shirley we all know and love. And if in that alternate universe that Shirley were to have her own signature cocktail, this Surly Shirley Temple may just be it.

Cappelletti, a wine-based aperitif, provides a flirty edge, with fruity notes signing full force. Wild Ginger Mixer Elixir zings it up, while Jack Rudy Cocktail Small Batch Co. Grenadine dances sweetly across the palate. A Luxardo Maraschino Cherry (or two) adds a bit of velvety luxury. Just the way a surly Shirley would have liked it.

 

The Surly Shirley

4 oz Soda Water

2 oz Cappelletti Vino Aperitivo

1 oz Wild Ginger Mixer Elixir

1/2 oz of Jack Rudy Cocktail Small Batch Co. Grenadine

Luxardo Maraschino Cherry (or two), for garnish

 

Pour the soda water, Cappelletti, and Wild Ginger Mixer Elixir into a Collin’s glass with ice cubes. Dash in some grenadine and stir, then garnish with a cherry and serve.

 

Other syrups, tonics, bitters, and shrubs can be found at The Meadow’s online shop.

Basement Bitters “Bitter Frost” Aromatic Bitters

Classic, quintessential bitters like Angostura or Peychauds are elemental to drinks like the Manhattan or the Sazerac. Just a few dashes unites flavors and brings depth and complexity to your cocktail without overwhelming it.  In the past decade, artisan bitters makers have reinvigorated the market and created their own unique flavors, expanding the horizon of what we once thought possible in a bitters. The focus is often on individual flavor profiles, with bitters like cardamom, wormwood, Thai spice, bacon, and ginger.

Basement Bitters is riding the wave of this craft cocktail movement with their Bitter Frost Aromatic Bitters. An original creation from the bottling crew at Tuthilltown Spirits, this elixir is a distinctive blend of unaged rye spirit, Sarsaparilla, and fourteen other herbs and spices, balanced with local maple syrup and aged in rye whiskey cured barrels. The result is a distinctively aromatic bitters that is crisp yet warm. Each cork-top bottle is filtered and bottled in the basement under the Tuthilltown tasting room (hence the name “Basement Bitters”). Using ingredients sourced less than 10 miles away makes these bitters a throwback to the era of prohibition.

Try Bitter Frost in any drink that calls for whiskey, bourbon or rye. I especially love a few dashes of these bitters in my Manhattan when there’s frost on the trees or verglas on the kitchen window. Throw some wood and a match in the fire, chill a glass. Spin some Cat Stevens on the Marantz 4000. Pour some rye whiskey (I like 1776) and Vya Sweet Vermouth into a mixing glass with a few ice cubes, then dash in some Bitter Frost. Strain into a chilled glass, retreat from the dispiriting iciness outside and into the warm cavern of your imagination.

Basement Bitters “Bitter Frost” Aromatic Btiters are exceptional in that they lend a warm, woodsy essence and maplely finesse to cocktails in a way that simply can’t be achieved with Angostura or Peychauds.  These bitters will truly change the way you think about and use aromatic bitters in your cocktails.

 

More from Tuthilltown:

Before Prohibition more than 1,000 farm distillers produced alcohol from New York grains and fruits.  Tuthilltown Spirits brings the tradition of small batch distillation back to the Hudson Valley, distilling whiskeys, which were the first legally distilled and aged grain spirits produced in New York since Prohibition. The handmade spirits, which start at the farm distillery as raw grain and fruit, are made without added flavor or color and are not chill or carbon filtered. The farm distillery also produces rum, eau de vie, brandy, absinthe, and infusions.

 

You can find Basement Bitters “Bitter Frost” Aromatic Bitters for sale at The Meadow’s online shop.

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