El Guapo Barrel Aged Vanilla Bitters
A nice complement to bourbon rye and whiskey, try these in your next Old Fashioned, or hop on the tiki drink bandwagon with this unique flavor profile. For holiday, try these with mulled wine, spiced ciders and punch recipes.
Per El Guapo's Christa Cotton: "Way back in May 2020, which feels like a decade ago if I'm being honest, the Good Food Foundation asked me to participate in a virtual panel for members focused on how we'd successfully switched our business model in the wake of COVID. One of my fellow panelists was Ori Zohar, co-founder of Burlap & Barrel, a single origin spice company based in Brooklyn, NY. We instantly connected, becoming fast virtual friends and workshopping all sorts of pain points from glass sourcing to import & supply chain woes to DIY shortcuts on just about every business topic you can imagine. We opened our rolodexes to one another and pushed each other to think outside the box.
One day, we got to talking about vanilla, and Ori introduced me to his business partner Ethan. Ethan specializes in sourcing unique, quality spices directly from farmers all over the world. If you didn't already know this about me already, impeccable sourcing is kind of my thing. It's how El Guapo came to be in the first place. Anyway, Ethan started telling me about the world's only wild pollinated vanilla bean pod as well as a special varietal from Zanzibar he'd smuggled back into the US in a suitcase. He had 2kg still vacuum sealed in his apartment, which he enthusiastically mailed to me. And thus, a pandemic collaboration was born...
For years now, I've wanted to age a product in a Roulaison Rum Barrel. Patrick and Andrew have been great partners and friends over the years. We regularly feature their products in cocktails and classes, and it was a natural next step to collaborate. After going in fits and starts while moving facilities and dealing with a host of growing pains in 2019, we shelved the idea until I had more time to concentrate on something special. COVID has been crazy and I'm busier than ever, but once I received the vanilla pods in the mail from Ethan, I knew this was our moment.
Patrick and Andrew lent us two freshly emptied, wet barrels and so the process began. When you purchase these bitters, you are supporting three small businesses at once!