Category: Maker Feature

November Maker: The Bitter Bottle

Kaleena moved to Chattanooga, TN in 2013 where she started bartending. With less experience than some of her peers, she started making and studying bitters as way to understand a core component of cocktail making. According to her, that's really where the hobby started to take over.

She began researching the background on all of the botanicals being used, which led her to begin studying herbalism. That led her to start creating tinctures and blends in her studio apartment. Her love of plants and botanicals has merged with her career in the hospitality industry, coming together to create something unique.

In 2017, she helped reformTennessee legislation around bitters, making them regulated as a non-beverage product. With this victory, she leased a space and began producing bitters at a larger quantity for others to enjoy. She officially launched the first legal alcohol based bitters in December 2019.

In our conversation with Kaleena, we asked her what her favorite type of bitter is. While she said, “bitters like Angostura and Peychauds are such classics and always will be," she loves a bitter that is creative. In her own line up, she likes the Roasted Dandelion Root, a product meant to speak to their roots in the city of Chattanooga.

What is her go-to cocktail? A Mezcal Sazerac, using Peychauds, or a Mexican hot chocolate with a dash of her Chocolate Cherry Bark bitters.  Missed out on our November shipment? Try the Bitter Bottle Chocolate Cherry Bark Bitters by purchasing our stand alone November box.

While she originally studied and worked in music, Kaleena now uses bitters as a creative outlet. She even promised her father at one point she would never bartend, but clearly that decision to mix a few drinks has led to an amazing flavorful brand of bitters.

Follow the Bitter Bottle on Facebook or Instagram. Or head over to their site to learn more about their bitter options.

October Maker: Bitters Lab

Andrea, from Bitters Lab in Salt Lake City, is one of the original bitters makers in the state of Utah. Officially launching the brand in 2015, her journey started in 2008 as a cake maker.

When we asked her about how she got her start she told us, “I had a wedding cake business for 7 years. During that time I was making my own extracts (mostly vanilla & mint) for my desserts. At some point during that adventure I started getting into home-bartending and was introduced to bitters via the Old Fashioned. Once I did a little research about bitters I realized they were very similar to the extracts I was already making, so I decided to experiment with making my own. A few years of developing recipes, and coming to the realization I didn’t want to continue making wedding cakes I decided to try starting Utah’s first bitters company.”

This first led to desserts made with house made bitters, a brand called Bittersweet. Opening at the Salt Lake farmers market in 2014, she quickly realized that people were interested in the bitters being used in the desserts themselves.

At the end of the farmer's market season, she shut down Bittersweet and Bitters Lab was born. In her initial year, she launched with two flavors – Aromatic, and Charred Cedar & Currant (which you can still get with our stand alone October box).

While only Caputos and Boozetique, two local Salt Lake stores, were the original stockists of the product, Andrea has grown to over 67 stockists and counting. Her bitters are used in numerous bars across the country and she has launched her own subscription and virtual cocktail class series.

When getting the down-low on her brand, we also had the chance to ask her some questions about her personal bitters taste. When asked what her favorite type of bitters is, she told us she likes an aromatic bitter for it's wide range of cocktail uses, but she really loves Bitter's Lab's Blueberry Cardamom bitters, which she uses in cocktails, coffee, and baking.

For her favorite cocktail? An Old Fashioned. She said, “I love this drink for its versatility & simplicity. Plus, if you want to get to know bitters, better this is the perfect drink to do that with.”

We couldn't be more thankful to Andrea for supporting our endeavor and can't wait to feature her amazing products again in the future!