Time running out to try Extinct Abbott’s Bitters

Extinct-Abbott's-Bitters-and-Tempus-Fugit-Abbott's-Bitters map-responsiveLeft, O’Neil’s bottling; Right, Tempus Fugit Abbott’s Bitters

We’ve seen many extinct bitters brands revived throughout the classic cocktail revival, often thanks to painstaking research by passionate bartenders eager to recreate a taste lost to time. Adam Elmegirab’s research into the time of legendary 19th century bartender Jerry Thomas, for instance, resulted in a recreation of Boker’s Bitters, used throughout Thomas’ cocktail book.

But one brand of bitters, Abbott’s Bitters — supposedly the original choice for a Manhattan — has been a little harder to come by. Tempus Fugit Spirits, who make some damn fine liqueurs based on centuries old recipes, released their bottling of Abbott’s in the US around the end of 2013, and have trademarked the Abbott’s brand. Bob’s Bitters also includes an Abbott’s Bitters style, but there’s only one that is claiming to have used an original recipe: Darcy O’Neil’s Extinct Abbott’s Bitters.

O’Neil claims that the difference between his recipe and the other formulations is that his is from what he believes to be the original recipe for Abbott’s Bitters, whereas the Tempus Fugit Abbott’s Bitters is a recreation of the flavour and aromas in old bottles of Abbott’s.

O’Neil writes on his Art of Drink blog that he discovered the recipe in amidst a bunch of papers at a university in Ontario, Canada. He told Eater.com that he’s coming to the end of his batch of Abbott’s Bitters and due to the scarcity of the ingredients required to create his recipe, probably won’t be making them again.


But he has said that he’ll release the recipe along with previously undiscovered recipes for the cocktailing community. He writes:

“It should be mentioned that the Abbott’s recipe comes from a rather large pool of historical bitter recipes. To date, I haven’t seen anyone write or mention this source, but once I release the info I’m sure it will have a major impact on the world of bitters. Actually, it will give professional bartenders a whole new information resource, beyond bitters, to make their drinks even more creative. Seriously, this will be another very useful discovery to further the art of cocktail making.” 

If you want to try O’Neil’s recipe before his own bottlings become extinct, head to his website, Art of Drink, for more info.

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