Noble Experiment

Entrepreneur. Cocktail and spirit champion. Old world wine provocateur.

A Dash of Bitters – Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Aged Old Fashioned


It’s cold outside and that means I fall back to variations on tried and true cocktails that use brown liquors. Bourbon, rye, brandy, and rum top the list of things I want to drink when the weather is cold. To me, there are no bitters that have more of a winter feel to them than the Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Aged Old Fashioned Bitters.

These bitters are a modified version of the classic Old Fashioned bitters from Fee Brothers, aged in recently emptied American whiskey barrels. The regular Old Fashioned bitters have similar qualities to Angostura, but with much more pronounced notes of cinnamon and allspice. The barrel aged version strays even further from the obvious Angostura comparison, lending a slight smoky note as well as a smoother mouthfeel and finish.

Both the regular Old Fashioned and the Whiskey Barrel Aged Old Fashioned Bitters can be used in cocktails that use Angostura, but beware the subtle changes that it will impart.

For my experiment I wanted to build an old fashioned, modifying it to highlight the winter allspice and cinnamon notes found in these bitters. To do that, I started with rye whiskey for a little bit of bite, added brown sugar (instead of granulated or simple syrup), Whiskey Barrel Aged Old Fashioned Bitters, and 1/4 oz of Barolo Chinato. Barolo Chinato is similar to vermouth, but instead of starting with a nondescript base wine, the process begins with Barolo, a heralded red wine from Italy. The wine is infused with quinine, along with countless other herbs and spices and the final product is rich, complex, dry and freaking amazing.

Old Fashioned

Old Chinato
2 oz Rittenhouse Rye (100 proof bottled in bond)
1/4 oz Barolo Chinato
1 dash Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Aged Old Fashioned Bitters
1 teaspoon brown sugar

To make, soak the sugar with the bitters and let them sit and get happy for a few moments. Add the Barolo Chinato and Rittenhouse and stir to combine. Strain over new ice (I recommend a giant cube, like the one below) and garnish with a lemon twist.



7 comments on “A Dash of Bitters – Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Aged Old Fashioned

  1. Bill
    September 22, 2013

    Fantastic recipe. I was wondering what to do with my Fee Brothers Barrel Aged Bitters, and stumbled across this. I used Willet Rye and added an extra dash of bitters, and it turned out wonderfully.

    I also was unaware of Barolo Chinato until this recipe. My mouth thanks you for the introduction. My wallet is less enthusiastic.

    • Dave McCabe
      November 7, 2013

      Enjoy! That Barolo Chinato is amazing and opened me up to a whole new world of Amaros and aperitifs.

  2. Pingback: Barrel-Aged: The Grouse Hunter, Matured | The Liquid Culture Project

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  4. Pingback: The Double Old Fashioned «USA Country USA Country

  5. Laurie
    February 15, 2013

    From everyone at Fee Brothers. Thanks so much for your kind words!

    • Dave McCabe
      February 15, 2013

      Cheers! I love the bitters that you make. Thanks for putting out such a great product and stay on the lookout for more posts about different varieties in the future.

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This entry was posted on February 13, 2013 by in Bitters, Cocktail and tagged , , , .
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