These are the stores to patronize.
|Go on; taste. And again. And again.|
Most of the brands were familiar or even old hat to me, but the flood of new labels over the last five years has caused even bitters geeks to fall behind in the latest offerings, bottlings, iterations, and experimental batches. The Meadow's way around shoppers' potential unfamiliarity with brands is to offer a tasting table where one bottle of every bitters in stock is open. Drinkers who want to compare brands of celery, old fashioned, orange, or other bitters are welcome to do so.
The Meadow isn't the only place to offer tasting bottles, but it does have one of the largest range of bitters to smell and taste on site. In the Manhattan store, 50-60 open bitters bottles stood ready for walk-ins to sample. Local bartenders get a professional discount; visiting writers do not.
Now, if only there were a way to sample them through the mail...
Meanwhile, most of the stock is for sale online here.
The Meadow — New York
523 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10014
The Meadow — Portland
3731 N. Mississippi Avenue
Portland, OR 97227
Toll free for both stores: 1.888.388.4633
Goes well with:
- Bitter Disappointment from Japan, in which a much-anticipated package from San Francisco barman Neyah White arrives smelling so good. Wait...why does it smell at all?
- My take on Brad Thomson Parsons' 2011 book Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All, with Cocktails, Recipes, and Formulas. In a nutshell: good, but not as good as it might've been with better editing.
- Pink lemonade; you can buy pink powder in a canister...or you can empinken your drinkin' like a grownup with aromatic bitters. Also, check out "Cocktail" Bill Boothby's getting in his digs at temperance charlatans making vats of the stuff for circuses, fairs, and churches in another look at pink lemonade. He's as subtle as a whack upside the noggin with a loggerhead, but Boothby's insinuation that saloons were far better and safer places to drink than church fairs wasn't far off the mark — at least as far as some saloons and some churches were concerned.