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The Bitter Housewife: Small Batch Cocktail Bitters

the bitter housewife
Image used with permission by copyright holder
When Genevieve Brazelton started dabbling in craft bitters, her goal was simply to complement her home bar and enjoy cocktails with her husband, Dan. But like other small start-ups, as she began putting her heart into her bitters, the idea of a company emerged.

“My husband and I were surprised by my first batch,” said Genevieve. “It was so much better than expected.” As she kept experimenting using real, natural ingredients without the use of extracts, the efforts continued to delight them. Dan said, “I think you have something here—what if we try to sell this?”

Genevieve spun in her tracks and spontaneously blurted out, “Oh yeah, and I’ll call it The Bitter Housewife.”

Dan replied with, “Oh YES you will!”

They researched how to put it all together and then moved from San Francisco to Portland, Oregon, a town she says is great for small businesses and the entrepreneurial spirit. They officially launched the company in October 2014 with sales of the aromatic bitters, and then added the grapefruit and cardamom varieties by the holidays.

Today, Genevieve focuses on the business when she’s not caring for their 10-month-old child, and Dan helps out at night and on weekends. “We’ve pushed the product more to the home bartender or even the curious home bartender who is interested in bitters, but has no idea how to use them,” said Genevieve. “We also package everything with a hang tag around the neck with a recipe to get started.

The Bitter Housewife serves up this recipe for a great summertime drink:

Backyard Collins

1.5 oz gin (Genever style preferred)
1 oz citrus-rosemary syrup*
1 tsp The Bitter Housewife Cardamom Bitters
4 oz soda water

Pour gin, syrup, and bitters into a collins glass. Add ice, top with soda and stir.

*Bring 3/4 cup orange juice, 1/4 lemon juice, a generous handful of rosemary sprigs (4-6), and 2 cups of sugar to a simmer. Cook until sugar is dissolved, then cool.

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Marla Milling
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