The Bitter Truth has announced a new product based on a 150-year-old recipe: Bogart’s Bitters.
This brand was the original bitters called for in the first cocktail book ever published, The Bar-Tender’s Guide: How to mix Drinks, or The Bon-Vivant’s Companion, written by Jerry Thomas in 1862. While in Thomas’s time the brand was sold as “Boker’s Bitters,” it is believed a misspelling by Thomas himself led to it being listed as “Bogart’s” in all of the book’s printings before his death in 1885 (affecting the 1862 and 1876 versions).
In homage to Thomas’s legacy, The Bitter Truth – Bogart’s Bitters will be released in limited quantity in February. Every aspect of the product is a replica of the original Boker’s/Bogart’s.
Before the turn of the 20th century, medicinal bitters composed a robust category, with several brands available for multiple uses, including as an ingredient in cocktails. But when the FDA was founded, many of these brands were forced to stop using the word “medicinal” on their labels. This resulted in the shuttering of several companies at the onset of Prohibition and pushed Boker’s/Bogart’s off the shelves in 1920. The original recipe was lost, but a handful of bottles still remained and are highly coveted among spirits historians and enthusiasts.
“We were fortunate enough to procure a bottle that not only contained a quantity of the original product, but was affixed with a surprisingly well-preserved label,” says Stephan Berg, co-founder of The Bitter Truth. “That allowed us to not only recreate what was inside, but inspired us to replicate nearly every bit of the exterior, down to the glass specially made for us in the same shape and color as the original iconic ‘lady leg’ bottle.”
A mix of dark spice and chocolaty coffee, 42.10% ABV, this limited-release bitters is best used in cocktails. The Bitter Truth – Bogart’s Bitters is imported by Vision Wine & Spirits in Taunton, Massachusetts. It’s available in a 375-ml. size for an suggested retail price of of $34.99.