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Bittercube Jamaican #1 Bitters

Bitter Review: Bittercube Jamaican No. 1 Bitters (84/100)
Review by Chip Dykstra
February 25, 2021

Nicholas Kosevich and Ira Koplowitz come from a hospitality background. Prior to forming Bittercube they bartended and managed at the Town Talk Diner (Nicholas) in Minneapolis and The Violet Hour (Ira) in Chicago. Nicholas and Ira began producing Bittercube Bitters in 2009. Their company (based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin) started by making one gallon batches with real botanicals. Although the batch size is now 210 gallons the handmade process has stayed largely the same as they source botanicals as close to origin as possible to create densely flavored bitters. Bittercube Bitters became available commercially in July, 2010. Today the bitters are found in nearly 30 states and abroad in Canada, Italy and Australia.

The company website tells us this about their Bittercube Jamaican No. 1 Bitters:

Robust spice overtones, with ginger, allspice, clove and black pepper. Being so heavily spiced, Jamaican No. 1 complements cocktails, but can also be utilized in baking, marinades, and in vinaigrettes.

The website adds some more information with an ingredients list of:  Allspice, Cloves, Ginger, Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Grapefruit, Lemon, Gentian, Lavender,  and Hibiscus. An interesting fact is that ginger powder is not used, instead a 1 inch piece of fresh ginger root is used in every 5 oz bottle of these Jamaican bitters.

I began my review by placing a few drops on my tongue to test out the flavour for myself. (I appreciate that the bitters arrive in a bottle with an eyedropper dispenser. This makes it easier to add just the right amount to your cocktails.)

The bitters are indeed quite spicy as I immediately noticed the heated cloves, ginger and black pepper. Pungent allspice is also at the front of the flavour with hints of cinnamon trailing a little behind. Citrus peel seems to be present, and after that the flavours seem to become indistinct. I tastes unfamiliar wisps which may be the lemon, gentian, lavender and hibiscus, but I would never have been able to identify them without the ingredients list. I should note that I seem to taste an undercurrent of dark treacle whether real or imagined.

Bittercube Jamaican No. 1 Bitters are recommended by the producer for Ginger Beer, Tiki Drinks, Hot Cocktails, and Punches specifically for servings made with Aged Rum, Tequila and Mescal. I definitely concur with the recommendation to use the bitters with aged rum and indeed I have had good success making Rum Old Fashioned with these bitters. I had less success with blanco and reposado tequila but found that when using the bitters as a compliment to Anejo or Extra Anejo tequila I was much happier. It seems that these bitters like to work with aged spirits more so that white spirits (at least that was my experience).

I have previously reviewed the Bittercube Cherry Bark Vanilla Bitters (see here) and so I can give a little comparison. I scored the Cherry Bark Vanilla Bitters a little higher as I thought it was more useful in a larger variety of servings. However, both of these bitters though give us a nice robust flavour that widens the dimension of flavour for the cocktails they are served in.


Suggested Serving:

Although I endorse the Bittercube Jamaican no. 1 Bitters for Rum Old Fashioned Cocktails as indicated earlier, my recommended cocktail for the purpose of this review is a serving of mine I call El Padre’.

I hope you like it.

El Padre’

2 oz Aged Rum
1/8 oz  Amaretto
1/4 oz Triple Sec
few drops Bittercube Jamaican No. 1 Bitters
Lemon peel

Add the first four ingredients into a metal cocktail shaker
Add Ice and shake until the sides of the shaker begins to frost
Double strain into a cocktail glass
Garnish with lemon peel

If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!


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