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Coster’s Prescription Burnt Citrus Bitters

Bitter(s) Review: Coster’s Prescription Burnt Citrus Bitters   (89/100)
Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka The Rum Howler)
Published May 09, 2019

Coster’s Prescription Burnt Citrus Bitters are produced by Mark Coster, a Toronto-based wine and spirits importer. I contacted Mark and learned that passion for making bitters began about a decade ago when he would make bitters as gifts for his friends in the spirits trade. According to Coster, he began with Burnt Orange Bitters which were they were apparently a big hit with those friends. His Burnt Orange Bitters would evolve into what is sold today as Coster’s Prescription Burnt Citrus Bitters as in addition to orange, Coster likes to use grapefruit and lemon in the mix as well.

Mark makes all his bitters by himself with no overarching parent company backing his brands. He bottles and labels the bitters by hand and is busy working on a website for his Prescription Bitters. Currently The Crafty Bartender is his chosen distribution outlet.

As you can can see from the provided photo, Coster’s Prescription Bitters are sold in a small brown medicine bottle complete with the eye dropper closure. I like the eye-dropper as it gives me great control over the release of the bitters which is important in a product where you are usually using only a few drops at a time in your libation.

The Burnt Citrus Bitters (produced in Toronto Ontario) were apparently created to compliment whisky and bourbon, and are made from a blend of citrus fruit flavours (orange, tangerine, grapefruit, lemon and bergamot) with the added spice of cloves and cinnamon. When I placed a drop of the bitters onto my tongue, I found I could taste both orange and orange peel zest, as well as hints of grapefruit and grapefruit zest. There is also a light underlying spiciness of cinnamon. (Bergamot and Tangerine both have orange-like flavours and are probably part of that orange citrus flavour profile as well.)

Mark told me that these bitters had originally been produced to appease his bourbon fixation, and so it was quite natural for me to begin my experimentation with these Prescription Bitters by making an Old Fashioned Cocktail. Since (at the time) I was in the middle of reviewing the Mister Sam Tribute Whiskey from Sazerac, that is what I used to make my first libation. I should tell you something important about Mister Sam; it is a Whiskey Beast bottled at a full 133.8 proof (66.9 % alc./vol.) from aged stocks of both Canadian and American Whiskey. And yes, it carries a bourbon forward flavour profile. My thought here was that if Coster’s Prescription Burnt Citrus Bitters could stand up to this whiskey brute and enhance the spirit in an Old Fashioned Cocktail (this is one of the highest scoring spirits on my website), then that would mean we really have something here.

We really have something here! (See Recipe Below)

Although my impression when I placed a few drops of bitters on my tongue was that the flavour profile was perhaps a little mild, I found the Old Fashioned I created tasted just fine. It has to be said that Mister Sam was responsible in a large way for the great flavour I encountered; but it cannot be denied that the Burnt Citrus Bitters complimented the whiskey brute nicely.

I mixed a few other servings using the bitters with not only Bourbon, but also Canadian Whisky. I found, that the lighter the whisky, the less bitters were required. A light 3-year-old whisky was nicely enhanced with just a few drops in an Old Fashioned, whereas a Whisky Beast like Mister Sam required 6 or 7 drops. I also tried the bitters in a few highballs. Although I liked the cocktails created this way, I think it would be true to say that at that point I was planning to reserve the rest of my Burnt Citrus Bitters for Old Fashioned Cocktails.

That is until I also decided to experiment with Gin, in particular a bottle on my review shelf called Gin Thuya from the Fils du Roy Distillerie in New Brunswick. Although this is a London Dry Gin, it carries a bit of a floral flavour profile due to its small copper still redistillation and the presence of Thuja occidentalis (also known as northern white-cedar or eastern arborvitae) during that redistillation process. I mixed a gimlet style cocktail using triple sec, lemon and lime and then added Coster’s Prescription Burnt Citrus Bitters. I now suspect my Burnt Citrus Bitters will disappear at twice the rate I had originally thought.

I settled on score of 89/100 for the Prescription Burnt Citrus Bitters from Coster’s. These Bitters work great in Old Fashioned Cocktails with Canadian and Bourbon Whiskey, and are versatile enough to improve your Gin Gimlets as well.

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Suggested Cocktails

This is a cocktail that you must be patient with. Mister Sam is a Whiskey Brute, and you must let the serving settle such that the ice begins to dilute the cocktail. Sip slowly remembering that one serving per evening is sufficient.

Just Call Me Mister

1 1/4 oz Mister Sam Tribute Whiskey
1/2 tsp Sugar Syrup (1:1 ratio)
6 drops Coster’s Prescription Burnt Citrus Bitters
3 to 4 large cubes of Ice
Orange Peel

Add the first three ingredients to a rocks glass over the ice cubes
Rub the cut edge of the orange peel over the rim of the glass and twist it over the drink. (This will release the oil from the orange zest into the drink)
Drop the peel into the cocktail if desired.

Please Enjoy Responsibly!

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This cocktail is built upon my popular gin serving, the Sentimental Lady. The addition of Coster’s Prescription Burnt Citrus Bitters add another dimension of sophistication.

Sophisticated Lady

2 oz Gin Thuya
1/2 oz Bols Triple Sec
3/8 oz Lemon Juice
3/8 oz Lime Juice
3/8 oz Sugar Syrup
3 to 4 drops Coster’s Prescription Burnt Citrus Bitters
Ice
Lemon Peel

Place the ingredients in a metal cocktail shaker with ice
Shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Add Lemon Peel for garnish

Enjoy Responsibly!

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

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You may (loosely) interpret the scores I provide as follows:

0-50 A concoction which if it doesn’t kill you will make you very ill indeed!
50-59 Not deadly, but not really useful either.
60-69 Limited appeal but useful for some cocktail styles.
70-79 Useful and versatile
80-89 Excellent/bold flavour enhancement for a variety of cocktails
90-94 A must-have addition to your home bar
95+ Turns your cocktail into the Elixir of the Gods!

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal
90 – 95         Gold Medal
95.5+            Platinum Award

 

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