Thursday, January 6, 2011

Gibson with Scrappy’s Celery Bitters

A fun product appeared in one of my favorite package stores: Scrappy’s Bitters. I was intrigued by the celery one, as I had been playing with the idea of making a batch of my own. The retail price at my downtown place was decidedly steep at $17.99—you can get a decent 750-ml bottle of spirits for that kind of money. But they must’ve figured cocktail nerds like me would buy it, and of course I did. Shucks—I’m just a fool for celery.

The odd thing about celery bitters is that it had been a defunct product used in cocktails of a bygone era, and we don’t know much about it or how it was used, but cocktailians today are eager to revive it. It just sounds like such a cool idea for savory and dry cocktails.

For my first Scrappy’s experiment, I went with one of my favorite Martini variations, the Gibson. The way Aunt Mary made one, the Gibson had no bitters, but I don’t think she would’ve objected to a hint of celery. She liked her vegetables.

Gibson with Celery Bitters
  • 2 oz gin
  • 1/4 oz dry vermouth
  • 1 dash celery bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Pickled onion.

One dash is enough. It’s nice stuff with good celery seed flavor but two dashes and a very dry cocktail like the Gibson starts to lose focus. The celery is best here as a subtle, dry, green note on the finish. Scrappy’s is more to my taste than the Bitter Truth Celery Bitters, which is very different in character—more like lemon verbena perhaps, and too pervasive for my taste.

Special thanks to my friends Flynn and Richard for their awesome pickled onions. I took them from a jar of pickled green beans they gave me. I hope to use one of the beans in a Bloody Mary post with the celery bitters if I can stop myself from eating them all.


  1. I agree that the Bitter Truth are too lemon verbena -- I can barely detect celery. The Scrappy's are too single note -- like you could do your own infusion with celery seed and do it for 50 cents worth of seeds and 100 proof spirits, a jar, and a coffee filter. And Fees is too savory -- like bouillon -- and only seems like it would work in Bloody Marys.

  2. Yeah, I figure something homemade is probably more enjoyable too. I haven’t given up on the idea of making some.

  3. The two recipes that are out there are ours on CocktailVirgin and Todd Thrasher's. Both are very celery. Mine are more herbal and Todd's are more spicy.

  4. I had noticed both and thought maybe yours looked a little more like where I wanted to go.


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