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Friday, July 22 • 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Abbott's Bitters: History & Formula

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Abbott's Bitters was the second most popular bitters in the United States in the 1800s and was said to be the original bitters in the Manhattan Cocktail. By the 1950s, the Abbott's brand had all but disappeared, except for a few vintage bottles collected on eBay. The vintage bitters are exceptional, but is the Abbott's formula truly lost? In 2009, Darcy O'Neil discovered a bitters recipe from the 1860s with the signatures of two Abbott's. Coincidence? Possibly, but to truly answer the question a four-year research project began, culminating in a trip to the Caribbean to harvest a rare bark off trees in a tropical jungle to reproduce the recipe. This presentation will detail all of the research, including genealogy to determine who the Abbott signatories on the recipe were and if they were related to C.W. Abbott, detailed newspaper and historical document searches as well as using old marketing material and court cases will all be used to provide clues to solve this mystery. All of the information will be presented, including the recipe and the source, which has dozens more historical bitters recipes. A tasting of the bitters and a few cocktails made with Abbott's Bitters will be provided. The source of the recipe will be of great interest to people in the industry as it will open up a whole new resource for research and development of bitters, ingredients, and cocktails.

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avatar for Darcy O'Neil

Darcy O'Neil

Art of Drink
Darcy S. O'Neil was born in Sarnia, Ontario (Canada) and spent many of those years living near the beach. A cold Canadian beach, but a beach none-the-less. After high school, the decision of a career choice was whittled down to chemistry or the culinary arts. Chemistry was the winner. At the time it seemed logical that laboratory skills were more transferable to the kitchen than cooking skills to the lab. Four years later he received his... Read More →

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