Monday, June 18, 2012

Be Creative: Bittercube Bitters #Giveaway

Pin ItCreativity is key to blogging.

Sometimes it feels great -- like dozens and dozens of ideas are knocking at your mind's door, just waiting to be let out into the world.

But, sometimes it's tough to keep going. Even after five years of fairly regular blogging, we still find ourselves in the occasional slump. We don't feel like cooking. We don't feel like writing. We feel like no one really cares about what we're doing anyhow.

It's at these points when we have to work especially hard to harness our creative energy.

On days when you feel like banging your head against the wall, here are some tips to remember:

  1. Creativity begets creativity. Keep on writing, cooking, and doing what you're doing. The more you do it, the more creative you will be.
  2. Keep your eyes open for inspiration. It's there -- in the books you read, in the people you meet, in the magazines you read, and in the ingredients you find at the market.  You've just got to be open to it.
  3. Remember that there is more where that came from. When you're writing about something you're passionate about, there is always a new discovery to make, and something new to share.  You just have to remember that and be confident about it. There is more inside of you than you know.
  4. Look to others for support. Rather than looking at the blogging community as a source of competition, look to them as a place to find respite and encouragement. Ask for suggestions. Look to others for inspiration. Don't steal content outright -- but use other peoples' ideas as a leaping point for your own.
  5. Just hang in there. When you're in a slump, wait it out.  Keep writing in the meantime, even if you don't publish anything. You'll be amazed at how quickly the inspiration to create returns.

It seems that we're always meeting creative new people these days. They're people who inspire us to do more, be more, and explore new places, new recipes.

And, in this case, new cocktails.

We first met the Bittercube guys, Nicholas Kosevich and Ira Koplowitz, at the Wine & Dine Wisconsin event two years ago. We were not only taken with the charm of this witty pair, but also struck with the immense creativity that they bring to their business -- making the meanest cocktail bitters we've ever tried.

Now, what are bitters? 
Bitters are actually highly concentrated forms of liquid spice made from roots, barks, leaves, flowers, fruits and seeds. They're a little bit like a spice cupboard for your bar -- imparting a wide range of flavors with very little effort on your part.

We love the guys over at Bittercube -- not just because they're local -- but also because they use only natural ingredients in their bitters. They literally create each and every batch by hand -- peeling hundreds of pounds of citrus, weighing dozens of spices, and decorticating vanilla beans, among other time consuming tasks!

You won't find natural or artificial flavoring or coloring added to the bitters at any stage of their production.  They also don't use extracts, which are commonly used by larger bitters companies.  Each batch of bitters takes between four and eight weeks to manufacture, depending on the length of time it takes to pull the optimal amount of flavor out of the ingredients.

To give you an idea of how the bitters pair with various types of spirits, here's a list of great pairings for your bitters:

  • Cherry Bark Vanilla and Orange Bitters are perfect with bourbon and rye whiskey. 
  • The Orange Bitters are also great added to a wheat beer, in lieu of an orange slice!
  • Bolivar works well with most spirits, but especially brandy, whiskey and sparkling wine. 
  • The Jamaican Bitters are great with rum and hot cocktails. 
  • The Blackstrap Bitters pair well with rum, pisco, and scotch.

Bittercube was also generous enough to share a recipe with us for a simple and lovely summer cocktail with a balance of honey and mint aromas. Their Jamaican #2 Bitters adds richness and depth with grapefruit and vanilla notes. 

Sparrow Bee
2 oz. El Dorado 5y Rum
.75 oz Lemon Juice 
.75 oz Honey Syrup***
7 mint leaves 
1 Eyedropper Jamaican #2 Bitters 

Glass: Coupe with Sidecar or Martini Glass

Instructions: Rip 5-7 mint leaves, drop into shaker. Add ingredients, shake lightly, strain with tea strainer.  Garnish by floating 1 small mint leaf atop the cocktail with one drop of Jamaican #2 Bitters atop the mint leaf for aroma.

***Honey Syrup
1 cup Good Honey
5oz Hot Water
3 oz Granulated sugar 
Combine Sugar and Water then whisk in Honey.
This is the fourth of five... make that seven 5th Burp!-Day giveaways taking place on the blog all through the month of June. So come back often, and come hungry!

One lucky reader will win a box of assorted Bittercube Bitters.

To enter, simply visit the recipe search page on the Bittercube web site, conduct a search for your favorite spirit or ingredient, and let us know which recipe you find that sounds good to you!
For bonus entries, give @Bittercube a follow on Twitter or a LIKE on their Facebook page.  Be sure to leave us a comment letting us know you did just that.

You'll have until NOON on June 30, 2012 to enter.  Winners will be chosen at random and notified by email, so please leave your email addy with your comment if it's not included with your Blogger profile. Entries from the U.S. only, please.

As an added bonus, since June is Dairy Month, all entrants will ALSO be entered to win a grand prize assortment of hand-selected Wisconsin cheeses.

Full Disclosure: This giveaway is sponsored by Bittercube, who provided us with the product for our giveaway. However, all opinions expressed in this post are our own.

 ©BURP! Where Food Happens


  1. I have some of the Cherry Vanilla in my cupboard right now and I had no idea these were made in Wisconsin. That makes me happy. :)

  2. This is what I love about BURP! You are so full of energy and creativity. I love your style. Quirky and charming, and I mean that in the most respectful way.

    Decorticating? I have never heard that word in my life. Had to look it up! =)

    As for bitters, I've heard the word over and over, but to be honest, I never thought about what it actually meant.

    Not only do you get inspiration at BURP, but a vocabulary lesson as well.

    You guys are awesome!

  3. The Gin Gin Pony sounds good to me! We have been wanting to experiment with bitters more ourself. We like the cherry flavor just in soda water for an interesting non-alcoholic drink that isn't sweet.

    katbaro (at) yahoo (dot) com

  4. I have yet to get to Wine & Dine WI. Their Captain Truman looks pretty good - and you can't beat the name!

  5. La Pâquerette made with Bittercube Cherry Bark Vanilla Bitters sounds screamingly cool...I would so love to try this! Many thanks!

  6. the tropical void, featuring pineapple, looks good.

  7. i Liked Bittercube on their Facebook page.

  8. The Maple Old Fashioned sounds amazing:

    I also like their facebook and twitter page. brendanbenham (at) gmail (dot) com

  9. Loved the Captain Truman at Eat Street Social and I'm glad to see Bittercube provides the recipe.

    I also followed them on twitter and facebook.

  10. The Fall of Temperance! The more rum the better in my book!

    Mindless.ali (at) gmail

    Followed on twittwr/ Facebook

  11. Must admit, I'm a bit intimidated to try using them (but I've heard good things, esp from cook books that recommend such strong stuff). Do you recommend an easy dish to start (where I won't keel over w/ the flavor from doing it wrong?).

  12. Maple Old Fashion and Bluestocking Society, can't go wrong with bourbon or gin.

  13. NorthWoods GourmetJune 19, 2012 at 11:57 AM

    My choice for a nice pintoon ride down up the Wisconsin River in Rhinelander, WI would be...

    Tropical Void

    1.5 oz Rehorst Vodka
    .25 oz Luxardo Bitter
    .5 oz Pineapple Juice
    .25 oz Lime Juice
    13 drops Bittercube Jamaican Bitters #2
    Glass: Highball with ice
    Garnish: Orange Peel

    Shake ingredients and strain on top of new ice. Garnish. (For added aroma place a few drops of Jamaican Bitters #2 on top of the garnish.)

  14. I want to try the Gin Gin Pony. Jamaican bitters? Wow, how interesting! I am following @Bittercube on Twitter. I am @LVMKE

  15. the Orange Bitters sounds good - i'd put it in my blue moon!
    mermont84 at

  16. i like their fb page
    mermont84 at

  17. The LT Saz is quite good.

    farmall45b at

    1. Also liked Bittercube on facebook.

      farmall45b at

  18. Love a good sazerac so definitely gonna try the LT Saz.

    Following bittercube on twitter and liked on facebook

    Bhopkins1984 (at) gmail (dot) com

  19. Just back from the Whiskey class at The Hamilton, and found the Cudahy Cocktail on Bittercube's website. The combo of dry vermouth, lemontree bitters and maraschino liqueur sounds excellent! Oh, and I liked the boys on Facebook too. Gotta win me some bitters!
    Oops forgot my email: ribarnica(a)gmail*com

  20. I love any drink with a asian twist. So the Yamato Sling caught my eye to try to make.

  21. liked them on Facebook

  22. Following them on Twitter

  23. Cherry Bark Bitters in a Manhattan is dangerous, I tell you.

  24. Yamato Sling - it sounds so exotic!

    sandyknights at comcast dot net


We're thrilled that you came to visit us here at BURP! Thanks so much for taking the time to write. We're not always able to respond to every comment, but we'll make every effort to answer questions in a timely fashion. We especially enjoy reading about what's going on in your own creative kitchens. So, don't be shy!

And thanks for stopping by!

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