Richard Allison has had a career path that has wound its way to the libation industry and to social media, where he’s amassed a devoted following on his Instagram (@RootBitters). He creates cocktails that surprise and delight with detailed attention to the visual presentation and taste. During National Bourbon Day, he created a perfectly balanced cocktail with our Small Batch Bourbon, that we’ve captured here for you to make at home. We couldn’t get enough of his work, so we asked him a few questions and he quite graciously obliged. See the interview below and maybe you’ll be inspired to take on some at-home cocktail creations. Find his products and more of his work on his website.
You began crafting bitters after a motorcycle accident in 2013 – how long were you experimenting before you launched your company?
I was always interested in making my own tinctures, bitters, vermouth, tonics and shrubs. When I was recovering in 2013 from my accident, I had a lot of time to dive in and explore the craft of making stuff by hand. I ended up falling in love with making bitters.
You have orange spice root bitters. Are you working on more recipes for the shop?
Orange spice root bitters is the staple that is versatile within many spirits. Black currant, pistachio rosemary, licorice root and fig almond are some other flavors I am producing and working on.
Can you tell us about the practice of experimenting to create the bitters? How do you know when it’s right?
Ok, so, I like to test in small batches. Keeping track of all the specs, time and date of where I sourced. Mad scientist lab is the best way to put it. Trial and error and test tasting is the only way to know when you got it right. I get feedback from industry friends and try to make the best bitters for any cocktails.
Do you have any recommendations for folks using your bitters for cocktails at home?
Start with the classics. The Old Fashioned is an easy way to test bitters and a good variation to impress your friends at home adding different bitters, syrups or even split basing the spirit.
As a cocktail connoisseur, tell us your favorite cocktail.
Of course, I love Bourbon. A good drawn black Manhattan. Whiskey Sours with some added Amaro.
What’s your dream bitters creation?
Would love to do a limited release of barrel aged bitters in sherry or cognac cask. I would also like to partner with other brands and their spirits creating bitters within their spirit.
What do you like best about the Bourbon community?
The juice (Bourbon), music, adventure, long nights and good company. Cheers, y’all!
Combine all six ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into glassware over crushed ice and garnish with sprig of basil and dehydrated orange.
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