Whisk Sips Video Cocktail Series featuring Fee Bros. Plum Bitters
Fee Brothers’ History:
In 1864, James Fee opened a grocery and liquor store in Rochester, NY to help support his large, close-knit family. His brothers helped him grow the store into a successful winery and wine import business. The name was changed from James Fee & Company to Fee Brothers in 1883.
When prohibition began in 1920, Fee Brothers kept themselves afloat by making altar wine & distributing wine-making supplies. They even consulted with homeowners to legally make their own wine at home. It was legal to make a small amount of wine for personal use, but making and selling stronger spirits was strictly forbidden.
That didn’t stop people from trying though, and poor quality alcohol flooded the market. Most of the people making this black market booze had no clue what they were doing. For that reason, most of the alcohol being sold in saloons and speakeasies tasted terrible. Fee Brothers saw this as an opportunity and developed a line of cordial syrups and drink flavorings. They designed them to make inferior spirits taste like the real thing. Benedictine, Chartreuse, Brandy, and Rum flavorings were among their most popular products.
When prohibition ended in 1933, Fee Brothers started selling liquor again. They kept making their cordial syrups though, and they remained very popular. Therefore, they soon decided to focus on mixers, syrups, and flavorings instead. By 1950 they were on a never-ending quest to develop new products and their flavored cocktail bitters line really became a focus. Fee Brothers’ product list now boasts almost 100 drink mix products. Today they’re best know for their huge selection of flavored cocktail bitters.
Fee Brothers plum bitters are a very fruit forward bitter with a strong plum flavor, hints of orange and citric acid, and notes of Chinese cinnamon and chinchona bark. Overall these bitters taste of baked stone fruit with warm spice, almost reminiscent of British plum pudding. Pair these bitters with rum or whiskey and spice in the fall or winter, or bright fruity flavors in summer. Please watch the video below for an idea of how to put Fee’s plum bitters to use in your home bar.
Spiced Plum Stormy
2 slices fresh plum
1 slice lime
2 oz gold or dark rum
4 to 5 oz ginger beer (not ginger ale)
4 to 6 dashes plum bitters
Muddle plum and lime slices in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add rum, plum bitters, and ice, and shake until frosty. Strain over ice into a highball or collins glass, and top off with ginger beer. Garnish with a slice of plum or lime if desired.