In pre-Prohibition days, a cocktail, by definition, was not a cocktail if it didn’t contain bitters. Which is why mixologists who look back longingly to that golden age for inspiration are in a frenzy over Regans’ Orange Bitters No. 6, cocktails historian Gary Regan’s brand-new elixir. Like adding vinegar to temper the sweetness and round out the flavor of certain dishes, adding bitters to cocktails provides balance and complexity. But unlike Peychaud’s and Angostura brands, orange bitters are hard to come by. So when Regan couldn’t ﬁnd any to his liking, he decided to cook up a batch of his own. It took six attempts and a trip to a witches’-supply store in Greenwich Village—presumably Kalustyan’s was a bust—before he got the recipe down. The tasty brew of orange zest, cardamom, cinchona, caraway, coriander, gentian, quassia, and a few other occult staples is fast becoming a hot commodity on the mix-ologist circuit, both here and abroad. (Regan has already fielded an urgent request from the Paris Ritz.) Look for it soon at your neighborhood Dean & DeLuca, or if you can’t wait to try it in Regan’s Bronx Cocktail recipe (left), order it online from buffalotrace.com/giftshop.asp.
Gary Regan’s Bronx Cocktail
2 ounces gin
1 ounce sweet vermouth
1 ounce dry vermouth
1 ounce fresh-squeezed orange juice
Orange bitters to taste
1 orange twist for garnish
Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.