Dutch's Colonial Cocktail Bitters

Spicy, floral and pleasantly bitter. Inspired by the scents and flavors of the 1700s: wild Spicebush, Kinnikinnick leaf, sandalwood, red rose petals and juniper. Formulated and distilled in Brooklyn. (more info)

  • Dutch's Colonial Cocktail Bitters - Kaufmann Mercantile1
Dutch's Colonial Cocktail Bitters - Kaufmann Mercantile

To get a distinctively flavored bitters, outdoorsman and distiller Jonathan Forester spent months researching the aromas and scents of America in the 1700s. He then went into the New England forest and foraged for wild American Spicebush, a mellower, New World version of allspice, and Kinnikinnik leaf, a fragrant herb introduced to colonists by Native Americans. From his collection of tinctures, he layered the base spiciness with florals like red rose and lavender, and the dusky oils of sandalwood and Turkish orange peel. This bitters is administered by the drop, and will bring subtle, nuanced flavors to your cocktail.

The popularity of bitters has swelled alongside that of cocktails, and with good reason. While the flavors are very mild and balanced, they are distinctive, and without that drop of bitters, a poor cocktail can taste flat.

Aside from wild American Spicebush and Kinnikinnick leaf, Dutch’s uses flavors from what sounds like the crumpled handkerchief or a globe-hopping adventurer: Turkish bitter orange peel, Hungarian angelica seed, sandalwood and red rose petals from India, French lavender, Egyptian chamomile, Albanian juniper, Honduran allspice and real Ceylon cinnamon.

Use & Care

This bottle is topped with an eyedropper for precision-- you'll only use a few drops for each drink. You can use this bitters to flavor soda water (one of the many hangover "cures" out there), but really this is intended for cocktails. This bitters' brawny flavors of leather and spice are well-suited for classic dark liquor drinks. Here's a recipe to get you started:

2 ounces rye whiskey or bourbon
¼ ounce Demerara syrup or simple syrup
3 dashes Angostura and one drop of Dutch's Colonial Bitters

Pour into a large glass filled with ice and stir until the alcohol is cold. Pour through a strainer and into a low glass with a large ice cube. Garnish with a lemon twist, an orange twist, or both.

For more recipes and a run-down of bitters, check out our post on the KM blog: Cocktail Bitters

Production & Design

Besides archived historical references describing the flavors that really floated early Amercans' boat (remember, the American continents were found accidentally in search of a spice -- so people were really into flavors back then), Jonathan drew from his personal flavor library of 215 tinctures. 

Forester made two versions of this bitters, put them into vials and took them to a meeting of the Bartenders Guild, where he knew he could try out what he cooked up on a group of people with educated palates. The result is this Colonial Bitters, the first in a line of flavors and distilled alcohols inspired by an era.

To ensure quality and consistency of flavor, Dutch's makes these in small batches, 3600 ounces, or a mere 28 gallons are made in each run.


4 ounces (118 ml)

Add a subtle flavor or aromatic botanicals to cocktails

Water, 52% alcohol vol., wild American Spicebush, Kinnikinnick leaf, Turkish bitter orange peel, Hungarian angelica seed, Indian red rose petals and sandalwood, French lavender, Egyptian chamomile, Albanian juniper, Honduran allspice and real Ceylon cinnamon

Made in 
Brooklyn, New York
  • USA
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