Curtis McMillan
The views expressed in db Reader do not represent the views of the drinks business.


I’m starting to get sick of the sweet Italian vermouth each week, and dream of the day when juice will come to save me.

20130202_115300I know I’m being silly about vermouth, but it’s going to be a weekly ritual and maybe by next month I can find some appreciation for it.

This week’s “hard to find” ingredient was the bitters.

The United States bitters market is in a boom, and its getting very hard to find any style of bitters not in production.

I called around to some of my cocktail supply stores looking for Boonecamp or Boonekamp to find none available. I then in desperation did a search on eBay to find a group in San Francisco building one. I put my order in and when it came found out that it was just another anise ploy.

My first feeling was great vermouth and anise – what a sign of the times! I can’t seem to get away from the taste of black liquorice and vermouth.

Original recipe

Three fourths Scotch

2 dashes Italian Vermouth

Dash Boonecamp Bitters


My try on the recipe

Two ounce Balvenie 15

One ounce sweet Italian vermouth

1 dash San Francisco Boonekamp Bitters

BoonekampAdd all ingredients to a glass with ice, and stir with the bar spoon. Use your julep strainer and strain into your chilled cocktail glass.



I have no idea why this bitters and vermouth did what it did. They both tamed the Scotch and made for a decent cocktail. This cocktail made it in my top three so far. It’s still very dry, but it’s refreshing where the cocktails with Sherry and vermouth have not been. I don’t taste any anise in this drink, and that’s a good thing from my point of view.

If you’re following along with the book also you will see that next week I’m going to skip the Blanchard for the Bobby Burns. I find that the Blanchard is just another Ballentine, and I’m not sure my taste buds can do another week of that.

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