Irish bartenders were out in force in March as Germany’s The Bitter Truth and Ireland’s Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin, both represented in Ireland by Dalcassian Wines & Spirits, created some bespoke cocktails. Maev Martin spoke to The Bitter Truth founder Alexander Hauck shortly after he arrived in Dublin.
Leading mixologists and bar owners from Dublin’s top cocktail and bar venues arrived in Zozimus and The Exchequer to attend one of Hauck’s two exclusive masterclasses where they witnessed the drinks’ genius in action. Alexander showcased his ‘Michelin Star’ menu of modern-day cocktails. For the Irish launch, he developed a series of cocktail recipes featuring the two super-premium brands, which have now been officially launched in Ireland. These include the Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin Garden and Tonic, featuring The Bitter Truth and celery bitters, as well as lemon juice, mint and tonic water, and the cocktail Aviation, made from Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin, The Bitter Truth violet liqueur, Lazaroni Maraschino liqueur and lemon juice. Alexander also created two special edition The Bittter Truth cocktails featuring other Dalcassian Wines & Spirits brands (Jeffersons Bourbon and Diplomatico Rum) – Peach Old Fashioned and Puka Beach Cocktail. “In Dublin we had 30 bartenders in attendance at our first masterclass and between 25 and 30 at the second,” says Alexander. “A masterclass runs for up to two hours and includes a Q&A session with the participants.”
Since The Bitter Truth’s inception in 2006, they have won multiple awards in the drinks industry and have grown their portfolio of products significantly. Their first foray into production resulted in orange bitters and aromatic bitters, and they have since extended their range to include a much wider selection, from celery bitters to a violet liqueur.
The Bitter Truth brand was invented by fellow barmen Alexander Hauck and Stephan Berg in 2006 following a conversation about how difficult it was to source high quality cocktail bitters in Germany. Both bartenders had extensive knowledge of the various forms of bitters and Stephan owned a large collection of current and historical bitters, some of which hadn’t been produced for decades. “In 2006 there were few spirits brands available in Europe and there were almost no bitters available,” says Alexander. “Stephan was a collector of defunct bitters, including pre-Prohibition bitters, and these are the inspiration for the bitters we produce. Also, Stephan is a collector of old cocktail books from the 19th century which contain recipes for drinks, as well as the ingredients, so that was the second source of inspiration for our business. We then started experimenting.”
The Bitter Truth supplies up to 20 products in its regular line and has teamed up with brands such as Pernod Ricard, Havana Club and Beefeater to produce bitters to go specifically with their products. “These would be limited edition bitters for special occasions,” says Alexander. “For example, we did a dried fruit bitter for the well known Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai for its most expensive cocktail in the world, which they produced about seven or eight years ago. I can’t remember how much the cocktail cost but we made four bottles of bitter for it, which was more than enough as they only sold 10 cocktails! It was an Old Fashioned cocktail which ended up in the Guinness Book of Records.”