August 24th, 2007
Operation 1919 – seeking lost ingredients
Looking for lost cocktail ingredients? Know where to shop for them? Read on.
OK, enough. It really shouldn’t be that hard to find ingredients for the pre-Prohibition cocktails we’re all crazy about and attempting to mix in our homes when we’re not ordering them in bars. In the past week, people have asked me where they can purchase Peychaud’s bitters, orange bitters, Amer Picon, Fernet Branca — even rye whiskey, for chrissakes! Then there’s the really weird stuff like Swedish punsch and creme de violette. One reader has taken it upon himself to purchase cases of bitters and absinthe online and then sell them (at cost) to fellow cocktail enthusiasts (thanks, Adam!). That is commendable. But, um, shouldn’t someone else be doing that on a larger, more profitable scale? Like, say, a liquor store?
Sure, some liquor stores mentioned here in the past — Blanchard’s, Wine & Cheese Cask, Downtown Wine & Spirits, Martignetti’s, Beacon Hill Wine, Atlas in Medford — carry one or two of these ingredients, but none of them stock a decent, dependable selection. Why not? I’m guessing it’s because not enough people have asked them to. Well, folks, it’s time. Please join me in Operation 1919 — a mission to make lost and rare cocktail ingredients readily available to the home mixologist. We must do the cyberspace equivalent of standing en masse outside Boston’s finer booze purveyors and chanting: “What do we want? Peychaud’s bitters! When do we want it? Now!”
Leave a comment on this post and tell me a) which vintage cocktail ingredients you’re looking for and b) whether you have found such ingredients in the Boston area — or anywhere in New England, for that matter. I will then pass our wish list on to the proprietors of the above and other establishments in hopes that they’re interested in serving a niche market. Ready, set, demonstrate!