The Bitter Truth

If you know me at all you are aware that I like products that are out of the ordinary and like to experiment. The Bitter Truth fit the bill for both qualifiers. After receiving samples of their Grapefruit, Orange and Peach bitters I began my experimentation, beginning with a can of a mass-produced yellow lager that I otherwise would eschew drinking. Upon pouring into three glasses I added a few drops of the aforementioned bitters and each drink was magically transformed into an enjoyable beer.

Although I was asked to sample these with beer, I got to thinking that my experimentation didn’t have to end there, and proceeded to continue my research by adding drops to my favorite everyday bourbon. Again, it succeeded in making a completely unique taste experience and enabled me to have three additional bourbons instead of one. I obtained the same result with vodka and my conclusion is that The Bitter Truth allows you to create new quality drinks from your spirits or beer that may be an improvement upon the original. The character to me is that of citrus peel and the peach was thankfully not sweet, but while retaining the essence of the peach flavor adds a bitterness that complements your drink of choice nicely. I’m sure I’ve only touched the surface of the uses for these interesting and unique creations and the makers also produce several other bitters, including cucumber, celery, lemon, chocolate and creole versions.

The Bitter Truth is distributed by Southern Wine and Spirits in Nevada and California and comes in 200 ml bottles, which retail for around $20. For more info visit

Papa’s Pilar

If you’ve been reading this column you know that I recently was re-introduced to aged rum and found it to be just as interesting as aged bourbon or whiskey. Aged rum does not get the recognition it deserves, and now I have another aged rum to rave about, Papa’s Pilar, a dark rum aged for 24 years in American oak bourbon barrels and port wine casks and finished for 90 days in sherry casks. Inspired by Ernest Hemmingway and named for his boat Pilar, this 43% ABV rum is born of multiple rums made from molasses hailing from the Caribbean, Central America and Florida that are married together in a unique Solera aging and blending process. The result is an exquisite drink with a rich, smooth and mellow sweetness that I could easily get used to drinking daily, and it comes in a very classy container with a cap attached to a chain reminiscent of a flask.

Papa’s Pilar comes in light and dark rum versions. The Blonde Rum retails for around $31 and the Dark Rum is $40. In Southern Nevada you can find Papa’s Pilar at Total Wine and in Southern California at Hatch in Tustin, Market Broiler in Orange and Ways & Means in Huntington Beach. For more info

Toast Vodka

Another Florida product is Toast Vodka, which is made with unsweetened coconut water, 6x distilled from corn, and is a non-GMO, gluten-free spirit. Not to be confused with a flavored vodka, the coconut water used in the production retains all the natural benefits but only imparts a trace essence in the taste profile. Toast Vodka is intended to be enjoyed by itself rather than as a mixer and was recently awarded Gold in the Los Angeles International Spirits Competition. Its attractive packaging is via a 75 ml cylindrical flint glass bottle with rounded shoulders and long neck that facilitates easy pouring, with the label screen printed onto the bottle’s surface. In addition to the name, the slogan “To Life, to Love, to Us” is etched into the glass, because there’s always something to toast.

Toast Vodka retails for around $31 and is distributed in LA and Nevada by Park Street. For more info visit