Orange you glad summer is finally here??

Here in Chicago, summer is the perfect season. Clear blue skies and green leafy trees set the backdrop for park picnics and patio hangs. Dips in the lake and cool drinks with friends are refreshing for the body and the soul. As temperatures rise, few cities take advantage the way Chicagoans do. After the long, freezing winter (and, let's be honest, most of spring), we've earned it!

Wherever you gather this season, chilled beverage in hand, we want to help make it something special. That's why we're delighted to partner with local company Bitter Ex Bitters for our Summer Mystery Box!

Exes Ryan Rezvani and Stephanie Andrews took an unconventional step after their break up - they went into business together! They created The Bitter Ex Bitters Company to craft unique, small-batch bitters using the highest-quality ingredients. A dash or two of these will take your cocktail game to the next level. All you'll need is a cocktail shaker (a mason jar with a lid will do in a pinch) and your bottle of Citrus Bitters. We've included enough in each box to make 2-4 drinks.

Need inspiration? Look no further! Below, Ryan has offered up a handful of Bitter Ex-approved recipes for cocktails (and mocktails!) to sip all summer long.

Rum Swizzle
The national drink of Bermuda, the Rum Swizzle, is a tropical blend that has roots of, well, roots. The drink originated from a blend of spruce beer (a form of fermented beverage made from the spruce tree not unlike a root beer or a birch beer), with rum, fruit juices, and sweetener, and of course, is balanced carefully by the tartness of citrus bitters.

  • 1.5 oz Gold Rum
  • 2 oz orange juice
  • 2o z pineapple juice
  • 0.25 oz grenadine
  • 2-3 dashes Bitter Ex Citrus Bitters

Add ingredients over ice in a Collins glass, stir, serve.

Dark and Stormy
This is a surprisingly refreshing drink. It’s important to choose a spicy ginger beer. I prefer Goslings or Barritts, but there are many on the market that are made with fresh ginger. Adding a splash of simple syrup is only important if the ginger beer doesn’t have an inherent sweetness so know your product. Steep fresh ginger in your simple syrup if you like it extra spicy.

  • 2 oz blackstrap rum
  • 1 oz light rum
  • 3 oz ginger beer
  • 0.5 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 0.25 oz simple syrup (1:1, sugar:water)
  • 3-4 dashes Bitter Ex Citrus Bitters

Shake light rum, bitters, lime juice, syrup, strain over fresh ice in rocks glass, add ginger beer, slowly pour blackstrap rum on top to create a "stormy" look. Garnish with a slice of lime.

Italian Sour
Sours are one of the oldest families of cocktails due to their truly timeless sweet-tart flavor combination. This version features smoky mezcal and citrusy Italicus.

  • 1 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1 oz mezcal
  • 0.5 oz Italicus
  • 0.5 oz lemon juice
  • 0.25 oz simple syrup
  • 3-4 dashes Bitter Ex Citrus Bitters

Mix all ingredients and shake/strain into cocktail glass with a lightly salted rim. Garnish with a cherry.

Iron Horse - Non-alcoholic*
  • 2 oz Mango nectar
  • 1 oz Pineapple
  • 1 oz Rooibos Tea
  • 0.5 oz Lemon
  • 0.5 oz Mint Simple Syrup
  • 4-5 dashes Bitter Ex Citrus Bitters (contains alcohol)
  • Club Soda
Combine mango nectar, pineapple juice, roobois tea, lemon juice, and mint simple syrup, shake and strain into Collins glass filled with fresh ice, top with club soda
La Condesa - Non-alcoholic*
  • 3 oz Strawberry basil simple syrup
  • 1 oz Lime juice 
  • 0.5 oz Agave
  • 4-5 dashes Bitter Ex Citrus Bitters (contains alcohol)
Combine strawberry/basil simple, lime juice, and agave nectar, shake and strain into coupe, garnish with lime wedge 

*Note: Though these drinks are considered non-alcoholic, bitters are alcohol-based so, if you choose to add them, they will contain trace amounts of alcohol.


For more ideas, visit the Bitter Ex website.


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