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Federico ‘Fred’ Cremasco is a remarkable young producer of Vermouth, Bitter, Amaro, Gin and Fernet from the town of Polcenigo, in Friuli. You could call him an herbalist; he devises recipes for his products from combinations of botanicals, some foraged wild nearby, some grown by him, some brought in from other areas, then creates his elixirs from these botanicals using varying methods of extraction.
He has experimented endlessly, trying out different methods of extraction (alcoholic distillation, steam distillation, cold maceration of fresh herbs, cold maceration of dried herbs, and hot maceration of fresh and dried herbs) to discover which method best suits the individual botanical. He then devises recipes for his alcoholic elixirs from combinations of these botanical extractions.
For most of the products, each botanical is treated individually, to make sure that the exact right level of extraction is reached for each substance; many producers throw everything in together (indeed many producers buy pre-made ‘amaro base’ from large companies who specialize in such things, just adding sugar and water). Fred takes enormous care in his work and the result is a collection of some of the highest quality spirits we’ve ever tasted with layers of flavor and a sense of place.
Campari may be the most famous and classic Italian ‘bitter’, a spirit type mostly used to make aperitivi cocktails (before dinner drinks), but Fred’s Bitter 34 takes the category to an entirely new level. With no artificial flavors or colors, the drink is naturally and beautifully orange hued, appropriately citrusy and bitter and made with only half the sugar level of Campari and other large brands, one of the ways Fred achieves the balance we look for in our spirits.
Concocted of 34 different botanicals using three methods of extraction: cold maceration of the dried plant, hot maceration, and steam distillation, all in nearly pure alcohol.
INGREDIENTS: 34 different botanicals including gentian, angelica, wormwood, orange and lemon peel.
COLOR: tending to orange, entirely from the natural color of the botanicals; no coloring added, unusually.
AROMA: herbal and orange notes; complex, rounded and balanced.
Flavor: delicately but persistently herbaceous; bitter, but balanced. The perception of alcohol is subtle, due to the use of a traditional recipe with a small amount of sugar. The body shows bitter notes from the maceration of botanicals like gentian root, and richness from the other botanicals that give complexity and persistence. The finish is soft and round thanks to the citrus.
Use: Ideal in the traditional Italian cocktails mixed with the other Fred Jerbis products.
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