All about Bartram’s Bitters

When you stop by the Welcome Center, you’ll find a number of items are available to enhance your experience at Bartram’s Garden. Cool off with ice cream from Little Baby’s, buy a bottle of Bartram’s Garden honey or one of our seed packets. One special attraction, however, is Bartram’s Bitters, which is a featured ingredient at the upcoming Bartram’s Bitters Cocktail Party on September 13.

Now in its second batch, the cocktail additive is based on a 180-year-old recipe that fell out of an 1846 edition of A.B. Strong’s The American Flora, or History of Plants and WildFlowers in 1995. Like its more familiar counterparts (Peychaud’s and Angostura) Bartram’s Bitters would have been originally intended as a curative tonic, and was infused from a variety of herbals and aromatics. The result of the resurrected (and slightly adjusted) recipe comes in numbered bottles produced by the local Philadelphia Distilling Company in conjunction with Fair Trade Philly. The recipe includes gentian root, orange peel, wild cherry twigs, and prickly ash—also known as the “toothache tree”—among other ingredients.

Bartram’s Bitters have since featured prominently in a number of Bartram’s Garden events. The following recipe was created for us by Katie Loeb, Philadelphia’s own farm-to-bar “Cocktail Queen,” for the Philadelphia Honey Festival. Pick up a bottle today and try one of our favorite cocktails—or create your own!

Queen Bee’s Knees
1.5 oz Bluecoat Gin
1 oz honey
.75 oz fresh lemon juice
Dash of Bartram’s Bitters

Combine ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker and strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with a twist of lemon peel. Better still, come to the Cocktail Party on September 13 and try Bitters in a featured Colonial-era drink called the Stone Fence. See you there!