by Ezekial Ferguson
As you might have guessed, we here at DiBruno Brothers like family owned businesses. Another thing were really enjoy is a good cocktail. It was, therefore, a real pleasure to have the opportunity to chat up Joe Fee of Fee Brothers Bitters, a 4th generation bitter producer from Rochester, New York. Bitters are to cocktails what salt is to cooking: they add a certain Je ne sais quoi, a small dash that elevates the flavor of the entire concoction. And as far as bitters go, there is Fee Brothers, and there is everyone else.
Despite the high regard in which they are held, and although it is considered an honor just to retail their products, Joe Fee stopped by our 9th street location last week just to say thanks for our business over the last five years…that’s business acumen you just don’t see much of these days! Joe is the friendly face of Fee Bros. but his sister, Ellen, has been production manager for over thirty years now. As a testament to her incredible work, I recently tore through two of bottles of bitters, one cherry and one lemon, in about a month. This is no small feat, assuming you’re not a professional bartender!
A plethora of Fee Brothers’ Bitters grace our shelves, including Old Fashioned, Orange, Lemon, Grapefruit, Peach, Mint, Rhubarb and Aztec Chocolate. In a way, having this wide variety in our shop allows us to contribute to some of the finest drinks being shaken in the Philadelphia area, from Alba to Zahav and many in between. But there is no need to leave the house now that these bitters are available to you. So if you want a REAL martini you can easily dash some of the orange bitters into your gin and vermouth and shake up what H.L. Menken referred to as “The only American invention as perfect as a sonnet”. Stop by our family business at 1730 chestnut street or 930 south 9th street and we’ll introduce you to the Fee family. Also, keep an eye out for a secret, new flavor to be released this summer.
Here are some of our favorite restaurants that serve drinks with Fee Bitters: