Fee Brothers - West Indian Orange Bitters - 4 oz - Rochester, NY
This old fashioned cocktail ingredient went unnoticed for years, until recently. A new interest in classic cocktails has brought it out of retirement. There are many recipes that call for Orange Bitters, but of most note is the "Classic" Martini. Try a dash in your next Martini and you will never want one without Orange Bitters again.
About Fee Brothers
Fee Brothers is one of three remaining bitters makers in the US that had its start before prohibition and the Great Depression. It started in 1863, when Magaret Fee converted the family butcher shop in Rochester, New York into a delicatessen and saloon. Soon thereafter, son James opened a liquor and grocery store, and then moved into making, importing and distributing wine. In 1881, James died of heart failure, and the business was passed to James' brothers, and the name was changed to Fee Brother.
In 1920 when prohibition hit, the Fee Brothers had to become creative to survive. Besides producing alter wine, they started making wine and beer in individual's homes - which was still legal. They also started making flavorings, including Benedictine, Chartreuse, Brandy, Rum and dozens of cordial syrups which could be added to homemade alcohol to flavor it.
By 1933, the prohibition was lifted, but then the Great Depression took its hit. The company shrunk, and was then passed onto cousin John. Soon many of the liquor products were dropped and John decided to concentrate on wine and cordial syrup sales. John also developed an easy-to-use concentrated product called Frothy Mixer. It gave a delicious lemon flavor to Whiskey Sours and Tom Collins and an attractive frothy “head.” This became very popular along with the motto, “Don’t Squeeze, Use Fee’s.”
Fee Brothers slowly began to grow again. But as the 1950 approached, the wine business was receding, so John slowly exited that portion of the business and concentrated, instead, on the non-alcoholic products which were gaining in popularity. And in 1953, two years after John's death, his son quit his job at Eastman Kodak and took over the family business. Jack knew very little about how to produce and market drink mixes. However, he started with the already established Frothy Mixer and from there continued on a never-ending quest to develop new products. Before long, new products such as Grenadine and Bitters began to appear on the display shelves in the Fee Brothers front office. Soon Fee Brothers was again hiring employees to help keep up with the orders.
Jack, his wife Margaret, their eight children and some very dedicated employees help Fee Brothers get through the next two decades. Fee Brothers become nationally known, selling the bars and restaurants all over the country. They continued to expand their operations, although with that grownth, they continued to stay focused on making a clean and quality product. By 1991, three of Jack's children, John, Ellen and Joseph were all working in the business, expanding the company and bringing the company into the modern age.
Now, at the beginning of the new millennium, the fourth generation of Fee’s is looking ahead with positive anticipation. The product list boasts over 80 drink mix products including the newest additions. Fee Brothers’ market stretches from coast to coast in the United States, and their products are also shipped to such far away places as Austria, The Virgin Islands, and Korea.