Kirsten “Kitty” Amann is truly a cocktail queen. She boasts over fifteen years of experience in the beverage industry as a brand ambassador, publicist, bartender, and writer. Her specialty is working with brands to develop dynamic events, create delicious cocktails, and find a little healthy balance while doing it. Kitty is a founding member of the Boston chapters of Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails (LUPEC Boston) and the United States Bartenders Guild. We sat down to discuss all things cocktails.
It's finally fall! What should people stock their bar carts with? KITTY AMANN: Brown spirits, Amari, and bitters! Most people drink seasonally, white spirits in summer and dark in winter. While I'm an "any spirit for any season" gal, there's nothing quite like sipping a Manhattan in front of the cozy fire while wearing a cashmere sweater. As it's apple season, I say ring it in by treating yourself to a bottle of Laird's Applejack (America's oldest distilled spirit) and trying it in a stirred cocktail.
What's your favorite cocktail for fall? KA: I love a Fistful of Dollars (created by the folks at Trina's Starlite Lounge) which is a surprisingly simple drink that's greater than the sum of its parts! The original recipe calls for 2 parts white whiskey, 1 part Montenegro Amaro, and orange bitters. I use Mad March Hare, an Irish poitín, similar to an unaged whiskey, as it’s distilled from malted barley. I’m working my way through my amaro selection—this drink is great with The Bitter Truth's E**X**R amaro and an additional dash of their Old Time Aromatic bitters in addition to orange bitters, and a twist or orange oil. (Recipe and link to image below)
Fist Full of Dollars 2 oz. Mad March Hare Premium Irish Poitín 1 oz. The Bitter Truth E**X**R amaro 4 dashes of The Bitter Truth Orange Bitters --Stir and serve down.? Garnish with an orange peel.
What’s the biggest mistake people make when mixing a drink? KA: At home, bartenders can get stumped by balance in a drink, and often end up with something they feel is "too sweet." Instead of dumping it and reaching for wine, remember this: sweetness is balanced by acidity and bitterness. So, if your margarita has too much triple sec, just add a little more acidity with an extra half ounce of lime, or even lemon if you're out of limes! Likewise, for your Manhattan - the bitters are what knits that drink together, so just add a few more dashes, or splash in a little amaro for fun.
What's your best entertaining tip? KA: Buy more ice. I can't tell you how often I show up to parties and am asked to whip up a drink, but there's barely any ice left after chilling down the wine. Just buy twice as much ice as you *think* you should. Also, any drink you want to serve can be easily made in large quantity and served in a pitcher or punch bowl. That way you can serve fresh, delicious drinks and still enjoy actually talking to your guests!
What are you personally excited about this fall? KA: Egan's Manhattans by the fireplace with my mom & dad! They live in NH and I love going to visit when the leaves are turning. I start icing down the glassware for evening cocktail hour at 5pm!