Conventional wisdom advises that habits are ingrained after 21 days of repetition. If that theory holds true, then the eat~play~shop local habit requires time and effort to develop. Each month I’ll share “21 Days” of some event, place or organization in the Triangle, enabling (and I mean that in the most positive sense possible) your inner Localista to come out and join us. This month it’s all about locally crafted beverages of many persuasions: beer, wine, coffee, spirits and more.
Craft cocktails have been experiencing a resurgence in the last few years, incorporating artisan ingredients crafted in small batches, like the bitters from Raleigh-based Crude Bitters and Soda. I first tried a spiced-up version of their “Zerbert” soda at the Abundance Foundation’s Annual Pepper Fest in 2013. It was a small tasting cup but the soda packed a big punch with a zesty jalapeno finish to the cool cucumber intro. I immediately started imagining the cocktails I could create with a splash of “Zerbert”.
Crude Bitters & Soda proclaims that each small batch is “handmade, by human hands” and there is great care taken in crafting their cocktail bitters. It begins with using quality ingredients (there is no high fructose corn syrup, glycerin, chemicals or dyes in their products) and through paying careful attention to details. Storage and aging occurs only in glass or wood barrels (never ever plastic or metal that can contaminate or react adversely with the ingredients). Crude Sodas can be consumed on their own or as cocktail mixers. Zerbert and The Ginger are available year round while the other flavors, Well Being, Smoke-a-Cola and Pumpkin Pop, are available seasonally.
Crude Bitters & Sodas started in 2012 and you may have seen their vendor table at Western Wake Farmers Market or perhaps you saw their soda on tap at Steel String Brewery in Carrboro or Fullsteam in Durham. You’ll start to see their bitters and other products in retail locations around the Triangle too (Gather in Cary, Seaboard Wines in Raleigh, and Southern Season in Chapel Hill). There’s a bit of a “bitters boom” happening it seems. I encourage you to pick up a flavor that appeals to you and start experimenting (or check out the recipes on the Crude Bitters and Soda website). The addition of bitters to a cocktail adds a depth of flavor you’ll really enjoy. Now you’ll have to pardon me, as I have a new bottle of Pineapple & Ginger Shrub calling out to me.