The Mysterious Mr. Ebonether

January 2016


According to Brad Thomas Parsons in his book Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All, bitters are “an aromatic flavoring agent made from infusing roots, barks, fruit peels, seeds, spices, herbs, flowers and botanicals in high-proof alcohol.” In use since the 1700’s, bitters were often touted as medicine, but evolved into a way to add flavor and character to cocktails or other bar drinks. With the growing interest in cocktails, bitters are experiencing a renaissance.

I started crafting my own bitters this summer, making up concoctions with locally-harvested herbs and other ingredients. Some were decent, no, actually pretty good, I had to bottle them to share with friends. And when a designer sees a blank brown bottle, a label is forthcoming…

Who is Ebonether, the crusty old character on the label that bears his name? Ebonether is an effigy, a symbol of a time past when hucksters sold snakeoil in the name of science. And like many science projects, Ebonether’s bitters are an ongoing experiment. Stay tuned…