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Flora Luna Apothecary founder and chief mixer Phaedra Achor is our guest on Brew Ha Ha with Harry Duke and Herlinda Heras today.
Herlinda is back from Poland, where she was a judge again at the Polish national beer competition. We hear about the beers she judged and some smoked cheeses she tasted.
Phaedra Achor has been making bitters for a long time. Her line is on sale at Bottle Barn and other locations but she has also finally opened her own lounge which serves mocktails. She began as Monarch Bitters but she rebranded as Flora Luna Apothecary after the pandemic and she has also added syrups to her product line. She makes all her products, which are botanically based, in Petaluma, in small batches, hand crafted. Aside from the sugar and water base for the syrups or the spirit base for the bitters, all of her products come from botanical sources.
Bitters started as medicinal products, in the early 1800s. Some are used as a digestive. Bitters are made with barks, roots and aromatic botanicals. Barks and roots are inherently bitter and when you extract the bitter compounds, they deliver their flavor.
The Apothecary is located at 122 Kentucky Street in Petaluma. The lounge is a showcase for her products. She does not need alcohol licensing since her products are not alcoholic drinks. Despite the presence of all the wine, beer and spirits business in Sonoma County, there is hardly any space for people who choose alcohol-free beverages.
Mixers are what make non-alcoholic drinks interesting, as well as alcoholic ones. Some mocktails can be not very interesting. The Apothecary has a whole menu of non-alcoholic cocktails and drinks. They are open Friday, Saturday and Sunday 4:30 pm to 8:30 pm and 11 am to 3 pm on Sunday. The place is tiny, she has 18 seats.
Phaedra will show how to make cocktails, low-alcohol drinks and mocktails which are non-alcoholic drinks, to be served hot or cold. The first cocktail uses ginger that macerates in some bourbon, with whiskey and ice. The whiskey is from Griffo Distillery in Petaluma, which is finished in stout beer barrels. These ingredients go into the shaker with the ice:
• 1½ ounces of bourbon whiskey,
• ½ ounce of apple cider,
• ¾ ounce of tart cranberry juice,
• ½ ounce of tangerine juice,
• ½ ounce of Flora Luna Cardamom Clove syrup,
• 4-5 drops per cocktail of Flora Luna coffee-cacao-peppercorn bitters,
• ¼ ounce of Little Apple Treats Lemon Coriander shrub. (A ‘shrub’ is a drinking vinegar.)
(Measuring cocktail ingredients is important to keep the cocktail’s flavors balanced.)
Phaedra has also mixed a mocktail using Free Spirits Bourbon, which is flavored like bourbon whiskey but is non-alcoholic. Free Spirits makes non-alcoholic substitutes for spirits that go into her mocktails. You can also make the same cocktail with a half an ounce of bourbon instead of an ounce and a half.