Perhaps it was the excitement of the engagement that spurred our creativity, or more likely the train of thought was a part of a deliberate strategy of wedding planning avoidance. Either way, on a long car journey up the A1 together, having long had the ambition of starting our own business, the idea for Brimmers was born. Having travelled the world together for almost ten years, by this time our bar was full of wild potions (it is, I fear, even fuller now) but aside from a bottle of the ubiquitous (and it must be said, delicious) Angostura bitters, we had yet to come across a British-made craft cocktail bitters. So we set ourselves the challenge of making one and if, it was good, to share it with the world.
The Brimmers name came from the Frank and Charles Sheridan rhyme about John Collins which we discovered around the same time:
My name is John Collins, head waiter at Limmer’s,
Corner of Conduit Street, Hanover Square,
My chief occupation is filling brimmers
For all the young gentlemen frequenters there.
It was such a pleasing word to say and so quintessentially English that it stuck immediately. Indeed, we had the name before I had made a single batch of bitters!
What followed was three years of experimentation. Whilst the fundamental process for producing bitters is quite simple – extracting essences from botanicals and spices using strong alcohol – the complexities of arriving at the right bitterness, sweetness, flavour combination and clarity were seemingly endless.