Product Desig
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The Great Bitters Experiment

2013 — Packaging, web design, branding, recipe development

Combine two parts fancy cocktail lovers and one part annual holiday project and you get The Great Bitters Experiment of 2013. Not only did we infuse all of the tinctures by hand and rigorously test dozens of recipes, but Kelli and I also embarked on the packaging nightmare of hand-transferring letters onto tiny bottles. We loved every minute of it. 

Co-conspirator: Kelli Johannessen

All the essentials for a happy new year.

All the essentials for a happy new year.

Each package included a half-ounce bottle of bitters, handstamped box, a sack of sugar cubes, and Champagne Cocktail recipe card.

 We drew inspiration from all kinds of packaging, ultimately walking the line between modern and the traditional medicinal feel of old bitters packaging. 

We drew inspiration from all kinds of packaging, ultimately walking the line between modern and the traditional medicinal feel of old bitters packaging. 

First things first: we set out to deliver the best bitters this side of Brooklyn.

First things first: we set out to deliver the best bitters this side of Brooklyn.

Bitters are a highly concentrated mixture of flavors that bring out the complexity of other ingredients in a cocktail. You only need a few drops at a time. 

Bitters can be made up of any number of single-ingredient infusions (or tinctures). We infused 36 different flavors which we combined in different ratios to create different flavors of bitters.

Once the tinctures had infused (taking anywhere from a few hours for chilies to a few weeks for cacao nibs), we used a very scientific process to determine the ultimate recipe—lots of taste-testing in Champagne cocktails. Our favorite ended up being Bitters #9. 

 Once we had a recipe, we started on the packaging design.

Once we had a recipe, we started on the packaging design.

 From tinctures to final package: a two month journey.

From tinctures to final package: a two month journey.

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The packages made it out just in time to wish 200 friends a happy new year.

The packages made it out just in time to wish 200 friends a happy new year.

...But why stop at product packaging? With our newfound mixology knowledge, we designed and built a recipe website.

When it was live (RIP little guy), the site had over a hundred recipes with custom illustrations for different cocktails and baked goods that went well with the flavor of our bitters. 

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