Bittermilk: Charleston Newest Beverage Products to Launch

Tasty Cocktail Compounds Hit the Market
Andrew Celbulka

The Raya's son helps put labels on the new Bittermilk products.

Joe and MariElena Raya are an aspiring couple. The two, who met in 2001 while attending The Culinary Institute of America, have single handedly transformed what was once MariElena’s father’s legendary institution Robert’s (in the last location) into one of the city’s best places for craft cocktail consumption — The Gin Joint. People questioned the seriousness of the place when it first opened but it quickly showed everyone that a small, hard-to-find intimate, almost all spirit focused bar could survive. Not only has it survived, it is a hot spot for those into cocktail drinking or just socializing in town. There is no question, that the couple knows what they are doing and do it well.

Which is why it comes to no surprise that the Raya’s are at it again. This time with launching a new line of tasty non-alcoholic “cocktail compounds” that go perfectly with some of your favorite spirits. Bittermilk, as they have affectionately named the line, is a series of mixers that together with some good booze can create a variety of easy to make cocktails.

The name Bittermilk came to the couple after a cohesive theme came to light — there is a bittering agent in each compound. Each formula is very complex and creates a unique but tasty mix. It’s different from anything available on the market and the products feature flavors that you would not make yourself at home.

Related Stories
5 Must-Have Drinks From Charleston's The Gin JointCharleston Harbor ToursBest Drinks With A View in Charleston7 Amazing Burgers in Charleston, South CarolinaCharleston Oyster Roasts

Here is the low down on the three products just launched:

  • The No. 1: Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Fashioned is made of sugars that are smoked and aged in a bourbon barrel with bittering spices, organic orange peel, organic gentian root, cinchona bark and tartaric acid. Description on the bottle: “Strong and bittersweet, packed with old fashioned spices.” Bittering Agent: Gentian Root and Cinchona Bark
  • The No. 2: The Tom Collins with Elderflowers + Hops compound uses the flower of Centennial hops and natural extract of St. Germain to create the mix. It also features organic lemon juice, cane sugar and water in the blend. Description on the bottle: “Bright and refreshing with vibrant lychee notes and a clean bitter finish.” Bittering Agent: Centennial Hops
  • The No. 3: The Smoked Honey Whiskey Sour is done in a similar approach to the Old Fashioned but with honey smoked and aged in barrels. Ingredients include organic lemon juice, honey, cane sugar and oleo saccharum. Description on the bottle: “Our smoked honey whiskey sour is the perfect blend of tart and smoky, with hints of orange, vanilla and spice. Bittering Agent: Orange Peel