Whiskeys & bitters made and aged entirely in California since 2011

Workhorse Rye since 2011

BITTERS IN PRESS: Thank you Phoenix New Times!

"The Ciao Bello is the espresso martini or Irish coffee's better, tastier, more sophisticated cousin."

Photo by Asher Ponders

Photo by Asher Ponders

Thank you for the mention Phoenix New Times!


The Spot: The Parlor, Biltmore Area
The Drink: Ciao Bello

"The espresso martini has never been the choice of anyone who knows better. Too fussy and bad tasting to be humdrum or 'drinkable'. The kind of drink Jamie Oliver would tweet out harmlessly, the kind a cocktail historian like David Wondrich would rather not validate.

Likely this is because espresso is an unruly — if not a potentially lively and exciting — ingredient. Most bars can’t pull a good shot, and then there’s the matter of most standard recipes calling for vodka (usually so tasteless that bad poor espresso becomes the star) and, perhaps, creme de cacao.

Michael Allmandinger of The Parlor flips the espresso cocktail on its head. The Ciao Bello incorporates St. George’s NOLA (New Orleans-style) coffee liqueur, Salted Cacao Bitters from Workhorse Rye, and Fernet Branca Menta amaro for a minty twist. Allmandinger lets Italy’s two traditional after-dinner beverages, espresso and amaro, sing in harmony, as they flirt with a minty profile and mint garnish that lands the drink deliciously close to a mint chocolate frappuccino from Starbucks; a distant flavor memory, but a good one."


WHISKEY WRITES on our Finger Lime Cacao Cocktail Augmenters...

"Workhorse Rye’s Finger Lime & Cacao cocktail augmenters really set themselves apart and earn their eclectic title. The list of ingredients may not be long but each one really brings their own personality into the mix to create a truly unique piece of work. These would be fantastic in simple gin drinks to add additional zing and zest, they would really liven up a Manhattan if you had some unimpressive vermouth and only bottom shelf whiskey on hand, as well as some sour or smash based cocktails to bring in some added nuance."

WHISKEY WRITES on mixing a drink with our India Pear Bitters...

"Workhorse Rye recently sent me some of their India Pear Bitters and I thought their tart, earthy tones would match up well and reign in the sweetness of the whiskey and sugar in an Old Fashioned and they did quite an excellent job, though I used a bit more than I normally would, about half a sleeve.

India Pear Bitters & George Dickel Rye Old Fashioned

Douse the sugar cube with the water and bitters, muddling until at least all large crystals are dissolved. Add whiskey and an ice cube, stir to combine. I left this one sans garnish mostly because I didn’t have any pears on hand and it didn’t need any additional complexity."

Whiskey Writes is a fantastic and thorough blog revolving around the world of whisk(e)y, bitters, and cocktails. In other words, we love them. Here are some of the words written about our products, head over to see many more interesting words and photos.

WHISKEY WRITES on our India Pear Bitters...

"On top of the IPA, pears, and Buddah’s Hand, you can easily distinguish notes of celery seed, mace, turmeric [you get a lot of this], cardamom that doesn’t overpower you thank god, ginger, fenugreek, and a couple different kinds of citrus. This is very spice and herb forward and would do well with many oaky bourbon’s I feel. This isn’t your run of the mill bitters that focus on one or two flavours; they’ve managed to combine elements and spices from many different regions of the world and come up with a product that is at both times very Mediterranean and distinctively Asian in its flavour profile. Nothing is overwhelms you and even the ingredients that tend to hijack flavour profiles like cardamom and ginger find their place and play nice with their contemporaries."


The Village Voice - New York Peated Bourbon by Workhorse Rye distiller

The Village Voice interviewed Kings County Distillery's Colin Spoelman about the whiskey Workhorse Rye's Rob Easter made for them while under their employ. KCD Peated Bourbon, made in 2012, bottled in 2014, is now available in the NYC area.

To read the article, click here.

VV: Peated Bourbon, what was the inspiration behind this? What do you suppose single-malt enthusiasts will make of it?

CS: The peated bourbon will be more familiar to bourbon drinkers than scotch drinkers. The peat is quite subtle, so I would describe it as a bourbon that tastes less sweet than most bourbons, with a little more of a bold, robust flavor. Rob Easter, of Workhorse Rye, was working in the distillery two summers ago, and I have to give credit to him for this invention. We had the peat lying around because we were making some single-malt scotch-style whiskey, and it was his idea to use it to make bourbon. I’ve never seen it done before, so I think we are likely the first distillery to have tried it. I wish we made more, but we are making more now that will be ready in two to three years.


FEBRUARY 12th & 13th
11 AM - 6 PM

We are proud to share with you that we will be showcasing our goods alongside some of the most interesting makers in the world at a trade show in Joshua Tree called Desert & Desert.

Put on by the world renowned foragers and perfume distillers, Juniper Ridge, this show will be like nothing, at least we, have ever heard of.

We are making drinks all day (don't worry, bitters, shrub, and soda mostly during the day, you won't get wasted...) and all night with our stuff as well representing some of our friends who make beverages in California including:

Four Barrel Coffee
Q Drinks
San Francisco Mead
Shrub & Co
Sutherland Distillery 

In the words of Juniper Ridge...

"A truly collaborative experience, Desert & Denim is a place for brands to share space and vision. We’ve marshaled the most progressive voices in the industry; the renegades, the craftsmen and women forging goods with the lasting durability and tenacity of the deserts of the American West.

 Juniper Ridge will be premiering the Desert Denim Wash, a spray-on preparation singularly designed with rugged, artisan denim in mind. We can’t wait to share it with you, and we can’t wait for whiskey fueled campfires and Western debauchery under the galactic desert sky. There will be food trucks, kegs and after parties; come to shop, stay to unwind."

CLICK HERE for more info.

For tickets, please email

Friends, this will be nuts. We will be pouring things we have never before poured for the public, as well as releasing our brand new one-off Redwood Mesquite Bitters sourced in conjunction with Juniper Ridge.

The Autumn Old Fashioned

If you have been to any of our events in San Francisco since we launched Redhorse and our bitters on Halloween, you must have seen or tasted an Autumn Old Fashioned. It is a simple drink, as Old Fashioned Cocktails damn well should be, however, we snuck in some complexity under the radar. 

The cheap-shot complexity comes from the use of two different bitters, in this case the Salted Cacao and the Two Year Aged Pumpkin Bitters. Different and complimentary bittering agents bring an extra layer to your Old Fashioned that we think is quite a step above. 

Serving an Old Fashioned Cocktail in a wine glass is a fresh experience as the aromatics are protected and more easily appreciated. 

Serving an Old Fashioned Cocktail in a wine glass is a fresh experience as the aromatics are protected and more easily appreciated. 

The Aged Pumpkin Bitters are designed to smell and taste like both your kitchen during the holidays and the fields from which these prized botanicals hail.

We represent the kitchen with:

  • both toasted and raw baking spices (all of 'em: nutmeg, allspice, cardamom, clove, cinnamon, ginger, peppercorn, star anise, vanilla)
  • roasted sugar pie pumpkins
  • dark sweet beer (we actually added beer as an ingredient in these bitters. Most operations dilute bitters with water, but we think that is boring. We dilute with beer or wine instead. We sourced this part from Almanac Beer's Honeypot stout ale)
  • cranberries
  • turmeric
  • cacao (from Dandelion Chocolate of course)
  • rooibos tea

We conjured a pumpkin patch with:

  • artichoke leaf
  • gentian root
  • sweet potatoes
  • carrots
  • echinacea root
  • orange bell peppers
  • chiltepin peppers
  • rosemary
  • sage


Given that there are so many roasted whole foods in these bitters, you can imagine that there is a natural sugar content. Because of that, less sugar is needed when mixing a cocktail with our Pumpkin Bitters but as always, dial in the drink specifically to your taste. Our tongues are different you know.



1.5 Ounce - Redhorse Rye Whiskey (this drink also works splendidly with a delicate Speyside Scotch, Rye Whiskey, or Reposdao Tequila that is at 50% ABV or above. Mixing with high proof is always the best decision. Once it is diluted it will still have backbone)

2-3 Sleeves - Aged Pumpkin Bitters

1-2 Sleeves - Salted Cacao Bitters

1 Barspoon or 1/2 Teaspoon - Rich simple syrup, gimme syrup, or maple syrup

Add ingredients in a rocks glass, add ice, stir, enjoy. If you are a garnish loving individual, you will want to check out a grapefruit or lemon peel expression.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Two years ago we roasted a grip of organic Sugar Pie Pumpkins and covered them in our rye whiskey. Such is the dawn of the Aged Pumpkin Bitters.

Two years ago we roasted a grip of organic Sugar Pie Pumpkins and covered them in our rye whiskey. Such is the dawn of the Aged Pumpkin Bitters.



on Valencia in between 16th and 17th

more specifically understood as:

557 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

is making food and drinks with our bitters and whiskey

on Sunday November 23rd from 6PM to 11PM.

It will be righteously rewarding and terrifically tantalizing. And other fancy adjectives.


Portion Control.

Here is our rough guide of what quantity of bitters to use. Something important to note about using a dropper bottle (as opposed to a dasher bottle) is that one sleeve is equivalent to one dash.

NY Times - Tax Inversion Cocktail

An article we enjoyed by Josh Barro of The New York Times



You may have heard about “corporate inversion” this week. That’s a tax-avoidance maneuver in which an American company is acquired by a smaller foreign competitor, allowing it to move its tax residency abroad while keeping most of its operations in the United States.

We know what you’re thinking: Why should corporations have all the fun inverting? So for this week’s Upshot With a Twist, we found a delicious way you can save on taxes by inverting a cocktail.

We started with the Manhattan: a classic American cocktail, with a base of American bourbon or rye, that’s subject to extensive American liquor excise taxes. We challenged Jan Warren, the consulting bartender at thenew Midtown restaurant Urbo, to invert it: Make us a drink that’s mostly vermouth with just a touch of rye, a transaction that would allow us to claim our Manhattan wasn’t American anymore.

Jan came back with the “Gimme Shelter”: Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, Rittenhouse Rye, bitters and an orange twist, on the rocks. This cocktail, with a strong orange aroma, is a proud resident of Italy. It’s also a tax saver: While New York taxes distilled spirits at $6.43 a gallon, fortified wines like vermouth are subject to just 30 cents a gallon in tax.

The Obama administration is threatening executive action to discourage corporations from inverting. But even if President Obama stops you from moving your company overseas for tax purposes, you’ll probably still be able to enjoy this drink.

manhattan NY time.jpg

Gimme Shelter

2 dashes Angostura bitters

1.5 oz. Cocchi Vermouth di Torino (sweet Italian vermouth)

1 oz. Rittenhouse Rye Whiskey

Combine ingredients in a rocks glass, add ice, stir briefly, and garnish with an orange twist.

I'M ON A BOAT - A bay area spirits and beer fest.

You've seen it. We've seen it. Now, we are doing it.

On Saturday August 23rd, Workhorse Rye will be on a boat.

And you can be too.

Yes, it is apparently a yacht, we get that. But, the saying goes... I'M ON A BOAT. 

If you haven't seen 2009's viral Saturday Night Live video entitled "I'm On A Boat" then, maybe you should watch it. Warning: just like our whiskey, it is not exactly for the whole family. Ye be warned. Take it with a grain of (sea) salt.

Let it be known.


AUGUST 23rd 


We are pouring our whiskeys and bitters on a ship/yacht/boat alongside many other makers of beer, spirits, coffee, bitters, etc. We would love for you to join us. It is going to get just as weird as the SNL video, that is a promise.

All of the brands involved are listed HERE.

"I'm On A Boat" is the brain child of our distilling peers Seven Stills and the SF publication The Bold Italic. It involves one deck of the yacht featuring Bay Area spirits and one deck showcasing the coolest Bay Area beers you've always wanted to try. It is a Bay Area drinks fest, on a boat.

To join us, venture below.


What are bitters?

Bitters are complex flavor extracts that are extracted and preserved by alcohol. They are not considered alcoholic beverage, but rather a flavor contributor since the quantity is so minuscule. 

Bitters are potent, complex flavor extracts from plants, extracted and stabilized by alcohol, to elevate drinks and food. Plants and alcohol. As they are very concentrated and used in such sparring quantity (dashes or as we call them since we use sleeved dropper bottles, sleevesthey don't contribute alcohol to a drink, rather the alcohol is there to extract and stabilize the plants.

We know them in American culture mainly for their essential role in the mixed drink known as the cocktail. 

A cocktail by classic definition is very specific. It is a drink containing the balanced flavors of a spirit (whiskey, rum, tequila, etc), a sweetener (cane, maple syrup, etc), a bitter, and a diluter (water in the form of ice, etc).

Although recently we know them for making Old Fashioneds, well... Old Fashioned... they have been utilized for centuries to aid digestion, calm inflammation, boost circulation, and many other immune system happenings that can be attended to by plant extracts. 

Bitters are like the vanilla extract added to a batch of cookies; flavor essences extracted by alcohol. The alcohol we use for bitters we make from scratch from rye and cane, which certainly sets us apart from the pack. 

Bitters contribute balance to sweetness in cocktails and food, exactly like hops do in beer or spices and salt do in a dish.

Instead of just one ingredient, like vanilla extract, they are packed with barks, roots, herbs, and fruits/fruit peels. Botanicals of any persuasion, the sky is the limit. Aromatic bitters of some kind are an essential player in any cocktail. By definition, a cocktail is a type of mixed drink containing spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters. Without bitters, this drink becomes another type of mixed drink.

They also taste great on their own in a soda, iced coffee, and can even add great depth to a meal or dessert.

Note that while bitters are high in alcohol, the government classifies them as "non-potable" alcohol because they are additions (dashes) to drinks and dishes, rather than an actual bottle of booze. Therefore it is legal to directly sell these online, and at say, a coffee shop. No liquor license needed.

Our Aromatic Coffee Bitters are macerated with many plants but the bitterness mainly comes from Quassia bark and Gentian root.

Our Aromatic Coffee Bitters are macerated with many plants but the bitterness mainly comes from Quassia bark and Gentian root.

Eggnog & Bitters

Eggnog has been a family favorite as long I can remember. My dad would ceremoniously bring home a bottle and it would be gone by the following night. He rationed us to one bottle at Thanksgiving and one bottle at Christmas. Although a controversial decision, it was easily defended with a "look what's in it!" invitation that always turned out to be quite compelling. Heavy whipping cream is a pretty serious villain, and yes ok, delicious... or... disgusting? I really can't decide.

With that in mind, I wanted to make a slightly more friendly version of eggnog with our whiskey and bitters (instead of the more traditional brandy and spiced rum), but it still had to taste like the ultimate indulgence. For that I employed the use of almond milk instead of whole milk and organic half & half instead of heavy whipping cream. Its a bit less viscous than your standard eggnog which I personally consider an attribute, but to each their own!


For the half & half selection, I go with Straus Organic or something similar. I have loved Califia Almond Milk since the moment I tried it in a Cappuccino at Four Barrel. Its delicious and lacks the weird processed ingredients that plenty of other almond milks sport. It seems after Califia hit the market, most of the coffee shops in San Francisco stopped using soy milk, to which I responded: "SCORE". I deem the end of soy in coffee shops a great boon to our health and our taste buds. Anything but whole milk in coffee is a hard sell for most people so the fact that it has been so readily embraced says a lot. 

I love the recipe from Jeffrey Morgenthaler's website, so I follow his process of putting the eggs in the blender while it is on, and then adding the ingredients in the order as listed below.

Try this recipe below, let us know how it goes for you and if there is anything you tweaked with good results!

2 large cage free eggs (come on, they're safer and they taste better!)
3 oz (by volume) your favorite raw sugar
½ tsp freshly-grated nutmeg
An ambiguous amount of pecans (5) and cacao nibs (1 tablespoon)

4 oz Palehorse Rye Whiskey
6 oz Califia almond milk
4 oz Straus organic half & half
10 dashes of Coffee Rye Bitters (adjust this to taste)

Put in the fridge and drink a few hours or days later, it gets better and better as the flavors meld. You'll want to drink it within a week.

Option: When ready to serve, throw about 4 ounces into a chilled cocktail glass and top with an ounce of Porter or Stout and fresh grated nutmeg. Fresh nutmeg beats pre-ground nutmeg time after time, the survey says.

With this recipe you're looking at around 900 calories for the entire 16 (ish) ounce batch, which is about 500 less than one with heavy whipping cream and whole milk. 

Workhorse Rye in Forbes

An article by Vanna Le of Forbes involving Workhorse Rye founder Rob Easter. Get to the original article by clicking here. To get the recipe for the drink listed, look for "The Mexican Wedding Cocktail" by clicking here.


12 Simple Drink Recipes For Your New Year's Eve

The Christmas season may be wrapping up, but the celebration hasn’t officially ended. With the countdown for 2014 just over yonder, the hustle and bustle of party prepping can get pretty stressful. To save you from time and worry, we’ve rounded up the perfect recipes from top mixologists for your party or pre-dinner drinks.

The ‘La Trinité’ — a dark and funky concoction of rhum, Cocchi di Torino, Campari, chocolate bitters and lime peel — would perfectly sate Don Draper for occasions grander than a boozy business drink. “Negronis and rum old fashioneds are my kryptonite, particularly because I often make the mistake of ordering a couple before eating dinner,” says Leslie Pariseau, Deputy Editor at PUNCH magazine. She recommends having a burrito or a burger first to anchor one’s barstool composure.

AltaMarea‘s sommelier Victoria James has created two ginger-laced twists to remedy the seasonal cold snaps. The ‘Fireplace Sipper,’ made with rye-infused coriander, lemon, ginger, sherry, fig preserves and brown sugar, embodies a spectacular richness without being too sweet. “The high acidity in the dry sherry cleans the palate and leaves you with a nutty finish,” says James.

Her ‘Immuni-Tea’ concoction, made with run, anise, ginger, lemon/orange peels and allspice mixed with rum, bourbon and orange juice, is fitting for anyone feeling under the weather. Both drinks combine flavors that are toasty and spicy, perfect as festive apéritifs.

Rob Easter of Workhorse Rye was inspired by his love for old world wines when he created a concoction of rye whiskey , two vermouths: dry and sweet, mescal (the smoke source!) and bitters. Easter uses whiskey aged in wine barrels, but says that any Scotch or rye – as long as it’s not overly oaky – will do. This drink is so spirituous and spicy, it might change your life.

The ‘Autumn Fizz’ is befitting for all the hard cider junkies, which has recently become a hot little thing. Originally made with Downeast Cider’s Original Blend, the drink combines cinnamon syrup, dark rum, fresh lemon juice and hard cider dusted with allspice. The cider’s snappy effervescence blends nicely with the rum’s richness and fall spices, creating a taste that is both refreshing and cozy.

Of course, we couldn’t leave out the ‘Manhattan Cocktail.’ A popular myth suggests that the perennial classic was created in the early 1870s for a banquet held by Jennie Jerome (Winston Churchill’s mother) at New York’s Manhattan Club. Even with its innumerable variations, the ingredients are easy to attain and preparation is a breeze. Steve Schneider, a bartender in New York City’s speakeasy-themed bar, Employees Only, uses Rittenhouse Rye stirred with sweet vermouth and Grand Marnier, tasted with dashes of Angostura bitters. “It’s got enough alcohol for a kick, but the vermouth-base allows you to have several of these and not feel like you’ve been partying all night,” he says.

To work with us, to reserve whiskey, and/or request line sheets for wholesale bar or shop purchases, please reach out to us via...