Trailblazers 2016: Nick Kosevich and Ira Koplowitz of Bittercube

Nick and Ira, Bittercube Bitters -- Photo courtesy of Bittercube

Nick Kosevich (left) and Ira Koplowitz // Photo courtesy Bittercube

Even if you don’t know the names Nick Kosevich and Ira Koplowitz, you’ve probably tasted their work. The fingerprints of the duo behind the bitters-making and consulting service company, Bittercube, can be spotted all across Minnesota’s spirits scene. While the company is based in Milwaukee where their bitters are hand-crafted, Kosevich lives in Minneapolis and has helped make Bittercube an omnipresent figure in the Twin Cities cocktail scene in 2016.

Kosevich and Koplowitz started Bittercube as a consulting company back in 2009 and launched their bitters in 2010. Since then, Bittercube has been taking their bitters nationally, expanding its distribution to liquor stores in over 28 states. They use all natural ingredients, like real Valencia oranges for their orange bitters, and the finest spices available to make their current line of eight bitters varieties—a fact the duo believes makes all the difference in the final drink.

In addition to bitters, Kosevich and Koplowitz, who were working at Eat Street Social in 2012 and built the bar program into the powerhouse it is today, are using their expert knowledge in craft cocktails to build the bar programs for restaurants and bars in Minnesota and around the country. In June of this year, they had consulted on 20 different projects around the U.S. and had 13 open contracts.

Related Post – Craft Cocktail: Knives Out at Lawless Distilling

Locally, Bittercube’s influence can be seen at several establishments where Kosevich and Koplowitz crafted the cocktail menus and trained the staff. But these aren’t just the same copy-and-paste menus—Bittercube customizes each cocktail to fit the atmosphere of a place. At Scena (now closed), they created a martini-laden menu that boasted the second largest gin list in the country. At Lawless Distilling, which opened in June, the menu is full of light-hearted drinks, like crocktails—cocktails served in a Crock-Pot. At the newly-opened Cafe Alma, the winter seasonal cocktail list features ingredients such as squash-infused rum, walnut orgeat, and douglas fir eau de vie, and perfectly reflects the restaurant’s philosophy of cooking according to the season.

With seemingly endless originality, Kosevich and Koplowitz are a major force driving the craft cocktail scene forward in Minnesota.

Our mission at The Growler is to tell stories that inspire progress in local food, drink, and culture. And in that spirit as part of our 2016 Kind-Of-A-Big-Deal Issue, we felt the need to point out 25 people, ideas, businesses, and organizations who have done necessary, important, and groundbreaking work in 2016. See the rest of our 2016 Trailblazers here.

About Brian Kaufenberg

Brian Kaufenberg is the editor-in-chief of The Growler Magazine.

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