Five By Five

Here at the Synthesis we value our hard working innovators, entrepreneurs, and creative go-getters. Chico is full of people putting themselves out there, and we’ve created a space to highlight these amazing Makers.

This week, we’re featuring Five by Five Tonics, by Jesse Smith

Jesse is a trained herbalist and cocktail connoisseur. He developed Five by Five tonics because there weren’t many local bitters producers, and there weren’t many that were coming from a handcrafted background. He felt like there was a lot of room for a local producer, and with his herbalist training it was a perfect fit.

“Traditionally bitters were used in cocktails to mask unwanted flavors from bootleg and low quality spirits. Traditional bitters recipes still come from that era. Modern bitters should serve the function of enhancing the flavors of modern craft spirits in cocktails,” says Jesse. He goes on to say, “Choosing quality spirits doesn’t always mean looking for the highest price. Quality spirits, in my opinion, come from smaller distillers who brew, ferment, and distill in small-batch fashion. The same goes for choosing brands of mixers and bitters. The small batch process often lends itself to a higher degree of quality.”

Jesse has given us a couple of recipes to play with and his tonics make a really elegant gift for a discerning palate. You can find Five by Five Tonics locally at Zucchini & Vine or Chico Natural Foods.


Manhattan in Winter
2 oz. rye whiskey
1 oz. Chai Infused Sweet Vermouth (see recipe below)
1 dash aromatic bitters
Stir and serve up in a cocktail glass, garnish with an orange peel with two cloves pierced in it.

Chai Infused Sweet Vermouth
Place one cup of sweet vermouth in a mason jar and add 1 teaspoon of loose leaf chai (I prefer Chico Chai Original Blend) and allow to infuse for 2 hours at room temperature. Strain when ready.

Northern Old Fashioned
2 oz rye whiskey
½ oz. maple syrup
2 dashes aged citrus bitters
Garnish with an anise pod or a candied orange peel

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