Written by
The Drink Chef

What are Bitters?

Published on
August 8, 2022

Commonly, bitter is an alcoholic concoction that is given a bitter or poignant flavor by botanicals. Many well-known bitters companies were initially created as patent remedies, but they are today offered as digestifs, occasionally with herbal characteristics, and also as cocktail flavorings.

What Can I Find the Use of Bitters?

People utilized bitters like herbal remedies to treat illnesses like stomach aches and sea ailments throughout antiquity and up to the 18th century. Old-time physicians might employ them to treat illnesses dependent on their makeup.

Today, alcoholic beverages tend to employ bitters more frequently. Bitters are used by some of the top sommeliers and bartenders in the area to support alcoholic beverages, particularly cocktails, with a specific, distinctive flavor. Bitters may provide a new flavor to a drink rather than necessarily making malt liquors extra bitter than they might do.

What's In a Bitters Bottle?

Among the most crucial components of a cocktail are bitters. Drink recipes often only call for a few teaspoons or dashes of this flavoring since these tiny bottles provide a powerful punch of peppery, botanical flavor. Other brands also provide a wide range of tastes that can be utilized in practically any drink.

Cocktail bitters are usually produced using botanical elements, including cinchona bark, cascarilla, chamomile, gentian, fragrant herbs, and tree bark roots. Water and alcohol are often used in the manufacturing of bitters, with the latter serving as a solution for the former. Alcohol, however, enhances the taste of the components even further.

What Kinds of Drinks Can I Make with Bitters?

The basic cocktails may be created in various ways, thanks to the abundance of artisanal spirits and bitters. Here are eight fantastic, really easy cocktail recipes from bitters specialists:

  • Martini

Nowadays, you generally won't find bitters in a martini if you order one at a bar. However, the original martini was originally mixed with gin, dry vermouth, and a few drops of orange bitters in equal amounts.

The British Royal Navy Red Gin would be credited with popularizing the pink gin drink. Cover a class in bitters and add cooled gin to create it.

  • Manhattan

The traditional ingredients for the vintage brown and drunken drink are rye whiskey, simple syrup, and Angostura bitters.

  • Bitters and whiskey

That's about as straightforward a cocktail as you can make, but combining bitters with scotch over ice makes all the difference.

  • The Sawyer

The perfect bitters-heavy cocktail here is the one. It's a twist on such a gin gimlet created by bartenders Don Lee and requires 28 measures of three different bitters.

  • Old-Fashioned

The old-fashioned is the epitome of a cocktail in the traditional sense. The ingredients are whiskey, Angostura bitters, honey (or simple syrup), and a dash of vinegar or club soda.

How Many Dashes of Bitters Should I Put in A Cocktail?

Using a few dashes of bitters may significantly enhance the flavor of a cocktail. Since bitters have been a staple component in cocktails for decades, expert mixologists and bartenders know how much to use to get the desired flavor.

We wanted to assist in addressing this particular query for those unfamiliar with bitters and unsure how to utilize it. Add extra bitters to taste, between 1 and 2 dashes.

What Taste Does a Drink Get from Bitters?

There are probably hundreds of options available here. While certain tastes are difficult to categorize, most bitters fit through one of the main groups. scented bitters

With their unique take on the traditional taste profile, old-fashioned baking spices like cardamom, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger are abundant.

  • Citrus Bitters

As you would have imagined, herbs and the drying peels of bitter citrus give rich reddish bitters their richness. They have reportedly existed since at least 1862, and a renaissance has recently occurred.

  • Celery Bitters

Bitters with a celery flavor were very popular in the nineteenth century. Today's interpretations of the style change based on the recipe and might be vegetal, rustic, bright, or lemony, yet they all depend on a recognizable celery seed backbone.

  • Bitter citrus

Citrus fruits other than oranges can also be treated bitterly. There are now bitter formulations centered on grapefruit, citrus, and lime. Some types—like those produced by Hella Cocktail Co.—combine all of the ingredients above in a single, strong bottle.

  • Spiced bitters

While most bitters enable a single ingredient to prevail, most bitters have varying intensities of a range of spices. Examples include ginger bitters and cardamom bitters.

  • Floral / Herbaceous Bitters

The bitters that draw attention to herbs and florals like dandelion, clover, jasmine, and jasmine over strong peppers are on the other side of the spectrum.

  • Berry Bitters

In addition to citrus, bitters work well with berries, dried fruits to better adapt, and other products with seeds. Fruit bitters often add a noticeable richness and chime of freshness to the dish.

  • Bitter chocolate

Chocolate bitters with chocolate and cocoa infusions get along like old friends with older spirits. Rye, whiskey, Anejo tequila, and black rum are nicely complemented by the rich chestnut and coffee aromas frequently found in chocolate condiments.

  • Hot & Spicy Bitters

Spicy bitters add a pleasant, subtle heat to beverages in a regulated and consistent manner by layering dried hot peppers with distinct botanical tastes. Some of our favorites are from Bittermens, Bittercube, and Hella Bitters.

Why Do Bartenders Add Bitters to Their Cocktails?

Back in the day, bitters were often used in cocktails once they were not. Today, however, they have made a resurgence, and several manufacturers have produced and are continuing to produce excellent bitters that could be used to offer drinks that delightful edge. The following are some of the top cocktail bitters:

  1. Angostura Aromatic Bitters

Angostura bitters, the most famous beverage bitters available, are named after the Venezuelan city of Angostura (now recognized as Ciudad Bolvar).

  • Fee Brothers Cocktail Bitters

German physician Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert developed the formula for these plants.

  • Fee Brothers Cocktail Bitters

The Fee Brothers Bitters brand, initially developed in Rochester throughout the 1950s, has expanded to include one of the broadest selections of bitters. For various sorts of cocktails, it offers tastes including mint, citrus, peach, lemon, old-fashioned aromatic, and grapefruit.

  • Regans' Orange Bitters

Gary Regan is renowned for his 1990s creation, Regans' Orange Bitters. He adapted the dish from The Gentleman's Companion, published in 1939. This bitters line features several adaptable tastes, including cinnamon, fruit peel, and caraway.

  • Bar Keep Cocktail Bitters

Lavender fragrance, baked apples, and Chinese bitters are just a few of the distinct and unusual bitters tastes offered by Bar Keep Bitters.

  • Peychaud's Cocktail Bitters

The Sazerac, a traditional drink from New Orleans, contains Peychaud's regularly. This cocktail bitter has a milder flavor, a lighter body, and floral undertones. Paloma's calling.

Sign up and get free stuff

Latest News