Have you ever wondered when you might use bitters? What are they and what exactly do they do? Well look no further, here we will explain what bitters are, the benefits of using them and how they can elevate your cocktail experience.
What are bitters?
Bitters are a type of alcoholic beverage flavoring made from botanical ingredients such as herbs, fruits, roots, and spices. They are typically used in cocktails to add a complex and bitter flavor that balances out the sweetness of other ingredients.
Bitters are often used in classic cocktails such as the Old Fashioned, Manhattan, and Martini, but they can also be used in non-alcoholic drinks and even in cooking. They come in a wide range of flavors, from citrus and herbal to spicy and smoky, and are an essential ingredient in many bartenders' arsenals.
When to use bitters?
Use bitters to add a complex and unique flavor profile to cocktails that enhance and balance the other ingredients in the drink. Bitters can provide a subtle sweetness, while also bringing in bitter, herbal, spicy, or smoky notes that can add depth and character to a cocktail.
Bitters can help to bring out the flavors of the other ingredients in a cocktail. They can help to amplify the aromas and flavors of the base spirit, as well as the other ingredients like citrus, sugar, and vermouth. Overall, bitters are a versatile and essential ingredient in many classic cocktails and can help to elevate and balance the flavors in a drink.
Benefits of bitters in cocktails?
- Adds complexity and depth of flavor: Bitters are made from a blend of botanical ingredients that provide a unique and complex flavor profile to cocktails. Adding bitters to a cocktail can elevate the overall taste and provide a more interesting drinking experience.
- Balances sweetness: Many cocktails contain sweet ingredients like syrups or fruit juices, which can sometimes be overpowering. Bitters add a bitter and sometimes slightly sour flavor, which can balance out the sweetness of other ingredients and create a more harmonious flavor profile.
- Enhances aroma: Bitters can add a subtle aroma to cocktails, which can complement the other ingredients. For example, the herbal and citrus notes in bitters can complement the flavors of gin or tequila in a cocktail.
- Versatile: Bitters come in a wide range of flavors, from spicy and smoky to floral and fruity, making them a versatile ingredient in cocktails. They can be used to add complexity and balance to a wide range of cocktails, from classics like the Old Fashioned to modern creations.
Overall, using bitters in cocktails can enhance the flavor profile, balance sweetness, aid digestion, and provide versatility in cocktail creation.
Best cocktails to make with bitters?
There are many great cocktails that can be made with bitters, and the choice ultimately depends on personal preference. Here are a few classic cocktails that feature bitters as an essential ingredient:
- Old Fashioned: A classic cocktail made with bourbon or rye whiskey, sugar, water, and Angostura bitters. The bitters add complexity and balance to the sweetness of the sugar and the richness of the whiskey.
- Manhattan: Another classic cocktail made with whiskey (usually rye), sweet vermouth, and Angostura bitters. The bitters help to balance the sweetness of the vermouth and add complexity to the drink.
- Negroni: A bitter and refreshing cocktail made with gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari, a bitter liqueur. The bitters in the Campari provide a distinct bitterness that is balanced by the sweetness of the vermouth.
These are just a few examples of cocktails that use bitters, but there are many other creative cocktails that use bitters as well. Bitters can be a versatile ingredient and can be used to add complexity and balance to a wide range of cocktails.
The best-tasting bitters can vary depending on personal preference and the specific cocktail being made, as different bitters can complement different spirits and mixers in different ways. Now you can also use bitters in the same way to enhance your non-alcoholic cocktails. Below are a few of our favorites:
Portland Bitters Project is a small-batch bitters company based in Portland, Oregon, that produces a variety of handcrafted bitters using locally sourced ingredients. Their bitters range from classic flavors like Aromatic and Orange to more unique flavors. They also offer seasonal and limited-edition flavors.
Another favorite brand for your non-alcoholic cocktails is All The Bitter. A brand of non-alcoholic bitters that are designed to add flavor and complexity to cocktails and other drinks without the addition of alcohol.
All The Bitter are made using a blend of herbs, spices, and botanicals that are carefully chosen to create a complex and flavorful profile. Some of the ingredients used in the bitters include ginger, turmeric, gentian root, black walnut, and orange peel. These ingredients are blended together to create a concentrated extract that can be added to cocktails, mocktails, or other drinks to enhance their flavor.
All The Bitter are designed to be used in a wide range of cocktails and drinks, and can be used to add depth and complexity to everything from simple sparkling water to complex craft cocktails.
Another top favorite brand of bitters is from Hella Cocktail Co. A Brooklyn-based company that produces a range of bitters, syrups, and mixers for cocktails and other drinks. Their bitters are made using a blend of herbs, spices, and other botanicals that are carefully selected and combined to create complex and flavorful profiles.
Hella Cocktail Co offers a variety of bitters, including their flagship Aromatic Bitters, as well as Citrus, Smoked Chili, Orange, and Ginger. Each of their bitters is designed to complement specific types of spirits and mixers and can be used to create a wide range of cocktails and other drinks.
Bitters are a versatile and essential ingredient in the world of cocktails and mixology. They are made by infusing high-proof spirits with a blend of herbs, spices, and botanicals, which gives them a complex and bitter flavor profile. Bitters are used to add depth, complexity, and balance to cocktails, and are an essential ingredient in many classic drinks like the Manhattan, Old Fashioned, and Negroni.
In addition to their use in cocktails, bitters are also known to have some digestive benefits due to the presence of bitter herbs like gentian and wormwood. With a wide range of flavors and brands to choose from, bitters offer endless possibilities for creative and delicious cocktail creations.
Cheers to an elevated drinking experience!