Using Bitters in Cocktails


If you’ve ever been to a fancy cocktail bar, you’ve probably noticed that they have a collection of antique-looking bottles on display.  These may look like some kind of 19th century medicine ampules, but they are actually cocktail bitters.

What Are Cocktail Bitters?

Cocktail bitters are a type of alcoholic ingredient combined with herbal ingredients such as seeds, herbs, roots, flowers, and leaves among others. They provide a bittersweet flavor to traditional cocktail drinks.

Several well-known brands of bitters were traditionally sold for medicinal purposes. Today, they are mainly sold as cocktail ingredients and digestive bitters.

Cocktail Bitters vs Digestive Bitters

What’s the difference between cocktail bitters and digestive bitters? Cocktail bitters are often used to enhance the flavor of cocktails.

Digestive bitters, on the other hand, are said to help relieve digestion problems, such as bloating, heartburn, and nausea.  They are believed to maintain healthy skin and liver, too.


What’s in Cocktail Bitters? Why Add Bitters to a drink?

Cocktail bitters contain water, alcohol, and a range of botanical ingredients.  Alcohol dilutes the herbal extracts and also acts as its preservative.

Bitters add spice to cocktails. Not only because bitters are literally made up of spices such as roots and barks, but also because it complements the main ingredients of the cocktail and enriches its flavor.

The intensity of the flavor, however, differs widely among various brands of bitters.

Best Cocktails with Bitters

Bitters give your plain cocktails a boost, which can heighten your overall drinking experience. Some cocktails that are best with bitters include classic bourbon mixes such as Old Fashioned and Manhattan. Bitters are also great with rum and ginger beer for a refreshing summertime cocktail.

Whatever cocktail concoction you fancy, you can be sure that there are specific bitters to make your drinks more flavorful and delightful.

How Do I Add Cocktail to Bitters?

Usually just a drop or two of bitters is enough to bring out the flavor and aroma of the liquid.

For instance, to create a superb whiskey concoction, mix a tiny amount of bitter with sugar and water. Add ice on top of the mixture for a sure-fire way to ignite your senses.

What Are the Other Uses of Bitters Besides Cocktails?

Bitters are not just great for adding flavor to classic drinks, they can add some serious oomph to your cooking and baking as well. Moreover, there are more creative uses for bitters aside from mixing cocktails. For instance, try putting in few drops of orange bitters to your favorite recipes for the ultimate treat.


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