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What are bitters?

An ingredient in many classic cocktail recipes, bitters are an essential for every home bar. Adding just a dash of bitters to a cocktail brings all of the drink’s elements together, creating a more complete, and compelling, drinking experience. But bitters are an ingredient of many talents. 

Some craft cocktail recipes call for them as a garnish, an aromatic welcome to the drink. Because of their herbal components, they are often served in soda water as a digestive aid. 

To make bitters, small batch producers steep and macerate large collections of ingredients in water and alcohol – yes, most bitters have alcohol in them. All sorts of ingredients are used to flavor cocktail bitters. Some producers use blends of herbs, others opt for citrus or spicy peppers. Our collection of cocktail bitters contains everything from classic aromatic and orange bitters to eucalyptus and Mexican Chocolate bitters.

What are popular types of bitters?

Cocktail recipes will generally call for one of two types of bitters:

  • Aromatic Bitters
  • Orange Bitters

Aromatic Bitters – When it comes to cocktail bitters, aromatic bitters are typically the ones that jump to people’s minds. If there’s ever a recipe calling for Angostura Bitters, any aromatic bitters will fit the bill. Generally flavored with Gentian root, herbs and spices, aromatic bitters are filled with warm flavors, and are most popularly used in cocktails like an Old Fashioned or Manhattan.

Orange Bitters – Unlike their aromatic counterparts, there’s very little that is actually bitter about orange bitters. Generally, orange bitters are made using Seville oranges and a combination of other herbs, spices, and ingredients. Thanks to the craft cocktail movement, orange bitters are seeing a resurgence for their ability to give drinks a bright, tart punch.

What are popular drinks with bitters?

There are cocktail recipes across the spectrum that call for bitters, and they will elevate just about every glass they grace. But here are some of the most popular drinks that call for bitters. 

Old Fashioned – Bitters for an Old Fashioned are a must. Muddling the bitters with the sugar cube lays a complex, sweet foundation that enhances the natural sweetness in the bourbon of your choosing.

Manhattan – In a Manhattan, the cocktail bitters marry the spicy tones of the traditionally used rye whiskey and the sweet red vermouth. Aromatic bitters is the glue that holds a Manhattan together.

Sazerac – Like the bitters for an Old Fashioned, bitters in a Sazerac are muddled along with the sugar cube. It creates a baseline sweetness that highlights tones in the rye whiskey, and helps the drink stand up to the absinthe wash in the glass.