Over the past couple years I have developed a love for and collection of bitters. Recently, I’ve been experimenting with creating my own cocktail recipes and often find myself turning to bitters as my “secret ingredient.”
I love bitters mainly because they can really liven up a cocktail since they add that little bit of unidentifiable special something. But, they can also be used in non-alcoholic drinks and even in cooking (or so I understand, though I personally haven’t tried it yet). I primarily use bitters for cocktails, but I am working on expanding my horizons and if you don’t use bitters yet, I suggest giving them a try!
My favorite types of bitters and uses for them are as follows (in order of frequency of use)…
Angostura Bitters – the classic original bitters that can be used in an Old Fashioned, Manhattan, Whiskey Sour or a number of other classic cocktails.
Orange Bitters – a modified form of classic bitters, perfect for the jazzed up Old Fashioned or Manhattan.
Rhubarb Bitters – they smell like bubblegum and are great in an Old Fashioned.
Plum Bitters – like Rhubarb Bitters, they smell sweet and will have people asking you what you put in your cocktail.
Chocolate Bitters – use in a dry (light vermouth) vodka martini.
Grapefruit Bitters – thus far I’ve only used them in the Bronze Derby cocktail, but I’m sure that they would go well with any grapefruit based cocktail, like a Paloma, to add an extra burst of flavor.
Lemon Bitters – I add them to a whiskey and ginger ale cocktail, but they also go well in plain old coca cola.
Celery Bitters – the secret ingredient in my Bloody Mary, but I haven’t found many other uses.