The One Ingredient That is Secretly in Many of the Cocktails You Drink

The Secret Ingredient in Your Cocktails: Bitters

Updated Apr 13, 2023

Discover the secret ingredient that is in many of the cocktails you drink – bitters! Learn about the history and flavors of bitters and how they can add depth and complexity to your favorite drinks. Whether you’re a seasoned mixologist or just starting to explore the world of cocktails, bitters are a must-have ingredient. Find out more about cocktail bitters in this post.

cocktail bitters

The History of Cocktail Bitters

You may not realize it, but there’s a secret ingredient in many of the cocktails you drink. It’s a small bottle that sits on the back shelf of the bar, often overlooked and underappreciated. That secret ingredient is cocktail bitters.

Bitters have a long and fascinating history. They were originally created as medicinal tonics in the 19th century, designed to aid digestion and settle upset stomachs. Over time, they became a popular addition to cocktails, helping to balance out the sweetness of sugar and the acidity of citrus.

What are Bitters?

So what exactly are bitters? They are typically made by steeping a variety of botanicals in a high-proof spirit, such as whiskey or vodka. Some common ingredients include gentian root, quinine, wormwood, and various fruits, spices, and herbs. The resulting mixture is then filtered and bottled, creating a potent elixir that can add depth and complexity to a cocktail.


Different Types of Cocktail Bitters

You may be familiar with some of the most common types of bitters, such as Angostura and Peychaud’s. But there are dozens of other varieties out there, each with its own unique flavor profile. For example, orange bitters can add a bright, citrusy note to a drink, while chocolate bitters can lend a rich, decadent flavor. There are also savory bitters, such as celery or black pepper, which can add a unique twist to a cocktail.

Why Bitters are Important in Cocktails

So why are bitters so important in cocktails? For one, they can help balance out the sweetness of sugar and the acidity of citrus. A few drops of bitters can help round out the flavor of a drink, making it more complex and interesting. Bitters can also add depth and richness to a cocktail, making it feel more substantial and satisfying.

cocktail bitters

Using Bitters in Cocktails

Bitters can be used in a wide variety of cocktails, from classic drinks like the Old Fashioned and Manhattan to modern creations like the Negroni and the Whiskey Sour. They can also be used to create unique and unexpected flavor combinations, such as in the Beetroot Margarita or the Chamomile and Honey Daiquiri.

Tips for Using Cocktail Bitters

If you’re interested in trying out bitters in your own cocktails, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, start with a small amount – just a few drops can go a long way. You can always add more if needed. Second, experiment with different flavors and combinations to find what works best for you. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask your bartender for recommendations – they may have a secret stash of bitters behind the bar that they’re dying to share with you.

In conclusion, bitters are a secret ingredient that can add depth, complexity, and balance to your favorite cocktails. Whether you’re a seasoned cocktail aficionado or just starting to explore the world of mixology, bitters are a must-have ingredient in your home bar. So the next time you order a cocktail, take a closer look at the ingredients. You may be surprised to find that bitters are a key component. And if you’re feeling adventurous, ask your bartender to recommend a new flavor to try. Who knows, you may discover a new favorite cocktail.


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