Bitters are the unsung heroes of the craft cocktail world, imparting flavor one drop or dash at a time.
You’ve probably heard of these mysterious little bottles of aromatic botanicals, but you might not realize the importance of bitters in your favorite cocktails.
Originally developed as preventative medicines, bitters were discovered to serve another purpose by the early 19th century. A new way of preparing drinks spread across America, and in 1806, journalists began referring to the resulting concoctions as cocktails, which featured liquor, spirits, sugar, water & bitters. Over the past decade, the resurgence of classic cocktails coupled with renewed interest in mixology has brought bitters back to the forefront.
Despite the growing popularity of bitters, their secretive formulas remain shrouded in mystique, incorporating distilled herbs, spices, roots & fruits. Many bitters are classified as non-alcoholic, and their main purpose is to add a hint of flavor and depth to a wide array of mixed drinks. Some bitters are better known as liqueurs such as Campari and Averna. Other types of digestive bitters are consumed neat or with ice at the end of a meal, but digestives still haven’t taken off in America.
Whether you’re into something traditional or novel, mix things up with a custom cocktail featuring your choice of bitters.
Try 5 of our top-selling varieties:
Used in dozens of drink recipes, this legendary brand of bitters originated in Venezuela from a secret blend of tropical botanicals. No bar is complete without a bottle of Angostura.
Developed by an apothecary in 1830s New Orleans, this classic style of bitters is used in many of the world’s finest cocktails including the signature Sazerac, which helped define the direction of modern mixology.
A staple in Upstate New York since the 1950s, this ubiquitous bitter is mild and versatile, appearing in such classic cocktails as the Manhattan, Old Fashioned & Singapore Sling.
Launched in 2005, Regan’s quickly became known for producing some of the finest orange bitters around–brewed with orange zest, cardamom and a host of other herbs and spices.
Handcrafted in Seattle using organic herbs & spices, Scrappy’s was established in 2008 as a small-batch alternative to commercial bitters. Everything from the vintage-style bottling to their exotic flavors is a class act, featuring such premium varieties as cardamom and chocolate.