Orange bitters are basically my cocktail Superman. When I've screwed up a drink by making it too sweet or gotten so close to perfection only to end up with something flat-tasting, orange bitters have swooped in to save the day. Just a drop or two can add the right depth or bridge together ingredients that aren't quite living up to their mixological potential. But orange bitters are so much more than a way to fix a bad drink—they're an essential part of so many balanced cocktails because of their deep, citrusy, spicy, and complex flavor.
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Instead of using sweet vermouth in this variation of the Martinez, a combination of Manzanilla and Pedro Ximenez sherry maintains a comparable level of sweetness when mixed with maraschino liqueur. A subtle orange flavor brightens this savory fall cocktail from Aldea in NYC.
This brunch drink is based on the café Borgia, which is the first coffee drink I ever tried. Espresso, chocolate, steamed milk and orange zest: I was hooked. This grownup version is made with chilled Stumptown coffee, homemade coffee liqueur, a little chocolate liqueur, a dash of orange bitters, and topped with frothed milk.
There are few recipes in cocktail-dom that inspire as much zealotry as that of the Martini. But before you sharpen your keyboard to type out "heresy!" for other versions of the drink, keep one thing in mind: the Martini is way more flexible than you might think.
The drink was suggested to me by Eric Alperin from The Varnish in Los Angeles--it has a suave potency of flavor and rightly demonstrates gin's appealing qualities. Not that a good gin needs any help in the lovability department.