This recipe adds a hefty dose of bitters to London dry gin, making for richer, spicier take on the classic Pink Gin.
'bitters' on Serious Eats
Lime leaves pierce through the perfumy nature of Meyer lemons with a sharp punch, while bitter orange, fennel, and spices create earthy undertones for balance.
The exotic combination of chile and chocolate in these mole bitters is a perfect addition to cocktails made with tequila, mezcal, or dark rum.
Grapefruit bitters do double duty, giving a cocktail a little citrus lift along with the bitterness. These bitters go especially well with effervescent drinks or tequila and gin cocktails.
Swapping in cherry bitters for Angostura bitters can give your cocktails a subtle yet delightful boost, adding a hint of fruit while still delivering the bitterness your drink needs. The best part about making your own is you can customize your bitters to your cocktailing needs.
Celery bitters are a long-forgotten cocktail ingredient that add a nice savory boost to martinis, gin and tonics, Bloody Marys, and other cocktails.
This cocktail from Theo Lieberman of Lantern's Keep and Milk & Honey in NYC has a heavy pour of Angostura bitters in it, but that doesn't make it bitter. The spice is balanced with bright fruit and rich almond from housemade orgeat.
Bar manager Alex Bachman's delicious, spirit-forward rendition of an Old Fashioned features a house-made barrel-aged stone fruit bitters. Bachman emphasizes the importance of aging the bitters in a used American oak barrel, which can be difficult to source. He either uses seasoned casks from Willett or the distillery's smaller 20-liter new oak barrels, which he then seasons with grain neutral spirit to remove primary wood tannin. Do not use new oak, he notes, as the wood tannins will overwhelm subtler flavors.
Just a drop or two of orange bitters can add the right depth to your cocktail or bridge together ingredients that aren't quite living up to their mixological potential. Deep, citrusy, spicy, complex orange bitters are an essential part of so many balanced cocktails. The beauty of DIY bitters is unleashing your creativity and crafting bitters that you can't find anywhere else. I emphasized anise, but you could just as easily play up the cloves or add cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, or ginger for a whole new flavor profile.
In this autumnal cocktail from Brian Block of Aldea in NYC, calvados pairs wonderfully with chai-infused sweet vermouth and apple cider foam.
This cocktail from The Country Cat in Portland, Oregon, has everything you need at brunch, and more: grapefruit-infused gin, elderflower liqueur, rhubarb bitters and sparkling wine.
These Krangostura Bitters, a loose play on the quintessential Angostura brand, are brimming with clove and cardamom and supported by a backbone of gentian root and cinchona bark. Try them in your next Manhattan or Old Fashioned and branch out from there.
Here's a brandy-based classic that dates to at least 1930: the Bombay Cocktail. I first tasted this drink several months ago at Bar Agricole in San Francisco. Medium-bodied and full of flavor without coming on too aggressive, the Bombay Cocktail offers a glimpse at another time, when brandy was one of the regents of the cocktail kingdom.
In general, bourbon tends to work best in cocktails when its flavor can stand front and center, lightly adorned by trace amounts of other ingredients. Here's a drink that fits the bill: the Appetizer No. 4.
Credited to Philadelphia bartender Colin Shearn of Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co., the Restraining Order is based on the mellow, vegetal character of reposado tequila. Shearn complements the tequila with a dose of Aperol, a bright, low-alcohol aperitif liqueur with a potent, complex flavor dominated by bitter oranges and rhubarb. Accented with several dashes of celery bitters and a big squeeze of orange peel atop the finished cocktail, the drink has a powerful pop of herbaceous flavor and a delicate, nuanced balance.
The Oaxaca Old Fashioned takes one of the greatest drinks in the mixological canon and gives it a south-of-the-border spin with reposado tequila and mezcal. Rich, smoky and spicy, this is an exceptional adaptation of a venerable classic.
Once a regular drink at the Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Adonis was named for a popular 1884 musical that was the Mamma Mia of its era. A simple combination of dry sherry and sweet vermouth, the Adonis is a great introduction to the realm of aperitif cocktails.
Let's start the weekend right—with a cocktail recipe from Paul Clarke. The Cap Haitien Rum & Honey is about as easy to prepare as it sounds: Barbancourt rum, honey, and one or two dashes Angostura bitters.
The Pegu Club is a remarkable and deceptive cocktail. Seemingly a simple mix of gin, lime juice, and orange curaçao, the drink has a flavor that is given robust depth by the addition of two styles of bitters. Rich, tart, and crisp at the same time, the Pegu Club has enamored countless cocktail geeks over the past decade--and while there are several recipes for this drink floating around, they're all variations on the same theme.
Dating to at least 1930, Satan's Whiskers is actually relatively modest in firepower, perfect for celebrating a festive evening without making it an early night. Gin is mixed with equal parts sweet and dry vermouth and fresh orange juice, and the mixture is given crisp depth by adding orange bitters and the gentle sweetness of orange liqueur. This last point results in two versions of the cocktail: the curled version, which uses orange curacao for the liqueur; the straight version employs Grand Marnier.