Instant Expert: Drinks Are Better with Bitters

Handmade Etched Bitters Bottle Photo: LibationLab / Etsy

Believe it or not, Ryan Gosling turned me on to bitters. Okay, technically it was his character Jacob in Crazy, Stupid, Love – remember that scene when he tries to woo Emma Stone with those fancy-looking cocktails? I watched that and immediately wondered what where those interesting-looking drops he used. Now those drops — bitters — seem to be turning up everywhere. At least, everyone is starting to take notice, even though they have been around for, oh, hundreds of years and perhaps even date as far back as thousands of years ago to Egyptian times.

So what are bitters? They’re a concentrated type of alcohol infused with plant extracts like herbs and spices. They can be flavored using a ton of different ingredients – think grapefruit, ginger and even chocolate.

How much should I use? Bitters are strong … like super strong. A couple of drops should be enough to add some kick to your cocktails.

What can I add them to? Bitters can be added to a ton of different mixed drinks like this Rose Pomegranate Martini, and you’ll need to add them to the classics like an Old Fashioned. You can even add ’em to a glass of champagne or other fizzy drinks like a bellini for a little extra bite.

Where can I buy bitters? Sometimes you’ll find them in liquor stores, sometimes you’ll even spot them in supermarkets. You can always find them online, including this popular brand, Angostura. Specialty shops like The Meadow will wow you with their unique selection of bitters, too.

Psst … With the coolest looking labels, bitters will look great in your home bar. For a personal touch, pour your store-bought bitters into the etched glass bottle pictured above. Get it on Etsy here.


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