“Bitters” or slightly bitter taste for cocktails are sometimes considered an optional ingredient, but they can add immense taste and interest. There are several popular cocktails that require touches of bitterness, which of course may cause you to wonder what exactly the bitters are and whether it’s worth buying a whole bottle just for a touch. Of course, some bitters can also be drunk on their own. But they are powerful and are not for the weak of heart.
Bitters are an aromatic mixture of spices, herbs, roots and plants that are mixed with alcohol. When added to cocktails, bitters can give more character and depth to drinks. They can subtly change the flavor of a cocktail, give it a deeper taste and add interest to the plot. Like a pinch of cinnamon in a pie or a hint of salt to season a dish, a small amount of bitter can make a big difference.
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The history of the bitter
Bitters were first used in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries for medical purposes. Unfortunately, when tasted on their own, powerful bitters are not as pleasant to the palate as other ingredients. Some believe that people began to add soft drinks to the bitters to help the drug dissipate, and that these bitters eventually led to the creation of the cocktail, a mixture of liquors, water, sugar and bitters.
How to use it in cocktails?
Bitters are used in moderation in cocktails. While most cocktail ingredients are measured in centilitres for liquids, these bitters are sold in bottles with a spout. This means that you just have to flip them over to add a pinch of their contents.
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Most cocktail recipes are not accurate when it comes to the amount of bitter added; that’s why an experienced bartender is a necessity. However, after a little workout with the bottle of bitter at home, you will add bitter to cocktails like a pro.
After all, the preparation of cocktails is not an exact science, and experimentation can certainly be fun.
Cocktails that use bitters
An “Old Fashioned” (an ancient French method) uses aromatic bitters, while martinis can be greatly improved by adding bitter to orange.
When it comes to aromas, let free rein to your creativity and imagination. Orange and grapefruit are basic flavors, but go ahead, try berries, ginger, vanilla, lemongrass or any other flavor that interests you.
Bitters are stored in alcoholic solutions. You can opt for a non-alcoholic variety, but its shelf life will be much more limited. Higher alcohol will absorb more flavors of your spices and give bitters a more indefinite shelf life. For light bitters, use gin or vodka. For heavier bitter, use brandy, rum or whiskey.
Make your own bitters
To entertain yourself at home, there is no need to spend more than 10€ on a bottle of bitters. You can simply concoct one yourself to your advantage in your own home.
A simple recipe calls on a bitterizing agent such as wormwood, quassia or gentian. You will also add your selection of flavors of choice, and finally your alcoholic ingredient.
For those less ambitious or less chemical-oriented, bitters are relatively easy to buy online or in-store. Amazon offers a good selection, including the set of six unique bitter cocktails from the Fee Brothers. Flavors include popular fruits such as peach, orange, lemon and grapefruit, as well as mint and old-fashioned aromatic bitter.
Remember that when you buy bitter, you It is necessary to pay attention to whether they are drinking or not drinking. Drinking bitter can serve as drinks in themselves, usually after dinner, and are strong bitter who also contain alcohol. Non-drinking products such as Fee Brothers cannot be consumed alone, contain new alcohol and are used only to add flavor. Before you buy your bitters for cocktails, be sure to know what your cocktail requires and how much alcohol you can withstand.