I recently watched an episode of Drinking Made Easy where the bartender used different flavored bitters to enhance standard cocktails. I realized that I didn’t know much about the mysterious bitters and what they can add to your cocktail experience.
After a bit of research here’s what I can sum up for those of you who don’t know either.
The definition of bitters as I understand, was a common bar ingredient that was once considered a necessity in earlier times for traditional cocktails. Bitters began as a medicinal tonic and soon became a staple in home bar supply as a concentrated flavor stimulant that added a kick by only using a dash. The secret bitters formulas include a variety of herbs, fruits, spices and roos distilled in a base liquor.
At the Eden Prairie Liquor location near Cub Foods (8018 Den Road), we currently stock a brand called The Bitter Truth. They offer a Traveler’s Set of 5 different flavors in a small bottle format. We also stock larger bottles of the Celery and Creole bitters.
Tasting notes on these bitters are as follows:
CELERY BITTERS: Very complex and exotic. The initial flavor of celery is dominant, leading into a complex palate with aromas of lemongrass, orange peel and ginger.
OLD TIME AROMATIC BITTERS: Classically bitter and tangy. Combining the aromatics of cinnamon, cardamom, anise and cloves, it reminds one of gingerbread.
ORANGE BITTERS: The aroma of bitter orange peel is in the foreground, complimented by the spicy flavors of cardamom, caraway and nutmeg.
CREOLE BITTERS: The complex combination of flavors hints upon spice, bitterness and cardamon with a subtle floral finish that e vokes the flavors of Creole cuisine in New Orleans/Louisiana.
JERRY THOMAS BITTERS: Dedicated to Professor Jerry Thomas (1830-1885), who is considered to be the most famous and important bartender of the 19th century, these bitters reveal citrus and dried fruit aromas which unite with the spicy flavors of cloves, angostura bark and cinnamon.
Some recipes to use these fine bitters with are:
The Improved Brandy Cocktail
2 dashes Creole bitters
2 dashes Absinthe
10ml Simple Syrup
Stir with ice and strain into chilled glass or tumbler.
Garnish with lemon peel or olive.
Intense Bloody Mary
50ml Vodka or Gin
4 dashes Celery bitters
3 dashes Worcestershire Sauce
10ml Lemon Juice
100ml Tomato Juice
Tabasco, salt & pepper
Stir with ice and strain into a tall glass.
Garnish with your favorite bloody snacks.
Still curious for more? Try Cocktail Kingdom for more recipes and ideas.