What are Bitters?
Bitters are not typically consumed on their own as a standalone drink but are rather used as flavoring agents in cocktails and mixed drinks. They are highly concentrated, aromatic liquids that are infused with a variety of herbs, spices, roots, and other botanical ingredients.
Bitters are used in small amounts to add complexity, depth, and balance to cocktails by imparting a specific flavor profile and enhancing the overall taste experience. They can have a range of flavors, from bitter to sweet and everything in between, and are often used to complement and enhance the flavors of other ingredients in a cocktail.
Some well-known types of bitters include:
- Angostura Bitters: Perhaps the most famous and widely used type of bitters, Angostura bitters originated in Venezuela and are known for their distinctive flavor, which includes notes of spices, citrus, and a strong bitter element. They are a key ingredient in many classic cocktails like the Old Fashioned and the Manhattan.
- Orange Bitters: These bitters are infused with orange peel and other botanicals, providing a citrusy and slightly bitter flavor. They are often used in cocktails that require a hint of orange essence.
- Aromatic Bitters: This category includes bitters that are generally used to add depth and complexity to cocktails. They can vary widely in flavor, incorporating a blend of spices and herbs.
- Herbal Bitters: These bitters emphasize the flavors of various herbs and can be used to add an earthy, herbaceous element to cocktails.
- Fruit Bitters: These bitters are infused with the essence of specific fruits, adding a fruity and sometimes slightly tart flavor to cocktails.
It’s important to note that bitters are quite strong in flavor, so they are usually used in dashes or drops, depending on the recipe. They play a vital role in the world of mixology, allowing bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts to craft drinks with a diverse range of flavors and aromas.