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Bitters aren’t just for cocktails — or bartenders — anymore

on 17/07/13 at 3:33 pm

Booze News

indexBitters are big. But what exactly are bitters, and why do we care?

Two answers:

“Bitters in a cocktail do three things. It seasons, balances and flavors cocktails. In an Old-Fashioned, it’s balancing a cocktail. It’s sugar, water, bitters and spirits. Without bitters it’s not a cocktail. It’s too sweet. In a gin martini, it’s seasoning. It doesn’t impart flavor, but it pulls out flavors that were previously muted. It highlights some of the botanicals in the gin.” – Jennifer Contraveos, brand ambassador for Angostura Bitters

“They are the backbone and seasoning of a cocktail. When you think of food, if you don’t put salt or pepper other seasonings on your food it tastes flat, one-dimensional. That’s the function bitters serve in a cocktail. A dash’ll do ya.” – Scot Mattox, head bartender at Iris, creator of El Guapo Bitters

At this year’s Tales of the Cocktail, which starts Wednesday, the Octavia Books bookstore in the lobby will once again include the Bitter Market. In 2012, in its first year, the Bitter Market was a giant hit. This year, 18 bitters companies from around the world — Canada and Peru included — will be selling their products.