Bitters pack a delicious punch. Which are the best?

on 17/05/13 at 2:35 pm

Booze News

38-bitters1-TPIf you happen to have visited a cocktail bar recently, you might have noticed that the forest of spirits has been augmented by a sapling colony of much smaller bottles, often decorated with ornate, old-fashioned labels. These are cocktail bitters, customarily added in minute quantities – usually a drop or two – but making a disproportionate contribution in terms of flavour and aftertaste. In the past year or two, such potent tinctures have become must-have ingredients for top-end bartenders.

Lee Potter Cavanagh, group bars manager at Hix Restaurants, recommends starting with three of them. “If you’re interested in cocktails, you should first go for the traditional aromatic bitters, Angostura and Peychaud’s, plus one of the orange bitters. After that, you can go crazy.”

New kids on the bar include Bitter Truth from Munich, Bitter End from Santa Fe, Dr Adam Elmegirab’s Bitters from Aberdeen, Bittermens from New Orleans and Bob’s Bitters, made in London but bearing a Kiwi on the label. Leading mixologists Gary Regan and Dale DeGroff are marketing their own-name brands. The boom has even generated an informative guide. Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All by Brad Thomas Parsons, which gives details on how to make your own, including rhubarb, peach and, for the adventurous, charred cedar.

 

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