Bitters

Bitters

This is alcohol that's been heavily flavored with herbs, peels, bark, spices, and bitter-tasting roots. Many brands were developed in the 1800s as elixirs that were supposed to cure indigestion, jaundice, and a variety of other ailments. Due to these "medicinal" properties, bitters allowed drinkers to avoid both liquor taxes and social stigma. The FDA put a stop to the medicinal claims in the early 1900s, and bitters quickly fell out of favor, except for a brief comeback during Prohibition.


Today, bitters are used to flavor cocktails, coffee, and various dishes. Don't add more than a dash or two--bitters can easily overpower other flavors.


Bitter spirits are also called bitters, but they're not as intensely flavored.


To get substitutions for bitters in general, click here.

Angostura® bitters
Angostura® bitters
This famous rum-based brand of bitters was first developed in the 1800s by Simon Bolivar's personal physician. It's 45% alcohol, and comes in small brown bottles with yellow caps. It's now produced in Trinidad.
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orange bitters
orange bitters
Orange bitters is made from sour orange peels. Popular brands include Angostura and Fee. A dash or two will perk up your martini, barbecue sauce, chocolate dessert, and seafood.
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Peychaud's bitters
Peychaud's bitters
This is a brand of bitters that's a bit hard to find outside of New Orleans. It's sweeter than Angostura bitters, and has more of an anise flavor.
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Pommeranzen bitters
This orange-flavored bitters is made in the Netherlands and Germany. It comes in red and green versions.
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