Bitters - what are they?

Bitters are small bottles of spirits infused with botanicals (herbs and spices) that are used to flavor cocktails. In other words, Bitters are made by infusing a neutral spirit with any number of aromatics (botanicals), such as herbs, spices, roots, fruits, flowers, tree bark, and seeds. The alochol acts as a solvent for the botanicals, as well as a preservative (similar to why grandma used to drink from the vanilla extract bottle!).

Where did the word bitters come from?

The simple version is that the word bitters comes from the Old English word biter "having a harsh taste, sharp, cutting; angry, cruel", as well as some German words.

Why use bitters?

Often times, cocktails contain sour and sweet flavors, bitters are used to stimulate other taste buds to balance out the drink giving it a more complete flavor profile

What are Angostura bitters?

Angostura bitters are the most popular type of cocktail bitters, manufactured by the House of Angostura in Trinidad and Tobago. The bottle is easy to recognize with its oversized white label.

What are Peychaud’s bitters?

Peychaud’s bitters are cocktail bitters most popularly known for their inclusion in the Sazerac cocktail, the official drink of New Orleans. Peychaud’s bitters were invented in the 1830’s by a apothecary in New Orleans named Antoine Peychaud. The brand is now distributed by the Sazerac Company.

What is the difference between Peychaud’s bitters and Angostura bitters?

The Peychaud's is sweeter than Angostura, with hints of anise and mint.

Where To Find Bitters

Bitters contain alcohol, but it is considered no-alcoholic. Because of this, liquor stores in New York State do not sell them. But, you can buy bitters in a grocery store, and because they are non-alocholic, you can give that errand to your teenager that promised to do errands when they got their license.

Although bitters may not be located all together at the grocery store, usually you can find the bitters near the essential oils section. (Essential oils are used to make bitters!)

You can also buy Bitters at Amazon (affiliate link)!