Jump to content
ramblinman

Lets Talk Bitters

Recommended Posts

ramblinman

Decided to browse a bit through the forum and noticed there hasn't been a general bitters thread for at least a few years, and maybe ever.

That, combined with the spring/summer cocktail season here seems like as good a reason as any to start a new thread.

Me, I'm pretty conservative and only have a few on hand, but with the explosion of brands popping up (seriously, they're like vodka distillers were a few years ago) all the more reason to have a discussion about the quality ones.

I'm a traditionalist, always having a bottle of Angustura armomatic on hand, along with Peychauds. I've got a bottle of both Angustura and Fee Brothers orange bitters too but both go mostly unused, a little too much of an overly artificial one note flavor with both of them. Both were disappointing purchases when trying to find something to duplicate the flavor of Stirrings Blood Orange "bitters" without all the added sugar.

In general I've found the Fee Brothers stuff that I've tasted don't do much for me, and come across as a bit "chemically" across the board, but maybe thats just me.

Just recently I grabbed a bottle of Bitter Truth aromatic to try alongside Angustura, and having had a few old fashioneds with it I'm impressed. I like the way the anise notes really come out with a lot of brightness and not as muddied as the Angustura.

Either way, whats your favorite bitters to keep on hand and what do you use them for? Anything out of the ordinary, like the celery bitters I keep seeing pop up in cocktails conversations?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TunnelTiger

Locally all I have available is the Fee Brothers. Have contemplated trying others by purchasing on Amazon and your post probably has pushed me to do that today.

I'm one that uses the celery in my Bloody Marys and I like it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

I like the Agno orange, but it is very concentrated and should be used very sparingly.

As far as Fees go I tend avoid their products, most are made with artificial flavour, doesnt sit well with me.

I have used a few of the Bitter Truth range and think theyre pretty good, I use the grapefruit and chocolate bitters regularly.

Gotta agree, celery bitters in a bloody mary is great, again its bitter truth for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
nd2005

I've tried more than a few different brands and almost always come back to the same few standbys...

I think the Fee barrel-aged orange bitters are actually quite good and very different than their normal orange bitters. I would agree that their other offerings have a sort of artificial/chemically taste. Their cherry bitters in particular are terrible, imo.

Also not a huge fan of "scrappy's" brand.

Bitter truth's offerings are all great. Their creole is similar to a Peychaud's. Their orange bitters are my favorite orange bitters out there.

I end up keeping a bottle of angostura, a bottle of Bitter Truth Orange, and a bottle of Peychaud's around. Plus whatever other thing I've tried recently and don't like as much - those bottles tend to linger for quite a long time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tanstaafl2

Regan's orange is another regular staple for me. I like a combination of Ango orange and Regan's orange in drinks that call for orange bitters. Bittermen's Xocolatl is a frequent addition in tequila/mescal based drinks and a few others. Boker's is my go to for a Martinez. Other than the barrel aged versions I tend not to use the various Fee bros bitters I have. Most are not primarily alcohol based but instead use glycerin. Not sure I could tell them apart in a blind taste test but I just tend to prefer those that use alcohol for extraction of the flavor. Peychaud's (or a creole bitter of some sort but I prefer the original) is of course mandatory.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Harry in WashDC

In order of use: Angostura (but not the "salt-free" I was given), Peychaud's, Regan's Orange, any of the Bitter Truth (although the celery was so good I stopped looking and the Jerry Thomas is fun to experiment with), and Fee Bros. Walnut. I have several others in the cabinet (not too many more) but don't use them much.

Tried making some but don't have the patience to (a) collect ingredients then (B) put the ingredients together then © do what needs to be done to prepare them for (d) divvying up in small containers. I don't use enough bitters to justify even 6 oz.'s worth of any one flavor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
nd2005

Tried making some but don't have the patience to (a) collect ingredients then (B) put the ingredients together then © do what needs to be done to prepare them for (d) divvying up in small containers. I don't use enough bitters to justify even 6 oz.'s worth of any one flavor.

I got a make your own bitters set for Christmas this year. It was a cool gift idea but now I have like 12 oz of mediocre bitters I don't know what to do with...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Harry in WashDC
I got a make your own bitters set for Christmas this year. It was a cool gift idea but now I have like 12 oz of mediocre bitters I don't know what to do with...

Maybe your homemade bitters, when mixed with my homemade bitters, would be better bitters. Know anybody who'd like 24 oz. of mixed bitters with an indeterminate taste? I can't even put mine on our compost pile - I don't think they'll break down, and I'm afraid they'd hurt the good nematodes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
kjbeggs

Currently, I've got:

Angostura

Peychaud's

Stirrings Blood Orange

Woodford Sassafras & Sorghum (really dig these)

Fee- Grapefruit, Black Walnut, Cherry, & Aztec Chocolate.

The Angostura gets used the most of course, but i do like to experiment with the Fee flavors.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tanstaafl2
The only three cocktail bitters I use are Angostura, Peychaud's, and Regans' Orange. I would also use Boker's if I had a cocktail that called for some.

I prefer my bitters traditional. I know there exists a multitude of flavors on the market now, but honestly I think it's overkill. A well-crafted cocktail doesn't need esoteric ingredients or fancy techniques. Making a cocktail a uniquely pleasurable experience is as simple as using quality components and mixing them in the correct proportions.

You want an excuse to use Boker's then the Martinez is the perfect candidate. Not a whiskey cocktail but very good just the same. My favorite combination is:

2 oz Ransom Old Tom gin

1 oz Carpano Antica

1 tsp Luxardo marschino

1 dash Boker's bitters

The believe the original called for equal amounts of vermouth and Old Tom style gin but I prefer this ratio. The Ransom and Carpano seems to work really well together but use a light hand with the Luxardo!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tanstaafl2

http://www.thebostonshaker.com/shop/bokers-bitters-by-adam-elmegirab/dp/1180

Thanks for the recipe, tanstaafl2. It's obvious you know your way around a good cocktail.

Did you purchase your Boker's bitters from Dr. Adam Elmegirab's website?

Atlanta has a few places with decent selections. Not many but some.

The Elmigrab website is an option. I think the Boston Shaker website sometimes has it as well. Have even seen it on Amazon. They are spendy though!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...