At this time of the year, as soon as the sun starts to promise a few warmer rays of sunshine, we get hit with yet another cold front. This winter send-off seems to surprise us each year – arriving when you least expect it. Instead of complaining this year, let’s celebrate our last cold front (or two) of the season in style. Besides, the only time you can make a great winter cocktail is in winter, of course! And there’s nothing that says winter quite like a few drops of bitters. You know you’ve heard the term ‘bitters’ in the bar lingo, you may even make a suggestive nod when someone asks if you’d like some in your G&T – but do you know exactly what they are?
What are Bitters?
Bitters are made up of a combination of liquid extractions from seeds, herbs, bark, roots, flowers, leaves and the fruit of various plants – dissolved in alcohol. These ingredients are blended together, ground up and sieved. Finally, the ingredients undergo cold percolation from cylindrical canisters into one of several tanks that get filled with 190 proof sugar-based distillate. After percolating, the liquid is transferred to enormous stainless-steel tanks, mixed with sugar and caramel colouring, and cut down to proof with local spring water. It then rests for around three months until all the flavours have fully integrated and mellowed.
This process is only amplified by the ingredients that are chosen. This is why Bitters experts like the founders of Angostura Bitters, knew only the best ingredients sourced from around the world would do. Their art of perfect bitters is so closely guarded, that only five people in this world know the recipe. Thankfully, you can still buy your own Angostura Bitters from the shops and stir up a great cocktail – with all the extra benefits.
Why use Bitters?
Angostura Bitters are known as the essential cocktail ingredient, and if you understand the term essential, you’ll know you just can’t make a great cocktail without it. But we bet you didn’t think you could add bitters to food too! Bitters are known to enhance flavours of all kinds, so whether you’re shaking up a cocktail or mixing up a dish, this ingredient will do the trick. You could even host an event with an Angostura Bitters theme, incorporated in all the food and drinks. Check out the House of Angostura on Facebook for recipes.
While we love our winter Bitters cocktails, Bitters can also make a refreshing summer drink. It enhances the top notes of light cocktails without masking the true personality of the spirit, and in other cocktails, it adds a subtle unique taste regardless of the spirits used. It soothes the acidity in citrus-based cocktails and adds depth to creamy creations. It mellows out the aged notes in heavy rums, smooths dried aged whiskies, matures a Manhattan, rounds off the taste in beer and marries well with pink gin and vermouth. And speaking of cocktails, check out some Bitters inspiration below.
“Bits”piration: Angostura Bitters cocktails to try for the remainder of Winter
These Angostura Bitters cocktails are prefered favourites of the suave #ThirstyBarman – you’ll often see them dripping the delightful drops into our bespoke cocktails at events.
Whole Egg Flip:
Glass: Classic wine glass
– 25ml Angostura aromatic bitters
– 25ml rum
– 25ml medium cream port
– 15ml rich salted syrup
– 1 whole egg
– Garnish: Nutmeg grate
Add all ingredients to a shaker with lots of ice, shake and double strain into chilled glass.
Glass: Rocks tumbler
– 50ml bourbon
– 10ml demerara syrup
– 4 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters
– Garnish: Fresh orange zest
Add all ingredients to glass, add ice and stir to dilution, top with ice and garnish
Classic Champagne Cocktail:
Glass: Classic Coupe
– 1 sugar cube
– 4 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters
– 25ml brandy (pot still)
– Brut MCC
– Garnish: Cherry
Place sugar cube in the bottom of the glass, dose with bitters and press, add chilled brandy and sparkling wine. Stir gently – garnish and serve.
For more recipes, you can visit the website, or check out the incredible app!
Hosting a Bitter cold event?
After feeling the “bits”piration, you may want your next winter event to be all things bitters. Let our thirsty barmen know, and we’ll tend to the bar, while you enjoy the last bit of a bitterly cold winter.