If bitters are seasoning for cocktails, old standbys Angostura and Peychaud’s are like salt and pepper.
But there’s now a whole mixological spice rack at your disposal, stocked with a wide variety of new artisanal products in an amazing range of flavors. In just the year and a half since our last story about the historic ingredient, there’s been a bitters boom.
There are a number of upstarts, such as the fresh produce-driven Brooklyn Hemispherical Bitters. Launched in September by bartender Mark Buettler and writer/photographer Jason Rowan, the potent concoctions come in seasonal varieties like rhubarb, peach and apple.
Bittercube, a partnership between two veteran Midwestern barmen, has been selling its tinctures for just a bit longer. Besides the popular blackstrap, with molasses and clove notes, and the cherry bark vanilla, with a nice fruit-and-chocolate tone, look out for a couple limited editions coming in the next few months.
And the seriously spicy The Bitter End from Santa Fe, N.M., just celebrated its one-year anniversary. Its creator, Bill York, was inspired by a recipe he found in Liquor.com advisor Gary Regan’s book The Joy of Mixology. We like his complex Mexican Mole Bitters that has a subtle chocolate sweetness and his Moroccan Bitters that carries a cumin tinge. (Try it in the tart Moroccopolitan.)
Established brands have also gotten a boost. Bittermens, which debuted in 2007, relaunched last summer with an expanded line, including ‘Elemakule Tiki Bitters for tropical drinks. It even recently helped open Amor y Amargo, a “bitters tasting room” in New York.
We can’t wait for the next phase of this bitters revolution.