The 3 Essential Bitters Every Home Bar Needs
There’s a big, wide world of bitters out there--with so many different varieties and small-batch gems. And, while we as bitters fans couldn’t be happier, we understand that all those choices can be a bit overwhelming. Between tiki bitters and floral bitters and holiday-specific bitters, where do you even get started?
Let's make it easier for you. When it comes down to it, you really only need three types to make all the drinks you could ever want.
Aromatic BittersProbably the most versatile and most called for of all bitters, aromatic bitters have been around for a very long time—before cocktails even existed. They were originally used in medical practices as an herbal tonic, but the cocktail world appropriated them in the early 1800s. That's when the first known cocktail was created: a mix of liquor, sugar, water and bitters. The bitters in question were aromatic bitters, flavored with botanicals like cinchona bark, cassia and gentian.
While the most prevalent brand of aromatic bitters is Angostura, there are many more brands on the market today including The Bitter Truth’s Old Time Aromatic Bitters and Scrappy’s Aromatic Bitters. Peychaud’s is another brand of aromatic bitters, which is lighter in color and flavor than Angostura-style bitters and a touch more licorice-forward. If you plan on making a Sazerac, then Peychaud’s should be your pick for the New Orleans cocktail. But if you’d rather whip up Manhattans or Old Fashioneds, stick with the woodsier brands of aromatic bitters.