Can You Drink Bitters Straight? (Yes, If You're Brave Enough!)

Greetings, everyone! It's me, your friendly neighborhood bartender, here to share an amazing discovery with you all: you can drink bitters straight! That's right—gone is the notion that bitters are only meant to be drunk as a cocktail ingredient.

Their intense, complex flavors can be savored on their own, and I'm thrilled to share details on how to take this mouth-tingling journey! Immerse yourself in the flavor-packed potential of drinking bitters straight.

What Are Bitters?

Bitters are a type of concentrated herbal extract that is often used as a flavoring agent in cocktails and other mixed drinks. They are made by infusing a variety of aromatic botanicals, such as roots, bark, fruit, and spices, in a high-proof alcohol base. Bitters have a strong, bitter taste and are used in very small quantities, typically just a few dashes at a time.

Some common flavors of bitters include orange, cherry, and Angostura (a blend of herbs and spices). They are an essential ingredient in many classic cocktails, such as Old Fashioneds and Manhattans, and are also used to add depth and complexity to modern creations.

The Benefits of Drinking Bitters Straight

From a bartender’s point of view, drinking bitters straight is usually a no-no—but can actually be a truly incredible experience. Bitters provide a distinctive complexity of flavors that are not found in drinks like whiskey or vodka. The flavor profile of a single bitters can range from herbal and floral notes to spicy and woody flavors, depending on the ingredients used in the recipe.

Drinking bitters straight is an exceptional way to take in all of these flavors in one sip. In fact, some people enjoy sipping on bitters as an aperitif before enjoying other alcoholic drinks. As bitters are extremely concentrated, just a few drops are often enough to enjoy the flavor profile. Furthermore, because bitters are used as a flavor enhancer, they can be combined with other spirits, creating an exciting and unique flavor experience.

How to Prepare Bitters For Drinking

To properly prepare bitters for drinking, it’s best to mix them with a variety of flavors to create an enjoyable, balanced beverage. A popular way to do this is to combine them with lemonade or soda to make a delicious spritz. You can also add bitters to cocktails or other drinks to create a curious flavor profile. Bitters can also be poured over ice and topped with club soda for an exhilarating and invigorating drink.

When drinking bitters neat, it’s advisable to use them sparingly. Bitters usually contain a high concentration of alcohol and herbs, so mixing them with a sweetener or mixer can really help to dilute their taste. For those who really want to experience their full flavor, it’s best to try them in small amounts. Bitters can make for a very invigorating shot, so don’t be afraid to experiment with them.

Different Types of Bitters to Explore

There are many different styles of bitters to explore, each with their own curious flavor and aroma. For example, Angostura bitters has a strong, spicy, and bittersweet taste, while ABV bitters have a complex, earthy flavor.

Amer Picon bitters are another type of bitters with a sweet, citrusy flavor, while PX bitters have a smoky, herbal taste. Alternatively, there are aromatic bitters with more subtle flavors, like orange and lavender, while Peychaud’s bitters have a bright, citrusy flavor with subtle notes of anise.

Of course, when it comes to drinking bitters, it really depends on your preference. Some people enjoy drinking them straight, while most prefer to mix them into cocktails. Experiment and have fun with the different types of bitters to really appreciate their unique flavors!

Tips for Trying Bitters Straight

When it comes to drinking bitters straight, my best advice is to enjoy it as an aperitif or an after-dinner drink. Bitters is intensely aromatic and flavorful, so drink it slowly and savor the experience.

Even though bitters can be a bit of a bolder flavor, it has the perfect balance of sweet and savory that allows it to be drank neat. By drinking bitters neat, you'll be able to appreciate its wonderful complexities and taste notes on an even deeper level. So, if you're looking for a truly distinctive and enjoyable experience, I'd highly recommend trying out bitters neat!

Closing Thoughts

To conclude, I'd like to salute the cocktail community for continuing to elevate the traditional drinking experience with each unique concoction. While bitters are traditionally used to give blended tipples a bit of extra oomph, they are certainly more than capable of standing alone in the limelight too. By now, you should be well-equipped with the knowledge and understanding to begin experimenting with your own tastebud-tingling sips of satisfaction. Cheers to you!