When using bitters, be sure to use by the dash...
Originally developed as patent medicines, bitters are a necessary ingredient that add immense flavor and depth to a cocktail. The often secret formulas include a variety of herbs, fruits, spices, and roots distilled in a base liquor.
When using bitters, be sure to use by the dash. A dash is what you get from a single shake of a bottle that has an integrated dasher top, which can sometimes be several drops.
Three bitters you should always have handy:
However, there are many bitters you can experiment with including (but not limited to): rhubarb, black walnut, lime, chocolate, lemon, celery, cardamom, as well as blended flavors like tiki, colonial, hopped grapefruit, ginger lemon, burlesque, winter melon, and much more.
So why are they so important?
Simply put, you can enhance the flavor of a cocktail without having to add a variety of additional ingredients. Take BITTERMENS Burlesque bitters for example, as described on their website:
A spicy little tart that is sure to tantalize your taste buds. This menage of hibiscus, açai berry and long pepper is sweet, spicy and a bit of a tart. She loves performing for an international crowd, flirting with Italian amari, Mexican tequila, British gin and Caribbean rum. A perfect companion for drinks served where jazz is played and garters are de rigueur.
Could you imagine having to incorporate all of those ingredients into a cocktail…. infusing your base spirit with hibiscus, muddling the açai berry, and adding several dashes of a spices…. PLUS throw in a bit of amari, tequila, and rum? Phew! Talk about labor intensive. Not to mention, adding those items into cocktail in their entirety would be FAR too overwhelming on your taste buds.
Bitters on the other hand are very concentrated. Hence why you only need a few dashes to enhance your cocktail. When incorporating bitters, they add a slight hint of these flavors rather than an overwhelming taste.
What have we learned?
Do not be afraid to use bitters in your homemade cocktails! They really add so much unique flavor and depth with little effort – just a few dashes will do the trick.