Cocktail Bitters – Episode #009 – Speaking Easy Podcast

Cocktail Bitters - Speaking Easy Podcast - Cocktails and Home Entertaining - Bartending

Cocktail bitters, those little tinctures seen in bars all over, are the salt-and-pepper of mixing drinks. They deepen flavors, bring out subtle notes in liquors and liqueurs, and make your drinks just that much more interesting. Even just a dash or two can make a huge difference, and a home bartender should learn to play around with bitters—different amounts, varieties, combinations, etc., to find all sorts of new drinks. And making your own bitters—based on your favorites, or designed with a specific cocktail in mind—is much easier than you might think.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • A brief history cocktail bitters
  • Some of the variations of cocktail bitters
  • Which varieties you should start your collection off with
  • How to use cocktail bitters
  • How to make your own at home

Wise Words:

“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” Jean-Jacques Rousseau

“Cock-tail is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters—it is vulgarly called bittered sling, and is supposed to be an excellent electioneering potion, in as much as it renders the heart stout and bold, at the same time that it fuddles the head. It is said, also to be of great use to a democratic candidate: because a person, having swallowed a glass of it, is ready to swallow any thing else.”—Harry Croswell, Editor, The Balance and Columbian Repository, 1806

Gear & Supplies

Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All by Brad Thomas Parsons

Bitterman’s Field Guide to Bitters & Amari: 500 Bitters; 50 Amari; 123 Recipes for Cocktails, Food & Homemade Bitters by Mark Bitterman

Angostura Bitters Set: Aromatic and Orange—two essential bitters for every bar

Peychaud’s Bitters: the key to many New Orleans classic cocktails

DIY Bitters: Reviving the Forgotten Flavor – A Guide to Making Your Own Bitters for Bartenders, Cocktail Enthusiasts, Herbalists, and More by Jovial King & Guido Mase

Hella Bitter, Craft Your Own Bitters Kit – We don’t always suggest a starter-kit, but with bitters, following a kit at first allows you to learn how to make them so you can create your own recipes thereafter

Other Features

The Cover of Angostura’s 1954 Professional Mixing Guide (We put it on our Pinterest page—have you checked that out?)

Bitterness by Wasted Penguins (Not the best music for making bitters, but catchy nonetheless)


What are your goto bitters and your favorite cocktails to make with them? Let us know below!