What are Bitters? (And How to Use Them!)
What are Bitters?
Bitters are an alcoholic preparation flavored with botanicals, resulting in a bitter or bittersweet flavor. Evolving from centuries-old medicinal traditions, they incorporate a diverse range of herbs, bark, roots, and fruits steeped in alcohol.
Originally, bitters were used medicinally, as a way to imbibe strong botanical infusions. As time passed, their role transitioned from a health tonic to an indispensable component in cocktails. Here at Girl Meets Dirt, we are passionate about crafting bitters that encapsulate the spirit of Orcas Island, presenting the essence of the locale in every drop.
Why Do We Use Bitters in Drink Making?
The use of bitters in drink making is about balance. Much like adding a hint of lemon to a dish can elevate its flavors by balancing richness with tartness, bitters provide a similar effect for beverages. They enhance and highlight the unique elements of a drink. When bitters are introduced to a cocktail, they instill depth. Bitters help harmonize the contrasting tones of sweetness, acidity, or the fiery warmth of alcohol.
Classic Drinks That Use Bitters & 3 Recipes!
Bitters are a crucial ingredient in many classic cocktails that you may be familiar with. They round out the flavor profile of each of these drinks, and mixologists experiment with artisanal bitters as a way to intensify and heighten the flavor profile of their cocktails.
Ruby Spiced Apple Old Fashioned:
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) bourbon
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) Girl Meets Dirt Ruby Spiced Apple Shrub
1-2 dashes Girl Meets Dirt Old Dames Tree Bitters
Stir ingredients with ice. Strain into a rocks glass. Garnish with a cinnamon stick or herb sprig.
The Fancy Woman:Ingredients:
- 2 oz Amaro (we love fast Penny Spirits Amaricano)
5 dashes Girl Meets Dirt Old Dames Bitters
Dried or fresh blood orange wheel
Serve in chilled coupe or wine glass
The Bitter End:Ingredients:
- 2 oz gin
1 oz grapefruit juice
1/2 oz lime juice
1 dash of Plum Bitters
Method: Mix all components in a shaker filled with ice. Shake until frosty, then decant into a cold cocktail glass. Complement with a grapefruit slice.
Amazing Bitters to Try
The spectrum of bitters is expansive, ranging from tried-and-true classics to the handcrafted novelties. While many are acquainted with stalwarts like Angostura or Peychaud's, that's just the tip of the iceberg. As you explore bitters, you'll encounter flavors like cardamom, lavender, and even chocolate. Each promises to enrich your drink making, bestowing it with layers and nuance. At Girl Meets Dirt, we derive inspiration from the backdrop of the San Juan Islands to fashion something distinctly ours.
Dive into our Orcas Island Bitters: Imbued with locally sourced fruits, they strike a mesmerizing equilibrium between bitter, aromatic, and tart, reflecting the tranquil charm of the island. We macerate fruit tree parts and local botanicals in Orcas Island distillery apple brandy to make our bitters. With traces of the sea breeze, warmed by the sun over the Salish Sea, these bitters truly have a special quality. Our Plum Shrub, for example, 2021 Good Food Awards winner, is tart, bright, and adds an incredible depth to any cocktail. Check out our full product line if you are interested in trying the taste of the islands.
Bitters are the unsung heroes of the cocktail realm. The next time you're crafting a drink, let your creativity run wild with bitters. A world of tantalizing flavors awaits. Cheers!