The 10 Best Bitters
This wiki has been updated 11 times since it was first published in June of 2018. Whether you're an amateur mixologist experimenting with new recipes, a casual drinker looking to add some nuance to your nightcap, or the owner of a bar or pub, you're missing out if you haven't yet added the rich complexity of bitters to your inventory. Our list is comprised of a wide array of delicious options derived from herbs, botanicals, nuts, fruits, and even chocolate. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
December 08, 2020:
We approached this list looking to maintain the balance it had between tried and true classics like Angostura Aromatic, Peychaud’s Aromatic, and offerings from Fee Brothers, as well as distinctive options like Scrappy’s Lavender and two new selections. They are Bittermen's Xocolatl Mole, which we brought on when Bitter End Mexican Mole became unavailable, as we believe Mexican chocolate bitters should keep a spot on this list. Bittermen's bills itself as the original of its kind, and brings subtle heat and complex spicy flavors to drinks alongside its deep cacao flavor.
The other newcomer is Bittercube Blackstrap, a kola-nut and sarsaparilla flavored concoction that's full-bodied and earthy, complementing dark, carbonated colas well in addition to scotch, rye whiskey, rum, hot cocktails, and egg white cocktails, to which it adds an intense aroma and lovely aesthetic appeal. You probably won't find this one listed in many bartender books though, as it's a bit less versatile than traditional aromatics and flavors like orange, lemon, and chocolate.
Finally, we decided to part ways with Angostura's orange bitters to bring on fan-favorite Regan's Orange, another classic people swear by. Regan's version is a tad milder, more complex, and lacks a bit of the synthetic bite that Angostura has, which makes it easier to blend into drinks you want it to enhance instead of overpower. If you want a strong, almost candy-like kick of orange, Angostura is the better bet, however.
October 04, 2019:
We evaluated the traditional aromatic bitters that are required for a real Manhattan or Old Fashioned, and included the best on this list. You'll probably find a bottle of Angostura Aromatic in just about any bar so it's a great choice for those looking to re-create a favorite drink you had in a bar.
Peychaud’s Aromatic is known for being a key ingredient in a well-made Sazerac. As an aromatic it's infused with a slight sweetness that makes it distinctive from the Angostura.
Along with some popular citrus, herbal, and even chocolate choices, to accent favorite recipes, we also included the Bitter End Mexican Mole for some more adventurous mixologists. It adds a spicy kick to drinks but it's not all about the heat, there's complex cocoa and spices in there as well.
Cozymeal Mixology If you're looking to learn a thing or two or just want to try a new cocktail, Cozymeal offers online mixology classes taught by world-class mixologists. They're fully interactive and allow you to ask questions and get answers in real-time, with customizable recipes that can be modified to your needs. Everything from authentic mojitos and Cubanos to festive holiday tipples and essential vodka drinks is covered. cozymeal.com
Shaker and Spoon For the adventurous drinker or budding bartender, Shaker and Spoon is a subscription service that ships monthly boxes built around one spirit to showcase various styles of cocktail-making. Each month you'll get three recipes and everything you need to make 12 drinks, except for the alcohol. You can expect specialty syrups, bitters, tinctures, mixers, garnishes, and more, and are sent an email before your box arrives with suggestions for a bottle that'll work well, bar tools to have on hand, and other tips. shakerandspoon.com