Cocktail Bitters, Angostura and Fee Brothers Bitters

Posted February 12 2013

One of the big cocktail mysteries, bitters. People use them when a "dash" is called for but very few people really understand why--they just have them on hand incase a classic cocktail utilizes them. We've finally got our first round of bitter offerings here at AwesomeDrinks:

  • Angostura Aromatic Bitters
  • Fee Brothers Old Fashioned Aromatic Bitters
  • Fee Brothers West Indian Orange Bitters

Why did I select those three to start off our bitter catelog? Simple answer: people buy them because they know they need them but they do not always understand why (more on that in a minute.) If you ask a professional, a bartender, mixologist or cocktail enthusiast, they'll call out "Angostura Bitters" as a must-have ingredient to fill their bar but I'm sure some don't always know why... you just have to have angostura bitters.

The reasonable answer is "recipes call for it" but I think some people don't give Fee Brothers Old Fashoined Aromatic Bitters enough credit; however, that's changing and the Fee Brothers are kicking butt in the industry gaining incredible momentum. I believe cost is a bit of a factor, if you can save a few bucks buying the Fee Brothers and gain an additional bottle ounce--not a bad deal. 

Bitters, once used to cure illnesses have now cured a newer illness, the desire for a flavorful aromatic cocktail (okay, that's not much of an illness). Angostura sorta kicked it off in the 1800's and it has come a long way; well, the bottle design with the oversized label has remained but the concept behind the bitter has changed over the last 100-years.

Today, bitters are used to balance out a cocktail, to bring many of the flavors together or, in some cases, to mask a cocktail flavor that just feels "unbalanced." The use of bitters (and the minor amount required) is much akin to adding a bit of salt or pepper to your meat while cooking--it just adds a bit of something that, when left out, becomes apparently but alone it doesn't seem like much.

Orange bitters, such as Fee Brothers West Indian Orange Bitters, bring out a nice zesty bite in some very classy cocktail designs. The oils can flow across the top of the liquid and give off a very nice orange zest personality. Of course, there are dozens and dozens of other more rare (or not nearly as marketed) bitter selections from walnut to lemon, plum and even celery. We'll continue to grow our bitter selection here on AwesomeDrinks, but I wanted to get folks familiar with the top sellers and expand out from there.

Hopefully you can appereciate the beauty of bitters for your cocktail.