People have a lot of questions about the bitters and I love answering them. If people are throwing questions my way it means two things to me. One, I’ve made myself approachable enough that they’re comfortable asking about the thing I make. Two, they’re actually interested in bitters and learning something about them.
We do have an FAQ page, but figured if you found yourself perusing blog posts, it would be good to have a secondary place to find answers to a lot of commonly asked questions. So, I’ll dive right in.
What Are Bitters?
The short answer is, bitters are an extraction of botanicals, roots, and spices. They are used to complement, soften, or heighten the flavors your cocktail. They are the spice rack of cocktail making. I go into a lot more detail about what bitters are here. I also write about how bitters are made here.
Do Bitters Have Alcohol In Them?
Yes, most do and ours definitely do. However, they are considered non-potable, meaning you wouldn’t chug the whole bottle on its own. The reason we can sell them in stores other than liquor stores is that bitters are considered akin to vanilla extract (also generally bottled at about 80-90 proof). However, you add so little to any drink you are barely changing the alcohol content. For example, adding a full tablespoon (most drinks call for less than a teaspoon) of bitters to 12 oz of soda water makes for a drink that’s about 1% alcohol. You couldn’t drink it fast enough to feel the effects. But we know some folks are super sensitive to alcohol, so we make sure to be clear ours have an alcohol base.
What Is A Dash Of Bitters?
A dash is more than just one drop and while it can vary from brand to brand, most bitters will measure about 1 ml or ⅕ teaspoon per dash. To get a proper dash, turn the bottle of bitters upside down over your cocktail or mixing glass and give it a solid downward shake. That is a dash.
What Are Aromatic Bitters?
Aromatic bitters are the most common type of bitters and are made from a combination of baking spices like cinnamon, allspice, and cloves, often have dried cherries or a similar dried fruit, and will sometimes have a bit of dried citrus peel in addition to the bittering agents. Angostura Bitters are an aromatic style bitters. Here is a more in-depth explanation of Aromatic bitters.
How Long Do Bitters Last?
While we hate to see a bottle of bitters collecting dust on your home bar they do last indefinitely. They are bottled at about 70 proof or 35% alcohol, so they are perfectly preserved. However, it is possible that the flavor will change over time. So far bitters from our first batches 9 or 10 years ago are still tasting just as good as they did when first made.
How Should I Store My Bitters?
Our cocktail bitters are completely shelf stable and don’t need to be refrigerated once opened. They will not go bad, however since they are a natural product, so as I mentioned above, flavor and color may change after 5 or more years. We really hope you don’t hold on to them that long. We encourage you to keep them where you can see them and be inspired to use them often.
Do you have a question I haven’t answered? Send an email and we’ll get right back to you.