Once you’ve graduated past aromatic bitters, you may have moved on to explore orange bitters, as any good cocktail aficionado does. You have that bottle of orange bitters you bought for a particular cocktail recipe, and now you’re probably wondering how you can use it. The good news is that there are a ton of uses for orange bitters.
If you’re looking for a recommendation for orange bitters recipes, you have come to the right place. We’ll break down different uses for orange cocktail bitters and provide a few orange bitters recipes that you can use often.
Soda + Orange Bitters (with vodka)
Just as you’d use aromatic bitters in your soda and bitters, or vodka soda with bitters, you can use orange, too! If you’re looking for the exact ratio, we’ll leave that up to you and your personal taste, but we do recommend starting with 4-6 dashes, then add to taste.
Grapefruit Soda + Orange Bitters
Liven up grapefruit soda with orange bitters. We recommend a well-made soda like IZZE, Spindrift Sparkling Grapefruit, or Jarritos. If you’re feeling especially ambitious you can make your own grapefruit soda and add orange bitters. Try this recipe by Wholefully that uses juice from an entire grapefruit and agave syrup, instead of the alternatives.
If you have a fancy basement bar, we envy you. Like many of us though, you may store your orange bitters in the kitchen. Keep them in reach of the stove or oven, and you may find yourself cooking with them often. Add them to salad dressings and vinaigrettes. Making a classic caramel sauce? Add some orange bitters. Liven up simple syrup you make at home for cocktails with orange bitters. You can even add orange bitters to cake batter. Think of it as bitter orange extract and see where that takes you.
What makes a cocktail recipe go from basic to intermediate and advanced? The number of tools you need to make the cocktail and the type of ingredients you need for the recipe. These are a few tools we always keep in our cocktail bar:
- Double Jigger (Huh? This is simply a double-sided measuring cup)
- Cocktail Stirrer
The good news is if you don’t have all of these in your kitchen or bar, it’s not a problem. There are plenty of things you can find in your kitchen, which can act as makeshift cocktail making supplies; measuring cups, shot glasses, cheesecloth, or a sieve, a regular old spoon. Once you’ve got these bar items in place then you’re ready to start making more advanced cocktails.
Orange Summer Smash Cocktail + Orange Bitters
This is a refreshing juicy summer cocktail made with fresh orange and lemon juice and of course a splash of orange bitters.
- 2 ounces of vodka
- 1 freshly squeezed orange
- ½ freshly squeezed lemon
- 4 - 6 splashes of orange bitters
- ½ ounce of simple syrup
Combine all of your ingredients in your cocktail shaker, shake well and pour over ice and add a splash of club soda for a little fizz.
Pro Tip: Most cocktail recipes call for just a dash or two of bitters. Don’t be afraid to add more than a few dashes of our bitters to your recipes. We recommend it for optimal flavor.
The Bitter Housewife Martinez + Orange Bitters
What’s a Martinez? It’s a little bit Manhattan and a little bit Martini. The first recorded recipe for a Martinez was a traditional Manhattan, but substitute gin for whiskey. And the Gin Foundry describes the Martinez as the ‘Father’ of the martini. But the history remains as muddled as a good cocktail.
According to local lore in the town of Martinez, California the drink was invented in the 1880s as the “Martinez Special” and brought to San Francisco, where like a game of telephone it became the Martini. But it’s uncertain which came first and if their histories are truly shared, but it’s fun to imagine the evolution of our favorite cocktails.
The Martinez then became popularized as a result of the growing popularity of “Old Tom'' gin, which is sweeter in flavor than traditional London dry gins. There’s much debate about whether to use dry or sweet vermouth, but we will leave that up to you, your preference, and what you have in the cupboard. Here’s our take on the Martinez:
- 1 ½ ounce of gin
- 1 ½ ounce of Vermouth (sweet or dry)
- ¼ ounce Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
- 4 - 6 splashes of our orange bitters
- A fresh squeeze of orange juice*
*Fresh squeeze of orange juice is optional. It’s not in a traditional Martinez. Do you like your cocktail “hot” with only spirits, then no orange. If you like a little extra tartness to brighten it up a bit, we like to add some fresh orange juice to the cocktail.
Pro Tip: if a cocktail is made with all liquor and no mixer, it’s usually stirred. If it’s got a mixer or citrus, then you’re shaking it up.
Combine your ingredients and stir or shake, depending on whether or not you decide to add a dash of fresh juice. Then garnish with a fresh orange rind and enjoy!
Are you looking to up your cocktail game and want to get a little crafty? Here is a more advanced cocktail recipe for those of you looking for a bit of a challenge with a high reward.
Whiskey Sour + Orange Bitters
We love a whiskey sour and we’re not talking about a pre-made mix, we’re talking about a traditional whiskey sour with the smooth, creamy egg white on top. Yes, egg white. If you see foam on top of a cocktail, most likely it’s egg white.
If you’re looking for a vegan option, aquafaba or chickpea juice is a great substitute to replicate the foamy egg whites. The only difference is you’ll need to make your aquafaba ahead of time. We’ll guide you to the Minimalist Baker to help you with making your aquafaba. But if you plan on using egg white, here’s our classic whiskey sour recipe with a twist:
- 2 ounces of your favorite bourbon
- 1 ounce of fresh lemon juice
- 3 - 4 dashes of Orange Bitters
- ½ ounce of simple syrup
- 1 pasteurized egg white (or aquafaba)
As we discussed earlier since this is an advanced recipe you will need a few of your trusty bar tools to complete this recipe. The most important is your shaker, so the egg white gets nice and aerated. First, add the bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg white to your shaker. Give it a good shake for about 30 seconds and then add ice and shake it up some more for some serious foamy volume. Then take your strainer and strain the cocktail mixture into a coupe glass and finally add a few dashes of the orange bitters on top of the foam. If you’re feeling really fancy, drag a toothpick through the bitters to create a lovely little design in the foam.
Regardless of your home bartending skills, orange bitters can have many uses in your home. To get going with these orange bitters recipes, purchase The Bitter Housewife Orange Bitters here.