Frequently Asked Questions

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What Are Bitters?

Bitters are a mixture of botanicals, roots, and spices steeped in a spirit base. They are used to complement, soften, or heighten the flavors of alcohol and cocktail ingredients. Adding bitters to a drink makes for a more complex flavor profile. You can read more about bitters here.

What Makes The Bitter Housewife Different From Other Bitters?

We believe drinks shouldn’t have rules and that you should embrace what you like. To that end we promise to be bitterly honest about the products we make and how you can use them. Our bitters are handcrafted in small batches in Portland, Oregon. You'll never find flavoring, coloring, or artificial preservatives in anything we make. We use only the highest quality whole ingredients to craft unmistakable flavors. Read how our Aromatic bitters compare to Angostura.

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 grocery stores is because bitters are used like vanilla extract (also generally bottled at about 80-90 proof), a little goes a long way. Actually adding a full tablespoon 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 everyone knows what’s in our bitters.

How Do I Use Bitters?

Bitters are the spice rack of cocktail making. A few dashes brings harmony to a drink balancing out the strong of the alcohol, the sweet of sugar or a liqueur, and the sour of a little citrus juice or a twist. We've put together a collection of recipes to help you get started, but use them as a guide and adjust to your taste. You can also read more in depth discussion of using bitters in drinks here.

How Long Do Bitters Last?

While we hate to see a bottle of bitters collecting dust on your home bar they do last indefinitely. However, it is possible that the flavor will change over time. So far bitters from our first batches 6 or 7 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 flavor and color may change slightly after multiple years, but we 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.

Are Bitters Gluten-Free?

Yes, at least ours are, but I cannot attest that other bitters are gluten-free.

But, you may be thinking, aren’t some of our bitters whiskey-based? Yes, our Old Fashioned Aromatic Bitters, Barrel Aged Bitters, Westward Hazelnut Bitters, and Dead Guy Chicory Bitters are made with a whiskey base that could contain wheat in the mash, however, according to Beyond Celiac, gluten doesn’t remain after the distillation process. Some whiskey, and even bitters, may cause reactions because they contain coloring or flavoring that contains wheat. We do not use any coloring or flavorings, only whole fruit and botanicals, and ensure that none are added to the whiskey we use.

How Much Sugar is in Our Bitters?

We get this question a lot, so here’s the breakdown. First we use organic, non-gmo, cane sugar in all our bitters except Grapefruit. For Grapefruit we use honey. So you’re getting the good stuff that your body knows how to process. Each bottle of bitters has 4g of sugar, not much really considering each bottle has 15-20 servings depending on how heavy handed you are. So that’s a ¼g or less of sugar per drink.