I recently wrote a story that I’m hoping will be the first in a set that makes up a larger project.
One part of the story concerns bitters. I did a LOT of reading about bitters while writing the story.
Bitters are a strongly flavoured alcohol that you add, a few drops at a time, to certain mixed drinks to enhance their taste.
There are many different kinds of bitters and the one you choose for your mixed drink makes it distinctive – brings your own personality to it, you could say.
To make your own bitters, you need to take a very high proof alcohol – whiskey or bourbon are popular starting points – and add certain flavourings. You might choose dried berries or nuts. You might add strong spices like star anise or or cinnamon or cardamom. You might want to throw in some vanilla beans, cacao nibs, or wild cherry bark.
You can get creative with it. Put your own stamp on it.
(Or you can just buy your favourite flavour combinations at the liquor store.)
In my story, bitters are used to make a variety of drinks but the featured beverage is a Manhattan. Here’s how to make it at home:
2 oz rye whiskey
1 oz sweet vermouth
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 maraschino cherry (or, if you’re like Edie in my story, two or three)
Shake ingredients over ice and strain into a lowball, or if you want to be fancy, martini glass.
It’s not to everyone’s taste, but there’s an interesting balance between bitter and sweet if you’re willing to take it for a spin.
Just be sure to have someone else drive you home – these do pack a punch!