Bitters: The Secret Ingredient in Mixology

When it comes to mixology, there's one crucial element that often goes unnoticed but makes a significant difference in the taste of your favourite cocktails - bitters. These small bottles of potent elixirs have been an essential component of cocktail recipes for centuries, adding depth, complexity, and balance to drinks. In this post, we will delve into the world of bitters, exploring what they are, why they are so important in mixology, and how they elevate your drinking experience.


Understanding Bitters

bar cart with non-alcoholic bitters

Bitters are concentrated flavour extracts made by infusing various herbs, fruits, spices, and botanicals in high-proof alcohol. They are typically sold in small dropper bottles due to their intense flavour profiles. The most common types of bitters include aromatic bitters (such as Angostura), citrus bitters (like orange or lemon), and herbal bitters (such as Peychaud's).


Importance in Mixology

  • Enhancing Flavour: Bitters act as a seasoning for cocktails, similar to how salt enhances the flavours of food. They provide a well-rounded taste by adding complexity and depth to the overall profile of the drink.
  • Balancing Sweetness: Many cocktails tend to lean towards being overly sweet. Bitters help counterbalance the sweetness by introducing a pleasant bitterness, creating a more harmonious taste.
  • Aromatics: Bitters contribute aromatic compounds that stimulate the olfactory senses, enhancing the overall drinking experience. The aroma of bitters can bring out hidden flavours in a cocktail and add another layer of sensory delight.
  • Digestive Benefits: Historically, bitters were used as medicinal tonics due to their digestive properties. They were believed to aid digestion and alleviate stomach ailments. While not scientifically proven, many people still appreciate bitters for their potential digestive benefits.


Creative Versatility

beautiful botanicals with herbs for bitters

Bitters are incredibly versatile and can be used in a wide range of cocktails. From classic cocktails like the Old Fashioned and the Manhattan to contemporary creations, bitters play a pivotal role in elevating the drink's flavour profile. Experimenting with different bitters allows mixologists to craft unique and innovative cocktails that cater to different taste preferences.


Using Bitters at Home

Adding bitters to your home bar arsenal is a smart move for any aspiring mixologist. Start with a few essential flavours like aromatic, orange, and aromatic citrus bitters.


All The Bitter: The Delicious Journey of Two Former Sommeliers

While alcoholic bitters have long been a staple in bars around the world, there is a rising demand for non-alcoholic alternatives. Enter All The Bitter, a unique company founded by two former sommeliers from the renowned French Laundry in Napa, California - Ian and Carly.


bartenders kit including non-alcoholic bitters

A Passionate Beginning

Ian and Carly's journey began during their time at the French Laundry, where they honed their skills in the art of understanding complex flavours. Inspired by their love for extraordinary taste experiences, they set out to explore new possibilities beyond the realm of wine. Recognizing the need for non-alcoholic options in the market, they turned their attention to crafting exceptional non-alcoholic bitters.


Craftsmanship at Its Finest

All The Bitter takes pride in its commitment to craftsmanship and quality. Using only the finest natural ingredients sourced from around the world, each batch is meticulously handmade to ensure consistency and flavour perfection. By combining traditional techniques with innovative approaches, Ian and Carly have managed to create a range of bitters that rival even the most renowned alcoholic counterparts.


The Art of Non-Alcoholic Mixology

With All The Bitter's offerings, mixologists and home bartenders alike can now experiment with complex flavours without relying on alcohol to ensure a fully inclusive guest experience. Check out some cocktails featuring bitters below!


Lavender Earl Grey Martini

lavender earl grey martini non-alcoholic with bitters


  • 60ml non-alcoholic gin

  • 30ml strong earl grey tea, chilled
  • 15ml lavender syrup
  • 15ml fresh lemon juice
  • 3 dashes All The Bitter Lavender bitters
  • 1 dash All The Bitter Orange bitters


Brew a strong cup of earl grey tea by using less water and let it steep for 8-10 minutes. Chill in the fridge.

Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice and shake for 6 seconds.

Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon peel, expressing the oils over the cocktail.


Hibiscus Sour

hibiscus sour non-alcoholic cocktail with bottle of bitters


  • 75ml hibiscus tea, chilled

  • 25ml grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed
  • 25ml lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • 15ml agave nectar
  • 5 dashes All The Bitter New Orleans bitters
  • 1 egg white (optional)


Brew a cup of hibiscus tea, then chill.

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker and (if using egg white) "dry shake" without ice for 20 seconds.

Add ice, shake again until chilled, and double strain into a coupe glass.


Bitters + Non Alcoholic Red Wine

non-alcoholic red wine with bitters

Bitters can greatly enhance the flavour of non-alcoholic red wine. They add depth, body, complexity, and balance and by adding a few drops of bitters to your non-alcoholic red wine, you can significantly elevate its taste profile. Bitters can impart flavours like citrus, herbal notes, or even subtle hints of spices. This can help to counterbalance any overly sweet or one-dimensional flavours in the wine, making it more enjoyable to drink.

To incorporate bitters into your wine experience, follow these steps. Begin with red wine and add a few dashes of either Aromatic or New Orleans bitters (you can even mix them!). Gradually increase how much you use until you achieve your desired flavour profile. Remember to stir or give the glass a vigorous swirl since the bitters have a heavier consistency and will settle at the bottom.

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