Now that cocktails have weaseled their way back into the current drinking repertoire, it’s time to take a look at one the elements of many a good cocktail: bitters. These days, there are many different kinds of bitters with wildly diverging flavor profiles — from blueberry to celery — but their aim is the same. All bitters are concentrated elixirs of botanicals that add nuance and balance to a drink. The flavor doesn’t punch you in the mouth like a a glug of piña colada mix does — but a few drops of bitters can separate a great cocktail from a serviceable one.
A heap of classic and new recipes follow, so you can start flexing your bitters-dripping muscles right away.