Bitters are used in a number of cocktails. Even if you can’t strongly perceive them while you’re sipping your drink, like salt, lemon zest, and vanilla, bitters are used to balance the flavors in the glass, providing a gentle undernote to bolster or as a contrast to flavors, rather than domineering or taking center stage.

When writing Drinking French* I kept in mind that most people either didn’t have access to a wide variety of bitters, or didn’t want to amass a line-up of little bottles of bitters at home just to make one cocktail. Although sometimes, a certain bitter does make a difference. So a few times, I nudged readers who might want to expand their flavor horizons towards a particular bitter, such as eucalyptus or salted chocolate. But in the overall picture, I like to give choices when writing a recipe in a book, so as many people ca make it as possible.

My fallback bitters are orange and aromatic (Angostura) because I wanted to make sure to use ones that people could easily find. Heck, I’ve even seen Angostura being sold in French supermarkets, as well as at Target stores in the U.S. So there’s really not that much of a barrier to getting your hands on a bottle.

Continue Reading Homemade Orange Bitters

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