Fiery and potent, this brings heat to whatever you’re throwing it at.
From the makers: We love spicy foods here at Bittermens. In fact, habaneros appear in everything from cream sauces to omelettes at home. However, we have found that when people try to make spicy cocktails, much of the time the flavour falls short.
The problem as we see it isn’t the heat – it’s how the heat is incorporated into the cocktail. Infusing jalapeño peppers into tequila is perfect if you want a tequila drink. However, simply putting commercial hot sauces, sambal or sriracha into a cocktail usually throws off the cocktail’s balance.
The way that most hot sauces are made is by blending peppers with vinegar, salt and other spices. Vinegar, eh? That sure sounds like a shrub to us. Shrubs are classically refreshing fruit and vinegar-based syrups that were sweetened and diluted to make a beverage since revolutionary times. Instead of making a berry shrub or an orange shrub, why not make a hot pepper shrub?
We’ve fortified the shrub with alcohol (to better extract the flavours from the spices) and made it much more concentrated, so you only need to use drops instead of ounces to get the desired effect… which, in this case, is a good ol’ bit of heat.
New York’s Bittermens is the creation of Avery and Janet Glaser and are widely recognised as frontrunners in the modern explosion of small batch and artisan bitters. After impressing with the Xocolatl Mole and Hiooed Grapefruit bitters they’ve released a range of unique flavours and collaborations.
Bitters are used to flavour cocktails and other drinks. Initially rising to prominence in the 1800s and often marketed as a medicinal product, cocktail bitters emerged as the cocktail-making equivalent of ‘salt and pepper’ in cooking. Although the market consolidated during the 20th century, there has been a boom of small, hand-crafted flavours from all over the world since the turn of the millennium.
They add complexity and refinement, helping balance sweet and other flavours. You do not need to be a world-class bartender to enjoy them, however, they can be utilised as simply as adding a few dashes to soda water to add flavour, something particularly effective after a night of indulgence.