What are cocktail bitters? Using Bitters in Cocktails | Lesson 03

Cocktail bitters have a rich history. The original definition of “cock-tail” by Harry Croswell in The Balance and Columbian Repository dated (1806) says a traditional cocktail is “spirits, sugar, water and bitters.”

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These crazy concoctions were barks, herbs, roots, and spices combined to solve but that all changed in the mid-1800s. Somewhere along the line these bitters were included in a mix for pleasure more than as an herbal remedy. However, the “cocktail” concept has existed out of necessity for a hundred years or more.

Simply put, cocktail bitters are the “salt & pepper” of your cocktail. Can you eat a hamburger without pepper or salt? Of course. Can you make a pasta sauce without basil, thyme or other herbs and spices? Sure you can…but isn’t it more exciting when you utilize spice?

Cocktail bitters can take a spirit which is deeply hidden in a cocktail and bring it out vibrantly. When balancing a cocktail, the additional bitters will enhance the potency and alcohol within the drink. The herbal tinctures within the bitters help drive some spirits center stage; it’s not because of the high proof concentration of the bitters, but the process of its integration that pops the spirit to the front.

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Common Man Cocktails, inspired by Derrick Schommer’s intimidation when opening a cocktail book, is designed to show viewers how to create some of the most common cocktails to advanced crazy cocktails and to look back at the classics of yesterday. Derrick has learned as he goes and has been actively creating five recipes a week on the channel for over six years, lots of content to keep you entertained for hours!

CMC will teach you how to make some great cocktail designs, give you ideas for new cocktails and introduce you to the latest spirits, liqueurs, syrups, barware and bitters. If you’re looking to become a cocktail enthusiast or need new ideas for your bartending trade, CMC is a great place to start.

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