kelly magyarics

washington, d.c.-based wine, spirits, travel & lifestyle writer / wine educator


Better with Bitters

Lately, I've really been getting into bitters--not just Angostura and Peychaud's, but the myriad of flavored ones out there, from peach, to orange, lemon and grapefruit. It's amazing what just a drop or two can do to add complexity to a cocktail, making it taste more like something you got at your favorite bar or restaurant, and less like something you whipped up at home.

Stirrings' blood orange bitters is enjoyably bitter, with a nice flavor of orange peel and a touch of sweet spiciness. Since I love Campari, and its tongue-numbing bitterness, this blood orange bitter seemed almost mild to me, like I could also drink it with soda over ice. So I wanted to find a cocktail recipe that used a decent amount of it, not just a dash like so many recipes call for.

A check of Cocktail DB's website (a great online reference, by the way), gave me the Bluejacket:

1.5 oz. dry gin
3/4 oz. Blue Curacao
3/4 oz. orange bitters (the recipe called for Gordon's, but we used the Stirrings Blood Orange Bitters)

Shake with ice, serve in a cocktail glass.

The bitters countered the Curacao's overt sweetness, and both citrus flavors married well with the gin. The color was cool, too--a true turquoise, reminiscent of the gorgeous waters you sometimes find in the Caribbean. (The bitters darkened the Curacao's blue a bit).

For more info about Stirrings bitters, go to their website.