Beyond the Bar: Other Uses for Bitters

Don't limit yours to the bar cart – a couple dashes can amp up iced coffee, stir fries, and more.

Bitters are an essential tool in any home bar, whether you're mixing any of the classic cocktails that call for the stuff or adding some punch to new creations. When you're making drinks, you can think of them as your booze's equivalent to a pepper grinder; they pair with nearly anything to amplify flavors and add a bit of spice.

But the applications don't end once you finish drinking – add a few drops of bitters into any of the below to appreciate just how versatile and delicious they are. But fair warning: you're gonna start to going through bottles a lot more quickly.


Try with: Angostura or herb-flavored bitters

A few drops will add a rich, herbal note to a savory soup. Try it the next time your bowl is tasting a little too bland.


Try with: Citrus or spice bitters

Add a teaspoon to your marinade for some extra punch. And if you can't decide what to put the marinade on, might we suggest any of these flavorful, underrated, and inexpensive steak cuts?

Stir fry

Try with: Pepper bitters

If your mix is tasting too bland and you want to add something besides more soy sauce, try bitters. They'll impart more complexity than a shake of salt or whatever spice is on hand.


Try with: Any kind of bitters

Pour yourself a glass of sparkling water, add a couple dashes of bitters, and boom: delicately flavored homemade soda. As a bonus, it makes for a more interesting bar order than a glass of water when you're not drinking.


Try with: Angostura bitters

The warm spice from the bitters works surprisingly well in a can of Coke, and also cut through some of the sugar.

Iced coffee

Try with: Angostura or hazelnut bitters

Seriously, this works. Just add a tiny amount to some concentrated cold brew, which is sweeter and stronger than the normal stuff. It'll add a subtle bite of spice to offset the coffee's bitterness.

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