10 Unique Ways to Use Bitters – Besides Cocktails!
Sometimes obsessions come from hearing about a new superfood or key ingredient we didn’t know we needed. Other times it’s from discovering an old classic we had written off as a one-use wonder can do more than we ever imagined.
As we approach Fall and start needing more cozy in our lives, we’re loving bitters – you heard that right – and the many uses this simple, tried and true ingredient have to offer. Most of us know they’re fantastic for cocktails, but bitters can be used for a variety of recipes as an easy upgrade, providing a complexity and depth of flavour far beyond our expectations.
Today we’re sharing the top ten food and drinks you need to try adding bitters to!
In Whipping Cream
If you’re a fan of adding a dollop of whipped cream to desserts, lattes, or fresh fruits, get yourself some bitters ASAP.
Not only do they accompany and cut the sweetest of the cream perfectly (including dairy-free versions!), but using different flavour combos can turn a quick dessert into something that creates an experience !
We love playing with flavours like lime, orange, and ginger for sweet treats. Add a few drops to heavy cream before whipping it, or mix in with the pre-whipped variety and use it on truffles, baked goods, or our personal favourite; accompanying a warm slice of pie on cold fall night. YUM!
In Your Morning Coffee or Tea
A few drops of bitters in your morning coffee or tea can shake up your most necessary but mundane drink of the day. We especially recommend this if you add dairy or nondairy milk and sweetener to your brew, as bitters help balance sweetness perfectly (we especially love them in a London Fog – earl grey tea with cream). Remember, a few drops go a long way, so try adding one drop at a time until you reach your desired intensity.
In Fruit Salad
A good Fall fruit salad, especially around the holidays is a thing of beauty. It’s a great way to get that oh-so-necessary dessert course without the added bulk of baked goods. A few shakes of aromatic or ginger bitters cuts the sweetness and adds a subtle complexity to fruit salads that will have your guests begging for the recipe.
One of the easiest and fool-proof ways to use bitters is when baking. Any recipe that calls for extracts can be swapped out with bitters, but you may consider cutting down the amount to ½ or ¾ of the required extracts to start. Either use complimentary flavours (like orange or lime where calling for lemon extract), or try your own combos and flavour pairings to create unique recipe.
As a Digestive Aid
The little liquid that could! Bitters can also be used to kick-start your digestive system, because of our bodies response to bitter flavours (jump starting it’s natural detox process). Taking 6-8 drops of bitters right on the tongue can work as a mild digestive aid, flushing out toxins and prepping the body for hard to digest foods. Try it before a big meal or those upcoming holiday parties!
Popcorn is possibly the easiest snack food to customize! Work a few drops of aromatic bitters into melted butter or ghee and drizzle over popcorn for pleasant twist on the traditional movie-night snack. The best part is that because of the bitters complex flavour, you won’t even need the added salt!
In your Favourite Drink
We have yet to think of a drink that bitters won’t enhance. Try adding orange or lime to lemonade to enhance the citrusy goodness, ginger to your favourite kombucha flavour, aromatic or fruit flavours to flat or sparkling water, and try a few different flavour combos to your morning smoothies. For something more warming, add the flavour of your choice to hot apple cider, it cuts the syrupy sweetness juuuust right.
Mixed with Honey or Syrup
We love the contrast of bitters with sweetness! Think honey, agave, or your favourite syrup. Use the mixture on pancakes, in yogurt parfaits (we especially love pear or peach favours here), teas, or anywhere else you’d normally add a touch of sweetness.
If you’re struggling to find a way to spice up your tried-and-true marinades, look no further. Adding a drop of bitters to traditional marinade ingredients like olive oil, garlic, ginger, and pepper will give your chosen protein a rich and unique taste. We love trying flavour combos on everything from chicken, to fish, to steak or tofu. Letting your meal marinate overnight or longer will enhance the flavour, so try 1-2 drops first to see how you like the intensity.
In Salad Dressings
We’ve saved the best for last! If you’re a salad dressing purist and find yourself tiring of oil, vinegar or lemon, try adding a few drops of different flavours to compliment your salad. It’s a great way to mix up your salads without the excess waste and money of buying pre-packed dressings. It even gives you a chance to play with flavour combos without committing to buying an entire bottle of salad dressing.
How are you planning to use your new wonder ingredient this Fall?