Try Bitters And Soda For A Smooth Drink When You Don't Really Want A Cocktail

Whether you are stepping up as designated driver or simply not in the mood, there are many instances in which you may not wish to consume an alcoholic beverage. That doesn't mean you don't want something fun to sip, however, and while mocktails are becoming more sophisticated, they aren't always available. In these scenarios, we recommend mixing bitters and soda for a bracing yet smooth drink that satisfies your palate while keeping your mind clear.

Bitters are a type of culinary tincture primarily used for cocktail making. They are the result of steeping fruit, herbs, and other botanicals in a high-proof, neutral alcohol in order to infuse it with flavor. As a result, they have a strong taste that is primarily very bitter, along with notes of whichever botanicals were used in the making of the tincture. The addition of bitters to a drink like soda makes for a more well-rounded and complex beverage, curbing sweetness and stimulating the senses. Due to their powerful flavor, only a small amount needs to be added to a drink in order for bitters to be appreciated. This in turn means that the diluted alcohol content of the finished beverage is so low it is considered negligible. That said, if you have an allergy to alcohol-based ingredients or need to avoid them for other reasons, bitters are not for you.

How to make a bitters and soda

Before you make a bitters and soda, you will first need to select which bitters you want to use. There are many types, each with a distinct flavor profile from a unique blend of ingredients. Popular bitters include Angostura, which have a warm and spicy profile with notes of clove and cinnamon; orange bitters, which have a predictably citrusy taste; and Peychaud's, which are mildly sweet with notes of cherry. To make this drink, add a few dashes directly into soda water, then stir — a dash equates to about ⅛ teaspoon. In just a few moments, your beverage is ready to enjoy.

While a classic bitters and soda is made exclusively with soda water, you can make yourself an even more creative version by combining bitters with flavored soft drinks. Try cola with Angostura to see how the spices enhance the caramel notes in the soda. Add orange bitters to a cream soda for a more sophisticated take on a creamsicle, or Peychaud's bitters to a lemon-lime soda for a grown-up beverage reminiscent of a Shirley Temple. Once you find the right combination for you, you'll know exactly what to reach for when you're not in the mood for the stronger stuff.