Every bartender knows that a dash of bitters adds subtle flavor to any cocktail, and when it comes to buying the best bitters in L.A., they head to Silver Lake's Bar Keeper.
Bitters are often used in classic cocktails like the Sazerac, which you see everywhere these days, or with soda water to settle an upset stomach. Because of its potency, it's more like a seasoning for a drink--a few drops will add complexity to anything, from Champagne cocktails to rum punch.
Bar Keeper, the self-proclaimed "head shop" for mixologists, has one of the largest selections of bitters in town. You'll find the familiar Angostura and the hard-to-find Bitter Truth, as well as flavors ranging from the traditional herbal blends to fruits like cherry, orange and peach. How do you choose? Hit the bitters tasting bar.
Put a few drops in a plastic cup and compare Fee Brothers lemon and grapefruit to see which has more citrusy zing, or find out why rhubarb is a top seller (its funky, rich flavor is hard to place). No Bloody Mary should be without celery bitters, and there's even a new mole-like Aztec Chocolate flavor that will spice up any Manhattan.
Prices range from $6 to $19, which is quite the investment--one bottle lasts for years.
Bar Keeper, 3910 W. Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake; 323-669-1675 or barkeepersilverlake.com