Darcy O’Neil’s “Art of Drink” blog examines temperance images from the 1800s, the meaning of temperance, historical drinking and driving ads, and a couple of bitters labels for good measure. [more inside]
Bitters. This sharp-flavored, slightly medicinal liqueur, originally used as an aperitif, remains one of the defining ingredients in many classic cocktails, including the Manhattan, the Pink Gin, the Champagne Cocktail, and the Sazerac. Some popular herbal liqueurs, such as Campari and Jägermeister, are essentially just big bottles of bitters. But bitters had fallen on hard times, with most bars stocking only one brand, Angostura, or, if they were particularly sophisticated (or Southern), a second option, Peychaud's. Orange bitters, once an essential ingredient in the Martini, were forgotten and impossible to purchase. Times have changed, with companies such as Fee Brothers, Regan's, the Bitter Truth, and even Angostura, releasing their own versions of the orange stuff. In fact, bitters in enjoying something of a renaissance, with bars experimenting with making their own. Hobbyists, in the meanwhile, are reviving lost recipes.