bitter liqueurs and aromatized wines photo by jonathan gayman

Guide to Drinking 2016: 6 Best Bitter Bottles to Buy


Sweet-toothed Americans are increasingly embracing bitter flavors at the bar. Aperol spritzes are everywhere, and according to Randolfi’s head barman Jeffrey Moll, “No respectable home bar should be without Campari.” The pretty pink amaro and its compatriots are for more than your nightly Negroni. Bitter liqueurs and aromatized wines can be enjoyed simply poured over ice with a citrus twist or neat at room temp. We asked Moll, Planter’s House’s Ted Kilgore and Retreat Gastropub’s Tim Wiggins to tell us which bottles best bring out the bitter.


1. Amaro Sibilla is sweetened with honey but tastes boldly bitter and herbal – a siren song for the experienced amaro enthusiast. It’s great in complex cocktails. $54


2. Amaro Sibona boasts a sweet, baking spice-laced start with a smooth, slightly bitter, chocolate finish. Substitute it for Campari or sweet vermouth in your next Negroni. $30


3. Contratto Aperitif is easy to drink with prominent orange notes, like a more complex Aperol. Try mixing equal parts with a dry, sparkling white wine. $30


4. Amaro Nonino’s bittersweet caramel and baking spice notes are best on their own, rather than in a cocktail. Try as an aperitif over ice, or sip it neat after dinner. $50


5. Amaro di Angostura rolls around the palate with the spiced flavors of the classic Angostura bitters. Use in place of vermouth for an amped-up Manhattan. $22


6. Byrrh is a lightly bitter blend of young red wine and quinine. With an approachable flavor profile and price tag, it’s a safe start on your bitter journey. $18


All available at The Wine and Cheese Place in Clayton. 

Tags : Cocktails, Guide to Drinking