Feature

2012 Cocktail Trend: Bitters – Not Just in an Old-Fashioned

Food Trends 2012 Header

PBS shines a light on latest food trends in 2012 thus far. We set out to see what is new in the culinary world and what the near future looks like for foodies, so we spoke with esteemed chefs and culinary professionals across the country to get their insight on this phenomenon.

Old-Fashioned Cocktail

Bitters are becoming a popular cocktail ingredient in 2012. FInd out why more and more people are ordering an Old-Fashioned. Photo Credit: Reese C. Lloyd, Flickr

Follow PBS Food on Pinterest

By Alex Fishler

This featured ingredient in an Old-Fashioned cocktail is making its way back behind the bar as more and more people are treating themselves to bitters.

Bitters are alcoholic beverages flavored with herbs and get their name from their strong, bitter taste.

Chef Dan Van Rite of Hinterland, a gastropub in Milwaukee, listed bitters as a hot drink of 2012 along with craft beers and coconut water.

William Kovel, chef and owner of Catalyst in Boston, agreed with Van Rite and said he is a personal fan of bitters, himself.

“[In] summer, Aperol and other bitters make a refreshing drink, in my opinion,” he said.

The refreshing drink works well on its own and mixed with other flavors.

Tandy Wilson, chef and owner of City House in Nashville, Tenn., said one of the more common drinks he has been seeing lately in his restaurant is a concoction, called White Whiskey, that includes bitters.

“White Whiskey is very popular right now. We are finding good ones from Corsair Wry Moon and Prichard’s Lincoln County Lightning. We serve them straight and The Junior where we mix it with lemon bitters Dr. Enuf, Lemon and Crème de Violette,” he said.

Some restaurants are taking bitters a step further and not only serving them but making their own.

“We’re making our own bitters and a big part of our beverage menu since opening are our sweet and sour drinking vinegars for both cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks,” said Josef Centeno, chef and owner of Bäco Mercat in Los Angeles.

Bäco Mercat is taking a step forward to get ahead of this trend by making these drinks in the restaurant to stand out from its competition.

Chefs Featured in This Article

Dan Van RiteChef Dan Van Rite is the executive chef at Hinterland in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was a 2011-2012 nominee for the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Midwest.

William KovelChef William Kovel is the head chef and owner of Catalyst in Boston, Massachusetts. He was named one of Boston’s “Chefs to Watch” by Boston Magazine.

Tandy WilsonChef Tandy Wilson opened City House in Nashville, Tennessee in December 2007. He is a 2011-2012 nominee for the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Southeast.

Josef CentenoChef Josef Centeno is the owner and chef of Bӓco Mercat in Los Angeles, California. He was nominated for the 2012 James Beard Award for Best Chef: Pacific.