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15 Best Bitters For Manhattan Cocktail Ranked (2024)

Best Bitters For Manhattan 

Last Updated on March 12, 2024 by Lydia Martin

The Manhattan cocktail is a classic drink enjoyed over the years. Now, a crucial ingredient in this classic concoction is bitters. These little flavor powerhouses pack a punch and elevate the drink to a whole new level. 

But which bitters are the best for a killer Manhattan? 

Well, I’ve done some taste testing and research, and I’m here to share my thoughts on the top contenders. So grab your shaker or stirrer ’cause we’re about to mix it up!

Top 15 Bitters To Spice Up Manhattan Cocktails 

15. Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters

Bottle of Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters

Average Price: approx. $19 per 5oz 

Why We Use It: Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters is a unique and flavorful option when it comes to bitters, especially in Manhattan. 

We like these bitters as traditional Mexican mole sauces inspire them. So, it brings a rich and complex taste to Manhattan. 

14. Dale DeGroff’s Pimento Bitters

Bottle of Dale DeGroff's Pimento Bitters

Average Price: approx. $16/5oz

Why We Use It: Dale DeGroff’s Pimento Bitters is an interesting option to consider when making a Manhattan cocktail. 

We prefer these bitters for their unique flavor profile, including notes of pimento (also known as allspice), cloves, and other warm spices.

13. Woodford Reserve Spiced Cherry Bitters

Person Holding Woodford Reserve Spiced Cherry Bitters

Average Price: approx. $13/2oz 

Why We Use It: Woodford Reserve Spiced Cherry Bitters is a delightful choice to incorporate into a Manhattan cocktail for its rich, fruity, and slightly spicy character. 

Its cherry flavor adds a touch of sweetness and tang, while the spices contribute warmth and complexity to the overall taste profile. 

12. The Bitter Housewife Aromatic Bitters

Average Price: approx. $14/100ml 

Why We Use It: The Bitter Housewife Aromatic Bitters are specifically formulated to add depth, complexity, and a balance of flavors to cocktails. 

We recommend The Bitter Housewife aromatic bitters for its blend of botanicals, herbs, and spices, which contribute to the distinctive taste profile of a Manhattan.

11. Fee Brothers Old Fashion Aromatic Bitters

Bottle of Fee Brothers Old Fashion Aromatic Bitters with Glasses

Average Price: approx. $18/5oz

Why We Use It: Fee Brothers Old Fashion Aromatic Bitters has a rich and complex flavor profile. It contains a blend of herbs, spices, and botanicals, creating a unique in Manhattan.

So, if you want to add a pleasant bitterness, depth, and a hint of spice to your cocktails, we highly recommend using Fee Brothers. 

10. Dashfire Vintage Orange No. 1 Bitters

Dashfire Vintage Orange No. 1 with Bottles of Bitters in Different Brands on the Back

Average Price: approx. $18/50ml 

Why We Use It: Dashfire Vintage Orange No. 1 Bitters, a small-batch artisanal bitters, comprises high-quality ingredients. 

“Ten cocktails are contained in the recipe section of Thomas’s 1862 book, and all of them contain bitters. Indeed, it would be decades before anyone dared give the name cocktail to a drink made without this ingredient. – Gary Regan Bartender/Bar Writer

These bitters have a vibrant and nostalgic orange flavor profile, imparting a citrusy burst and subtle hints of warm spices – perfect for adding a zesty twist to Manhattans.

9. Embitterment Orange Bitters

Average Price: approx. $12/3.4oz 

Why We Use It: Embitterment Orange Bitters is a top-notch product known for its exceptional flavor. It can give a delightful blend of zesty orange flavors and aromatic undertones.

A few drops in your Manhattan cocktail create a vibrant citrus profile, adding a burst of brightness and complexity.

8. Bittercube Trinity Bitters

Average Price: approx. $20/5oz 

Why We Use It: Bittercube Trinity Bitters is a remarkable creation with a unique blend combining three distinctive flavors: Bolivar, Cherry Bark Vanilla, and Orange Bitters. 

Bolivar imparts complex spice notes, Jamaica #1 adds tropical and fruity undertones, and Orange brings a bright citrus zest – that elevate cocktails, including the Manhattan, with depth and complexity.

7. Legendre Herbsaint Original Liqueur

Opening Bottle of Legendre Herbsaint Original Liqueur

Average Price: approx. $34/750ml 

Why We Use It: Legendre Herbsaint Original Liqueur is a venerable spirit with a rich history, embodying the flavors of anise, herbs, and botanicals. 

We like its vibrant green color with a complex profile, giving a balanced and refreshing experience. It adds a touch of herbal complexity to Manhattans. 

6. Hella Bitters Aromatic Bitters

Bottle of Hella Bitters Aromatic Bitters

Average Price: approx. $17/5oz 

Why We Use It: We like Hella Bitters because of its versatility and flavorful character. It boasts a balanced blend of aromatic botanicals and spices, creating a complex and robust profile. 

With notes of warm spices, herbs, and a touch of bitterness, it enhances the flavors of the classic Manhattan. Also, it has depths and a delightful twist. 

5. Regan’s Orange Bitters No. 6

Average Price: approx. $12/10oz

Why We Use It: Regan’s Orange Bitters No. 6 is a must-have ingredient for cocktails like a Manhattan. 

Its bright and vibrant orange flavor, with hints of citrus, herbs, and spices, brings cocktails a zesty and aromatic character. 

Perfect for adding a refreshing twist to classics, Regan’s Orange Bitters No. 6 is one of the beloved choices among mixologists [1] seeking a burst of citrusy goodness.

4. Scrappy’s Aromatic Bitters

Woman Holding Scrappy's Aromatic Bitters

Average Price: approx. $23/150ml 

Why We Use It: We like Scrappy’s Aromatic Bitters for its carefully curated blend of herbs and spices. 

It exudes a rich and complex flavor profile, providing a perfect balance of bitterness, warmth, and aromatic notes, elevating the taste of classic cocktails like the Manhattan. 

We suggest adding a few dashes of Scrappy’s Aromatic Bitters to your Manhattan for depth and sophistication.

3. The Bitter Truth Chocolate Bitters

Average Price: approx. $20/200ml 

Why We Use It: If you want a decadent and indulgent addition to your Manhattan, the Bitter Truth Chocolate Bitters can be your best bet. 

We prefer these bitters if we want something chocolatey in our drink. It boasts the right balance of sweetness and bitterness while adding a velvety, smooth texture and a luxurious depth of flavor to drinks. 

2. Peychaud’s Bitters

Bottle of Peychaud's Bitters

Average Price: approx. $11/10oz 

Why We Use It: Peychaud’s Bitters, a timeless classic, adds a touch of New Orleans charm to cocktails. We like how it’s crafted with a unique combo of herbs, spices, and a hint of anise.

So, it makes cocktails [2], like the Manhattan, slightly sweet with delicate floral notes. Also, Peychaud’s Bitters bring a touch of history and complexity to your libations.

Read: Peychaud vs Angostura

1. Angostura Aromatic Bitters

Man Opening Bottle of Angostura Aromatic Bitters

Average Price: approx. $13/4oz

Why We Use It: Angostura Aromatic Bitters is a legendary staple in the cocktail world. It gives a rich and distinctive flavor profile with a robust blend of herbs, spices, cinnamon, and tamarind. 

“Unlocking the perfect balance in a Manhattan, the dance of flavors begins with the selection of bitters, where the art of mixology intertwines with the soul of this classic cocktail, revealing the secret to a harmonious union of sweetness, depth, and complexity.” – Liquor Laboratory

With citrus notes and a hint of bitterness, it improves the balance of flavors – whether in a classic Manhattan drink [3] or other libations. 

Among the best bitters, Angostura remains an essential ingredient for creating timeless and flavorful drinks.

FAQs Related to Best Bitters for Manhattan

What are the best bitters to use in a Manhattan cocktail?

The best bitters for a Manhattan cocktail often include aromatic bitters, with Angostura Bitters being the traditional choice. However, some variations use other types of bitters to add unique flavor profiles.

Why are bitters important in a Manhattan cocktail?

Bitters play a crucial role in a Manhattan cocktail by adding depth, complexity, and balance to the drink. They enhance the flavors of the whiskey or bourbon and vermouth, resulting in a well-rounded and aromatic cocktail.

What is Angostura Bitters, and why is it commonly used in Manhattan cocktails?

Angostura Bitters is a concentrated bitters made from a blend of herbs, spices, and botanicals. It’s commonly used in Manhattan cocktails because of its versatile flavor profile, which adds depth and complexity without overpowering the other ingredients.

Are there any alternatives to Angostura Bitters for making a Manhattan cocktail?

Yes, while Angostura Bitters is the traditional choice for Manhattan cocktails, there are other bitters options available that can be used to customize the drink. Some alternatives include Peychaud’s Bitters, which adds a slightly sweeter and lighter profile, or orange bitters for a citrusy twist.

What are some unique bitters options to experiment with in a Manhattan cocktail?

Some unique bitters options to experiment with in a Manhattan cocktail include cherry bitters, chocolate bitters, or tobacco bitters. These specialty bitters can add interesting flavor dimensions and elevate the complexity of the drink.

Can I mix different types of bitters in a Manhattan cocktail?

Yes, mixing different types of bitters in a Manhattan cocktail can be a fun way to customize the flavor profile to suit your preferences. Experimenting with various bitters combinations can lead to discovering unique and delicious variations of the classic cocktail.

Wrapping Up

When it comes to choosing the best bitters for a Manhattan, it ultimately depends on personal preference and desired flavor profile. 

However, some popular options include Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters, Dale DeGroff’s Pimento Bitters, and Woodford Reserve Spiced Cherry Bitters.

But based on our taste tests, the Angostura Bitters always stand out from the rest. It has a perfect balance, depth, and flavor, adding depth and complexity to the classic Manhattan cocktail.   

References:

  1. https://www.thedailymeal.com/1198940/the-expertise-difference-between-mixologists-and-bartenders/ 
  2. https://recipes.howstuffworks.com/5-things-you-didnt-know-cocktails-bartending.htm 
  3. https://www.esquire.com/food-drink/drinks/recipes/a3713/manhattan-drink-recipe/ 
  4. https://www.britannica.com/topic/whiskey 
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