Any bar worth its rimming salt should be stocked with at least a couple of bottles of bitters. Sure, you can make a cocktail without them, but you can also roast a chicken without salt or pepper. Like these everyday seasonings, cocktail bitters add flavor and depth to almost any beverage, and making your own allows you to put a unique stamp on every cocktail you serve.
I urge you to think of bitters as a sort of “cocktail spice rack”, and to think of every cocktail as a choose-your-own-adventure type of situation. Homemade bitters are so easy to make (you just throw stuff in jars) that there’s no reason not to have a bottle to suit each and every one of your whims. Plus, they make great, super thoughtful gifts. (It’s September, everyone, which means it is just about time to start stressing about the holidays.)
No matter how good you think they would be, never try to eat the fruit soaked for bitters. 😉
If you find yourself at a bar unable to afford decent bourbon (or the well sludge is on happy hour) ask for a splash of aromatic bitters with your drink. Turns a really crappy bourbon into a mediocre-to-poor bourbon, and they’ll never upcharge you for it.
When you consider the tongue, what leaps to mind are the five canonical tastes – sweet, salt, bitter, sour, and umami. These sensations arise when receptors on the surface of taste bud cells are activated by your food, triggering nerve fibres that run to your brain and help generate the experience of a savoury roast or a fresh strawberry. But your tongue is more versatile than that. It’s also sensitive to temperature, pressure, and chemicals that mimic both of these things, which turn up in a number of foods. This peculiar latter group of sensations is called chemesthesis, and you probably experience some flavour of it every day.
Craving a stiff drink after the holiday weekend? Your desire to consume alcohol, as well as your body’s ability to break down the ethanol that makes you tipsy, dates back about 10 million years, researchers have discovered. The new finding not only helps shed light on the behavior of our primate ancestors, but also might explain why alcoholism—or even the craving for a single drink—exists in the first place.
…“You’d be a cheap date.” This easy inebriation, he says, would have been a disadvantage to the monkeys without the mutation, making them more easily get sick—or drunk—off fruit, enough so that they couldn’t defend their territory and seek out food. Primates with the new mutation could get more food, his group hypothesizes, and the gene was selected for in the human and chimpanzee lineage.