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Pisco, Bitters, Lime juice, Simple syrup, Egg white
Gin, Dry vermouth, Orange bitters, Lemon zest
Gin, Sweet vermouth, Herbal liqueur, Campari, Maraschino cherry, Lemon peel
Bourbon, Bitters, Sugar, Lemon zest
Rhum Agricole, Allspice Dram, Apple cider, Salt, Apple
Blended Scotch, Dry vermouth, Cynar, Elderflower liqueur, Lemon peel
Cachaça, Dark rum, Falernum, Añejo rum, Orange bitters, Walnut Liqueur, Grapefruit juice, Lime juice
Añejo rum, Ginger liqueur, Sweet vermouth, Bitters, Orange peel
Jamaican rum, Light rum, Falernum, Triple sec, Absinthe, Bitters, Maraschino cherry, Lime juice
Gin, Maraschino Liqueur, Crème de Violette, Lemon juice

A Spontaneous Libation for your Consideration

From the Knowledge Vault

Craft Cocktail Making: Theory and Structure of Bitterness

So far we’ve investigated the role that acidity and sugar play in the creation of craft cocktails. While sugar predates acidity in cocktail history, these building blocks can be thought of as a pair – acidity and sugar directly oppose each other. When sugar overpowers acidity, drinks become cloying and heavy. With the reverse, drinks are tart, thin, and unpleasant. It is only when sweetness and acidity balance each other that a cocktail takes on a savory deliciousness that I call tension.

The sweet-sour balance is not the only way to create a craft cocktail. Before the invention of the sour family, cocktails were merely spirit, sugar, water and bitters. This category of drinks, now best exemplified by the Old Fashioned derives their deliciousness through the mitigating effects of sugar on the bitterness of wood-aged spirits and bitters.

The previous articles have stayed clear of any serious chemistry. Unfortunately, bitter and alcohol have a lot going on that needs some explanations, and chemistry provides the language. [editor: Nerd warning. Suck it up.]

Recent Additions

  • Interborough — Rye, Sweet vermouth, Maraschino Liqueur, Orange bitters, Pineapple Gum Syrup, Lemon juice, Orange juice, Orange peel, Maraschino cherry
  • Hey Heywood! — Gin, Pear liqueur, Herbal liqueur, Lemon juice
  • Washington Heights cocktail — Dominican Rum, Crème de Banane, Coffee liqueur, Bitters
  • MidwatchClive — Brandy, Crème de Cacao, Sake, Ancho Reyes chile liqueur, Crème Yvette, Half-and-half
  • Garlands — Whiskey, Aperol, Amaro, Coffee liqueur, Grapefruit juice

Recent Discussion

  • Re Entering a World of Pain, 6 hours 35 minutes ago HallA commented:

    I am liking this a lot. I would be careful with the proportions if you are using a sweet coffee liqueur like kahlua as the cognac and ramazotti along with that could maybe verge cloying. i made it with the reported spec using Mr. Black and it's really nicely balanced and has a nice contrast between the bitter and sweet elements.

  • Re Interborough, 10 hours 37 minutes ago Zachary Pearson commented:

    Curated this slightly. Added the orange bitters from the instructions and cleaned the instructions up a little - they don't need to recap the ingredients. Thanks, Zachary

  • Re Michigander, 1 day 7 hours ago fmoehl commented:

    Great drink. Lowered honey syrup to 1/2 oz. Used 1.25 oz. Calvados Fine. *****

  • Re Shadows & Tall Trees, 1 day 17 hours ago yarm commented:

    Made up on the fly for a guest who wanted "Fall in a glass" with Bourbon base (to replace a Bourbon drink we could no longer make from a previous season due to a specialty syrup).

  • Re Werewolf of London, 3 days 8 hours ago HallA commented:

    Shockingly good. Wonderful herbal / bitter / sweet balance with the nuttiness of the amontillado kind of rounding it out underneath.