Level Up Your Labor Day Recipes With This Bar Cart Staple

Level Up Your Labor Day Recipes With This Bar Cart Staple

We’ve teamed up with ANGOSTURA® bitters to send off summer in style—with plenty of bitters-filled beverages and snacks, of course. This centuries-old spirits brand has inspired iconic recipes since 1824, from the Old Fashioned to the Manhattan.

When temperatures rise, we all crave cool treats, but the key to enjoying all the sweet summer staples is balance. That’s where bitters come into play. Once considered a medicinal cure-all, ANGOSTURA® aromatic bitters quickly made their way from the pharmacy to the back bar during the early nineteenth-century. And thankfully, that’s where the bitters have remained for nearly 200 years, helping harmonize our cocktails and spice up ordinary dishes along the way. To celebrate the unofficial end-of-summer, here are a few easy ways to shake up your Labor Day menu with bitters.

Unlike other outdated Labor Day rules (wear white whenever you want to, gah!), serving up a classic cocktail like the Old Fashioned is always in vogue. The key to keeping retro beverages fresh is to highlight the bitters. The ANGOSTURA® recipe for an Old Fashioned is a great example as it uses not one, but two types of bitters. In a rocks glass, add 2 ounces bourbon, ¼ ounce simple syrup, a splash of water, 2 dashes ANGOSTURA® aromatic bitters, and 1 dash ANGOSTURA® orange bitters. Add ice and garnish with a fresh twist of orange peel. For a refreshing take that’s especially great for hot weather, give this formula the highball treatment by serving the drink in a Collins glass filled with ice and topping off with club soda.

An extra dose of bitters works just as well in other classic drinks, too:

  • Rum-Based Daiquiri: Add 3 dashes of aromatic bitters into the cocktail shaker.
  • Minty Mojito: Add 6 dashes of cocoa bitters along with the rum, then muddle, serve, and thank us later.
  • Negroni: Add at least 2 dashes of orange bitters to the glass before stirring, or more to taste.
  • Watermelon Agua Fresca: Add 16 to 20 dashes of ANGOSTURA® aromatic bitters to a batch of this festive low-proof sip.

Don’t put those bitters bottles away just yet; we’ve got sides to spruce up. After ANGOSTURA® proved to be the salt and pepper of the cocktail world, consumers realized how bitters could add flavor and depth to food, too. Even common side dishes can be made exceptional with a few dashes of bitters, made with their bespoke percolation process. As a basic rule, you can add bitters whenever you’re adding other liquids in a recipe, be it a filling, vinaigrette, or dip.

For example, ANGOSTURA® aromatic bitters bring out the best in deviled eggs—simply mix a teaspoon of bitters with the mayonnaise before adding the rest of the ingredients. Grandma’s classic eggplant dip gains a bit of contemporary pep with 15 dashes of ANGOSTURA® cocoa bitters stirred in at the end along with the olive oil and vinegar. And while I enjoy adding bitters to most salad dressing recipes, this seasonal shaved melon and nectarine salad is practically begging for a few dashes of ANGOSTURA® orange bitters to be added to the cardamom and lemon juice drizzle.

Photo by Julia Gartland. Prop Stylist: Megan Hedgpeth. Food Stylist: Monica Pierini.

One summery treat that has certainly stood the test of time is a good ol’ refreshing Italian Ice (made with any fruit, really) whose summery sweetness is tempered with a generous 2 teaspoons of any of the three ANGOSTURA® flavors. Add the bitters to the fruit mixture before freezing, or add a few dashes on top after serving like a snow cone for adults. Individual cups of chilled chocolate pudding go from grade school to grown-up with a teaspoon of ANGOSTURA® cocoa bitters stirred in along with all the other ingredients in a saucepan after thickening. A trifle—the perfectly imperfect summer dessert—is really just a great vehicle for bitters of all kinds (but fruit and cream pair especially well with the orange bitters if you ask me). Use up your end-of-season produce for a late summer trifle by tossing with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of your favorite bitters before roasting, then layer to your heart’s content. Here’s to the bitter(s) end of summer!

What recipes are you whipping up with ANGOSTURA® bitters this Labor Day Weekend?

Our friends at ANGOSTURA® have the aromatic bitters you need to shake up all sorts of cocktails, from a classic Old Fashioned to a trendy Espresso Martini. The Siegert family bottled the first of their bitters in 1824 and the tradition was passed down through the generations, evolving into the modern line of products that includes the original recipe, cocoa and orange bitters, and even an amaro.

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