21 Bitter Cocktails That Will Leave You Wanting More

21 Best Bitter Cocktails

As a bartender, I've seen it all – the sweet, the sour, and the boozy. But there's one flavor profile that I've come to appreciate the most – bitterness.

It's that sharp, tangy taste that hits the back of your tongue and makes you pucker up. And while some may shy away from it, I'm here to tell you that it's worth exploring.

Bitterness is often associated with medicinal qualities – think of the bitterness of tonic water or the herbal notes in amaro.

But when used correctly in cocktails, it can add a depth of flavor that can't be achieved with just sweet or sour ingredients. It can balance out the sweetness and add complexity to a drink.

So, let's talk about some of the best bitter cocktail recipes out there. From classics to modern twists, there's a bitter cocktail for every palate.

Whether you're a fan of gin or prefer whiskey, there's a recipe that will suit your tastes. So, grab a shaker and let's get mixing.

1. The Trinidad Sour

The Trinidad Sour

The Trinidad Sour is a modern classic cocktail that defies expectations with its use of an unprecedented amount of Angostura bitters. Created by bartender Giuseppe Gonzalez in 2009, this cocktail also features orgeat syrup, lemon juice, and whiskey.

Despite its unusual ingredient list, the Trinidad Sour is surprisingly balanced with sour, complex, and herbal notes, finishing with a bitter kick. This cocktail is perfect for impressing well-versed drinkers and is not recommended for serving a crowd due to its high bitters content. If you're a fan of bitter cocktails or looking to try something new, the Trinidad Sour is definitely worth a taste.

2. Gin and Bitters Cocktail

Gin And Bitters Cocktail

The Gin and Bitters Cocktail is a classic drink that adds a twist to the traditional Gin and Tonic. By adding bitters, you can amplify the flavor of your garnish and create a unique and delicious cocktail.

Bitters are intense flavors in a liquor base that have a long history of medicinal use. The possibilities for flavor combinations are endless, making this cocktail a versatile and customizable choice.

3. Lemon Lime and Bitters

Lemon Lime And Bitters

Lemon Lime and Bitters is a refreshing and popular drink in New Zealand and Australia. It is a non-alcoholic cocktail made with lemonade or lime cordial, lime juice, and a few drops of Angostura Bitters. The bitters add a distinctive flavor to the drink, making it a favorite among many.

Originally created as an alcohol-free version of 'pink gin,' this cocktail has become a staple in many bars and restaurants. It is perfect for a hot summer day, and the addition of lemon and lime slices as garnish makes it visually appealing as well. If you're looking for a refreshing and unique cocktail, Lemon Lime and Bitters is definitely worth a try.

4. The Salvation Cocktail

The Salvation Cocktail

The Salvation Cocktail is a unique and refreshing gin-based cocktail that features the unusual flavor of celery bitters. Inspired by a visit to Heartwood Provisions in Seattle, this cocktail is perfect for those who want to try something new and exciting. The recipe calls for simple syrup, which is easy to make at home, and can be customized with your favorite brand of gin.

The cocktail is perfect for a celebration or a special occasion, and is sure to impress your guests with its complex flavors and beautiful presentation. If you're looking for a bitter cocktail that's a little bit different, The Salvation Cocktail is definitely worth a try.

5. Citrus-Ginger Spritzer

Citrus-Ginger Spritzer

The Citrus-Ginger Spritzer is a refreshing and light cocktail perfect for those looking for a low-proof option. This cocktail incorporates ANGOSTURA orange bitters, which adds a complex blend of orange citrus oils and tropical spices to balance the tangy ginger with sweet fruit flavors.

The combination of orange, pineapple, and lime juice with ginger beer creates a deliciously bubbly drink that is perfect for sipping during hot summer days. The garnish of an orange slice and a sprig of fresh mint adds a beautiful touch to the drink. Overall, the Citrus-Ginger Spritzer is a must-try for those looking for a refreshing and flavorful low-proof cocktail.

6. Manhattan


The Manhattan is a classic cocktail made with whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters, with a hint of orange and cherry. It's a versatile drink that can be made with rye, bourbon, or Canadian whiskey.

Bitters add a unique flavor to the drink, and it's a perfect drink for any occasion. The Manhattan is a timeless classic cocktail that everyone should try at least once in their life.

7. Vampire Cynar Negroni

Vampire Cynar Negroni

The Vampire Cynar Negroni is a spooky twist on the classic Negroni cocktail, perfect for Halloween parties. It uses St. George Distilling's Dry Rye Reposado Gin as a base, with Cynar adding sweetness and a midnight color.

Strawberry-infused Campari brings out the bitter note, while a smoking sprig of rosemary adds a toasty herbal note. Dry ice creates a fog in the cocktail, adding a fun Halloween flair. Overall, it's a unique and delicious bitter cocktail that is sure to impress your guests.

8. The Black Manhattan Cocktail

The Black Manhattan Cocktail

The Black Manhattan Cocktail is a modern twist on the classic Manhattan cocktail. It's made with bittersweet Averna amaro instead of sweet vermouth, which gives it a unique flavor profile. It's perfect for fall with its spicy flavor profile.

It's a great choice for those who want to slow down and savor the balance and notes of the cocktail. If you're a fan of bitter cocktails, make sure to add the Black Manhattan Cocktail to your list of must-try drinks.

9. Cranberry Old Fashioned

Cranberry Old Fashioned

The Cranberry Old Fashioned is a classic cocktail with a holiday twist. Made with American Honey Whiskey, cranberry juice, and a few dashes of Angostura Bitters, this cocktail is perfect for holiday parties.

The smooth blend of bourbon and honey in the whiskey pairs perfectly with the tartness of the cranberry juice, while the bitters balance out the flavors. This cocktail is easy to make and is sure to impress your guests. Whether you're a whiskey lover or not, the Cranberry Old Fashioned is a must-try cocktail that will leave you wanting more.

10. Manhattan Cocktail

Manhattan Cocktail

The Manhattan Cocktail is a classic bourbon drink that exudes sophistication and refinement. Made with just a few simple ingredients – bourbon, sweet vermouth, and Angostura bitters – this cocktail is not overly sweet and packs a punch.

Served in a cocktail glass with a maraschino cherry and orange peel garnish, it's a drink that is both elegant and easy to make. While the recipe allows for the use of rye or Canadian whiskey, bourbon is the traditional choice for this cocktail. The Manhattan Cocktail is a must-try for anyone looking for a simple yet sophisticated drink that is sure to impress.

11. Bitter Heartbreak

Bitter Heartbreak

Looking for a cocktail that will make your taste buds dance? Look no further than the Bitter Heartbreak. This Valentine's Day-inspired cocktail features a Cinnamon Hearts Simple Syrup, Rye whiskey, Cynar, and grapefruit juice, all topped off with a luxurious foam from the egg white.

The Cynar brings a strong, bitter flavor that is balanced out by the sweetness of the Cinnamon Hearts Simple Syrup and the tartness of the grapefruit juice. The Rye whiskey adds a spicy kick that lingers on the palate. The cinnamon heart rim adds a festive touch to this already delicious cocktail. Don't miss out on this unique and flavorful drink.

12. Italian Amaro Cocktail

Italian Amaro Cocktail

The Italian Amaro Cocktail is a refreshing and complex cocktail that's perfect for summer. Made with Averna Amaro, gin, lime juice, sugar, and smashed mint, this cocktail has a bittersweet finish that's full-bodied and refreshing. The addition of fizzy ginger beer adds a spicy kick that's perfectly balanced with the other ingredients.

Averna Amaro is a classic Italian digestif that's made from herbs, roots, and citrus, giving it a mild bitterness that adds depth to any cocktail. This cocktail is easy to make and doesn't require any special syrups or hard to find ingredients. If you're looking for a unique and refreshing cocktail to try this summer, the Italian Amaro Cocktail is definitely worth a try.

13. Old Fashioned

Old Fashioned

The Old Fashioned is a classic whiskey-based cocktail that has been enjoyed for over a century. It's sweetened with a rich simple syrup and flavored with aromatic bitters. The character of the bourbon used in the drink determines its sweetness and alcohol kick.

The Old Fashioned is perfect for those who appreciate the simplicity of a well-made cocktail. Its popularity has only grown over the years, and it remains a favorite among cocktail enthusiasts.

14. Cuban Old Fashioned

Cuban Old Fashioned

The Cuban Old Fashioned is a unique twist on the classic old fashioned cocktail that will impress bourbon and coffee lovers alike. Made with Cuban coffee, bitters, and bourbon, this cocktail has a strong, nutty, slightly spicy, and sweet taste that is sure to satisfy your taste buds.

The use of Old Forester 86 Proof Bourbon adds a bold yet smooth taste to the cocktail. While the recipe suggests using Cuban coffee, any strong brewed espresso or cold brew coffee can be used. This cocktail is perfect for those looking for a caffeine kick in their cocktail. If you're a fan of bourbon and coffee, the Cuban Old Fashioned is definitely worth trying.

15. Old Fashioned Paloma

Old Fashioned Paloma

The Old Fashioned Paloma is a refreshing whiskey cocktail that combines the best of two classic cocktails – the Paloma and the Old Fashioned. This highball features the flavors of bourbon and crisp grapefruit, with a squeeze of lemon or lime to balance the sweetness.

A couple of dashes of Angostura bitters add an interesting twist to the cocktail. The result is an easy-sipping and versatile cocktail that is perfect for any season.

16. Old Fashioned Cocktail

Old Fashioned Cocktail

The Old Fashioned Cocktail is a classic and iconic drink that has stood the test of time. Sweetened with sugar and mixed with bourbon and angostura bitters, this cocktail is garnished with an orange twist and a Luxardo cherry, making it a perfect blend of sweet and bitter flavors.

While there are many variations of this cocktail, the Old Fashioned remains a favorite among cocktail enthusiasts. Its simple yet sophisticated taste is perfect for any occasion, whether it's a night out with friends or a cozy evening at home. If you're looking for a timeless and delicious bitter cocktail, the Old Fashioned is definitely worth a try.

17. Peking Cocktail

Peking Cocktail

The Peking Cocktail is a unique and refreshing drink that combines the flavors of rum, anise, lemon, and grenadine. The hint of anise flavor from the Pernod liqueur adds a subtle herbal note that blends perfectly with the other ingredients. Despite the inclusion of anise, even those who typically dislike the flavor will find themselves enjoying this sweet and tart cocktail.

The addition of vanilla provides a nice contrast to the grenadine, making it a well-balanced drink. This cocktail pairs well with a variety of dishes, including the Cinnamon Star Anise Citrus with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Rotisserie Chicken. If you're looking for a unique and flavorful bitter cocktail, the Peking Cocktail is definitely worth a try.

18. NOgroni


The Seedlip NOgroni is a non-alcoholic twist on the classic Negroni cocktail. Made with Seedlip Spice, Æcorn Bitter, and Æcorn Aromatic, this complex and bitter drink is a perfect alternative for those looking to abstain from alcohol without sacrificing flavor.

The NOgroni is easy to make and requires only a few tools, making it a great option for a quick and indulgent drink. With its rich and indulgent taste, the Seedlip NOgroni is a must-try for anyone looking for a non-alcoholic cocktail that doesn't compromise on flavor.

19. Delicious Chocolate Old Fashioned

Delicious Chocolate Old Fashioned

The Delicious Chocolate Old Fashioned is a perfect cocktail for those who love the combination of chocolate and bourbon. Ballotin Whiskey Original Chocolate is the star of this cocktail, adding a lush blend of dark chocolate notes and whiskey flavors to the classic old fashioned.

The addition of orange bitters gives a splash of citrus to the cocktail, while the chocolate rim and garnish make it extra fancy and decadent. This cocktail is perfect for National Chocolate Day or any occasion where you want to indulge in a delicious and unique bitter cocktail.

20. Stroopwafle S'mores Old Fashioned

Stroopwafle S'mores Old Fashioned

The Stroopwafle S'mores Old Fashioned is a unique twist on the classic Old Fashioned cocktail. This cocktail is infused with the sweet and caramel flavors of stroopwafle, a Dutch waffle cookie, and the smoky taste of mezcal. The toasted marshmallows add a touch of campfire nostalgia to the drink, while the chocolate bitters bring out the earthy flavors of the mezcal.

The result is a rich and complex cocktail that is perfect for sipping on a cold winter night. If you're looking for a bitter cocktail that is both familiar and unexpected, the Stroopwafle S'mores Old Fashioned is definitely worth a try.

21. Aperol Spritz

Aperol Spritz

The Aperol Spritz is a classic Italian aperitivo cocktail made with Aperol and prosecco. It's a refreshing and bright orange cocktail that's perfect for sipping on a hot summer day.

The cocktail has a distinct bitterness that's balanced out by the sweetness of the prosecco, making it a great introduction to bitter cocktails. The bright orange color is also a feast for the eyes, making it a great addition to any party or gathering.