Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Bitters of the Month: Cranberry

Cranberry bitters is seriously red.  Color is a fun part of the cocktail hobby and it's good to find a less sweet red alternative to grenadine.  Otherwise, I wouldn't say the bitters bring a whole lot of flavor - sweet smelling but bitter to taste, not unlike actually cranberries, I suppose.  Still, it's not as strong as some of the other fruity bitters we have tried.

Bitters Battles: Angostura vs. Peychaud's

At last, we come to the final ingredient battle in our quest to build the ideal Manhattan.  Both Angostura and Peychaud's are gentian-based, though the former hits me with cinnamon hints, the latter with anise.  Let the testing begin...

Manhattan Battle #1: a tie

My wife couldn't say she disliked either and I had to agree.  This came as a bit of a surprise.  I saw Angostura as the clear favorite going in.  How about some of each?

Manhattan Battle #2: Angostura vs. Half Ang, Half Pey

For this test, I had to up my usual quantity to four dashes rather than three in order to achieve an even split.  This time we both agreed.

Winner: Angostura

Manhattan Battle #3: Peychaud's vs. Half Ang, Half Pey

It seemed only fair to try this one, too.

Winner: Peychaud's

There must be a winner.  None of this "see what you're in the mood for" stuff will do.  So, I argued for a slight edge to the Angostura.  Same consideration as with the orange: the Angostura simply has more flavor and that's a big part of what makes a Manhattan interesting.  My wife agreed.  And so...

Winner and Still Champion: Angostura

It's good to have a winner.  It's also good to know we have acceptable alternatives.

Interesting to note, this is the only one of the three ingredient battles where our original stand-by won out.

Here's our Manhattan all-star line up:

Ezra Brooks Rye
Boissiere Sweet Vermouth
Angostura Bitters
Luxardo Cherries

Someday, we may play around with the cherries but we're thoroughly in love with our current brand.


  1. I love reading about the testing process and the results. Glad you have a winner and some runners up that will work for you too. :)

  2. Did you check out my cocktail post from Sunday?

    I have some of those things in your picture!
    The bitters, for one.

  3. I've only own Angostura bitters. The red sounds interesting. But I'm more likely to just stick to the rye on the rocks. Lately, I've discovered "Redemption High Rye Bourbon" which I really like and think the name goes with my calling :).

    New blog:

    1. Oh yes, we get Redemption Rye here, though not that particular product. I hadn't thought about the connection to your line of work. Ha!