Are there non-alcoholic bitters? Yes! We’ve listed the top 8 on the market plus we’re sharing a mocktail recipe to spice up your home bar (pun intended).
A great alcohol-free home bar is a mashup of some of the newest and most intriguing goodies, including non-alcoholic bitters. If you’re planning to construct an alcohol-free home bar, you should explore your options since most non-alcoholic cocktails contain a mix of spirits, shrubs, fruit juices, syrups, and bitters.
Making non-alcoholic cocktails is about coming up with fresh concoctions utilizing flavors you already adore and trying to recreate classic drinks like the Martini, Negroni and Old-Fashioned.
Table Of Contents
- Non-Alcoholic Bitters Substitutes
- Non-Alcoholic Bitters Recipe – Aromatic Bitters
- Mocktail Recipes Using Bitters
Bitters On Cocktails
Bitters are traditionally alcoholic beverages that have been blended or infused with spices and herbs to provide a distinctive flavor that improves cocktails. They are crucial to contemporary mixology because they enable beverages to taste incredibly complex with only a few shakes. This is due to the fact that they contain a wide variety of components and flavors.
Bitters have been used since the time of the ancient Egyptians, who would infuse the wine with therapeutic herbs. Though how these bitters were employed varied, the majority of evidence suggests that they were utilized to treat stomach problems. This is why many cultures around the world favor bitter-infused liqueurs and digestifs as the drink of choice following a substantial meal.
Angostura bitters, promoted as a therapeutic tonic in the middle of the 1800s, were the first bitters to be mass-produced. But today, cocktails are the most widely used application. You are undoubtedly already familiar with Angostura bitters if you’ve ever created an old-fashioned or a Manhattan.
Peychaud’s is another well-liked type of bitters. Peychaud’s are most recognized for their use in the Sazerac, which is the city of New Orleans’ signature drink. Antoine Peychaud, an apothecary in New Orleans, created Peychaud’s bitters in the 1830s. The Sazerac Company presently distributes the brand.
There are other types of bitters, which are made from different recipes. These include
- Orange bitters – Orange peel, gentian root, cassia bark, cascarilla, and cinchona are typical bitters constituents. In the 1860s and 1870s, cocktail bitters produced from orange peel were first made available. Beginning in the 1880s, cocktails like the original Dry Martini had orange bitters.
- Citrus bitters – Citrus bitters are frequently made from lime, lemon, and grapefruit. Some companies combine all of these citrus fruits in a single bottle of bitters, giving them a strong citrus fragrance. They go nicely with many different base spirits and mixed drinks.
- Celery bitters – However, bitters with a celery flavor have been used since the nineteenth century, with vastly different formulations. Modern varieties of celery bitters frequently contain celery seeds. These bitters are a must-try in savory drinks like Bloody Marys and Martinis with gin or tequila. Their vegetal and earthy undertones blend exceptionally well with lemon’s citrus aromas.
- Fruit bitters – In addition to citrus, stone fruits, drupes, and berries pair well with bitters. Fruit bitters give a dish a sweetness and a nod to the season. Seasonally appropriate fruits include cranberry bitters in the winter, cherry, plum, apricot, peach bitters in the summer, and pear and fig bitters in the fall.
- Chocolate bitters – Chocolate bitters are infused with cocoa and cacao. They go well with distilled spirits that have aged in barrels. Rich vanilla and coffee undertones in chocolate bitters accentuate the flavors that oak barrels on rye, bourbon, Anejo tequila, and black rum offer.
- Spiced bitters – Spicy bitters, made from dried chili peppers and blended with delicate botanical aromas, give cocktails a warm, nuanced heat that is controlled and well-balanced. Bittermens, Bittercube, and Hella Bitters are a few well-known brands of spicy bitters.
- Floral bitters – The flavors of jasmine, dandelion, lavender, hibiscus, and chamomile are all present in floral bitters. Cocktails produced with lighter spirits like vodka, gin, or tequila go well with these bitters.
Bitters & Alcohol
The majority of bitters have an alcohol concentration that ranges from 35 to 45% ABV (alcohol by volume). However, because they are used sparingly, the amount of alcohol they add to a drink is essentially insignificant.
Bitters are measured in dashes. Typically, 1 to 2 dashes are used. Drip bitters into the beverage, then give it a firm shake.
Two dashes of bitters, or 0.04 ounces, equal 1/4 teaspoon. When you multiply that by 0.45, the alcohol by volume, you get a meager 0.01 ounces of alcohol.
The flavor of bitters varies on the components used and the method used to make them, just like bourbon and rye are both types of whiskey but have distinctly different flavor profiles. It’s crucial to remember that not every cocktail made with bitters tastes strongly bitter.
Some cocktail bitters are glycerin-based but get their alcohol from flavoring. Alcohol is used as a medium to extract tastes from fruits, nuts, vegetables, and roots to obtain the most intense botanical flavors.
Consequently, the alcohol content is derived from the flavoring extraction process even if the base is glycerin, a liquid derived from plants that are colorless. Why do these companies utilize glycerin, then?
When alcohol and water combine to form a murky liquid, louching occurs.
Glycerin is a texturizing agent that retains oils and prevents this from happening. As a result, some manufacturers of cocktail bitters employ glycerin better to preserve the flavors, oils, and alcohol-water mixture.
Though they’re typically marketed as “non-alcoholic” products, most bitters today have anywhere from 35–45% alcohol by volume. This means that despite the bitters’ well-known flavor and health benefits, for those of us choosing to limit or eliminate alcohol from our lives, they present a bit of a conundrum.
Bitters fall into a gray area in the world of low and no-alcohol beverages since they tend to have a minuscule alcohol content when used sparingly in a drink, yet the alcohol is still present.
Even if your “mocktail” has one or two dashes of high-ABV bitters, most people still view it as non-alcoholic because we only utilize a few dashes of bitters in a cocktail recipe. The small amount of bitters we require for a cocktail recipe adds less than or about 1% alcohol, despite the fact that the entire bottle has a significant alcohol level.
Brands That Sell Non-Alcoholic Bitters
One of the essential components in practically every type of bitters is neutral alcohol. However, producing 100% non-alcoholic versions of traditional cocktails that use bitters for folks who don’t drink can be challenging.
Anyone who has ever consumed or created a cocktail is surely aware of the effect bitters can have on the harmony and complexity of a beverage. Do you know that different brands produce non-alcoholic bitters? They make them easier for you to craft your homemade mocktails!
Shop Non-Alcoholic Bitters
All The Bitter Non-Alcoholic Bitters
All The Bitter is a 100% non-alcoholic brand. The three flavors that All the Bitter provides are all wonderful. Try the New Orleans, a well-balanced, cherry-forward bitters that will pop in a wide range of beverages.
Their orange bitters, on the other hand, is comparable to any traditional alcoholic bitters and ideal for an Old Fashioned mocktail. The aroma is really powerful. It would add a delightful, woodsy bite of flavor to soda water or a non-alcoholic drink.
For more reference, watch this review of All The Bitter bitters that were used to make a non-alcoholic Trinidad Sour.
Dram Apothecary Alcohol Free Bitters
Look for glycerin-based bitters, like those from Dram Apothecary, to keep your drink alcohol-free. Palo santo, citrus, lavender lemon, wild mountain sage, “black” (which has notes of black cardamom and black tea), and “hair of the dog” are just a few of the herbal blends produced by the Colorado-based company. This collection includes miniature vials of each of these bitters (which includes notes of ginger, fennel, and cinnamon).
Fee Brothers Low Alcohol Bitters
Just a few dashes of Fee Brothers bitters give a ton of flavor and depth to a beverage. They come in a wide range of flavors, like black walnut and grapefruit. Two and a half ounces of Seedlip Spice 94, 25 milliliters of simple syrup, 50 milliliters of cranberry juice, and two dashes of Fee Brothers black-walnut bitters can be combined to create a straightforward low-alcohol cocktail recipe that you can prepare at home.
Although it is made of glycerin, some of its flavors may contain traces of alcohol. The amounts are comparable to those in mouthwash or vanilla extract.
El Guapo Non-Alcoholic Bitters
El Guapo non-alcoholic bitters, out of New Orleans Louisiana, uses the highest quality raw materials to create the best elixirs possible. Ingredients are regularly sourced from regional farmers and even family members. And, they work with the best spice importers in the business. Their bitters are 0% ABV. They do not use alcohol, instead using non-GMO vegetable-based glycerin. They built their own supply chain to source raw ingredients directly and made each product using a brewing process in their New Orleans manufacturing facility.
The Bitter Note Non-Alcoholic Bitters
The Bitter Note, non alcoholic bitters, is owned by Campari and is a combination of 40 botanicals. The Bitter Note is technically considered an apertivo but many bartenders use it as a bitter.
The Bitter Note range comprises:
- The Bitter Note – Peppermint, cinchona bark and juniper. Described as an alcohol-free amaro-style drink for the pre- and post-meal drinking occasions
- The Vibrant Note – Sichuan pepper, ginger and quassia. An alcohol-free aperitvo
- The Hidden Note – Zedoaria, mace and yellow gentian. Described as an “elixir”
Three variants of The Bitter Note are available with no or low alcohol. One of them contains no alcohol at all, while the other contains less than 0.5 percent. Unfortunately, the 0% version isn’t available in the US, however, you can order the bottle with less than 0.5 % online. We’ll have to keep an eye on this one.
Urban Moonshine Apple Cider Non-Alcoholic Bitters
Urban Moonshine is an apothecary company that produces bitters for therapeutic use. They made non-alcoholic bitters with an apple cider vinegar basis, even if most of their bitters contain some alcohol. It has very sour and earthy tones.
A small quantity of apple cider vinegar can offer just the appropriate amount of flavor, depending on the mocktail you’re making!
Stirrings Blood Orange Non-Alcoholic Bitters
The Stirrings blood orange non-alcoholic bitters has the blood orange bitters’ real fruit juice base, which the company refers to as a “blood orange juice cocktail mix from concentrate.” It can be used in any recipe in place of bitters, according to Stirrings.
Keep in mind that Stirrings’ Blood Orange Bitters are sweeter than other bitters, even though they still have a potent flavor while making your mocktails.
In 2021 Arkay announced the launch of its zero proof bitters. Although it’s not currently listed on the website nor is it included for sale in their traditional line-up of non-alcoholic drinks, it’s possible it was made in small batch or not made at all and only part of a market test. Regardless, it’s something we should keep our eyes peeled for.
How To Make Non-Alcoholic Bitters At Home
Non Alcoholic Bitters Recipe-Aromatic Bitters
- 4 Drops Cinnamon Oil
- 2 Drops Nutmeg Oil
- 2 Drops Black Pepper Oil
- 2 Drops All-Spice (Pimento) Oil
- 2 Drops Bitter Orange Oil
- 1 Drop Cardamom Oil
- 1 Drop Clove Oil
- 1/4 Tsp Polysorbate 80
- 1 Tbsp Caramel Coloring
- 1 Tsp Gum Arabic
- 2 Tbsp Sugar
- 3/4 Cup Warm Water
- In a 2 cup container, combine oils with ¼ teaspoon of Polysorbate 80 (a safe food-grade solubilizer that is used in all sorts of foods, like ice cream) and 1 tablespoon of caramel coloring. Set aside.
- Mix 1 teaspoon of gum Arabic with 2 tablespoons of sugar in a separate container that will hold at least 1 cup of liquid. Add warm water to the mixture.
- Add all ingredients together. Use an immersion blender to give the mixture a good spin to disperse the oils and get them into solution.
- Shelf stable in a cool dark place and enjoy for up to 12 months. As oxidation occurs the flavors will change slightly week over week.
Make Your Own Mocktails With Non-Alcoholic Bitters
Along with the standard alcoholic alternatives, bars are increasingly offering alcohol-free drink menus; other bars only serve drinks with 0% ABV. Numerous new non-alcoholic goods that offer something a touch more upscale and unique than a seltzer-lime have been created due to the push to appeal to the sober market. And some non-alcoholic spirit manufacturers even assert that their drinks produce distinctive “buzzes” that range from making you feel more relaxed to boosting your energy level without leaving you with a hangover the next day.
Craft your own mocktails at home using non-alcoholic bitters by following these recipes!
Ginger Beer Bitters Mocktail (With Blueberries)
- ½ fresh lime
- 1 bar spoon honey
- 5-8 blueberries fresh or frozen, plus more for garnish
- 2-3 leaves fresh mint plus more for garnish
- 2 dashes Fee Brothers bitters Fee Brothers brand does not have alcohol
- 6 ounces ginger beer
- Directly squeeze the lime juice into your serving glass, saving the used lime shell for a garnish.
- Once the lime juice has been added, the honey should completely dissolve.
- Include the mint leaves and blueberries.
- Till all the berries are broken, crush the berries and mint together with the muddler.
- The serving glass should be filled with ice before the ginger beer is added.
- Include the used lime, some new mint leaves, and more blueberries as a garnish.
Zero Proof Swizzle
- 1 oz (30 mL) pineapple juice
- 1 oz (30 mL) fresh orange juice
- 1 oz (30 mL) fresh lemon juice
- 1 oz (30 mL) falernum
- 12 dashes Fee Brothers black walnut bitters
- 5 dashes Fee Brothers peach bitters
- Lemon twist
- In a double old-fashioned (rocks) glass, combine all the ingredients except for the lemon twist and stir well.
- Spray the beverage with the lemon peel’s essential oils by twisting it, then place the twist within it.
Blackberry Paloma Mocktail
- 3 Blackberries
- 5 dashes Hella Bitters Smoked Chili Bitters
- ½ oz Freshly squeezed lime juice
- 4-6 oz Grapefruit soda
- 1 oz Butterfly pea tea, cooled to room temp (optional, for color)
- Blackberries should be mushed in a rocks glass with a thick base. Mix with some bitters and some lime juice.
- Crushed ice should be placed on top of the fruit and bitters. By doing this, the berry seeds won’t float to the top of the beverage.
- Add cooled grapefruit soda on top of the ice-filled glass.
- If desired, add 1 ounce of cooled butterfly pea for color. Blackberries and lime are used as a garnish.
Here’s another recipe you can follow to make one of Australia’s most popular drinks: the non-alcoholic Lemon Lime and Bitters.
Cocktail bitters are a secret tool every home bartender should have in their toolbox. This underrated component distinguishes an Old Fashioned from a Manhattan and gives it its distinctive flavor. Thankfully, non-alcoholic bitters exist for people who want to stay sober.
There are many reasons why people choose not to drink; they may emphasize fitness as a lifestyle, dislike the headache and lack of sleep that come with a night out, or just abstain for moral or personal reasons. It’s good that different brands produce high-quality non-alcoholic spirits that let consumers enjoy their favorite libations without the harmful consequences of alcohol.
Shop Non-Alcoholic Bitters
Non-Alcoholic Bitters FAQs
Can you use bitters in non-alcoholic drinks?
Yes, you can. Different brands produce non-alcoholic bitters, including:
– All The Bitter
– Dram Apothecary
– Fee Brothers
– El Guapo Bitters
– The Bitter Note
– Urban Moonshine
What mixes well with bitters?
When alcohol and water combine to form a murky liquid, louching occurs. Glycerin is a texturizing agent that retains oils and prevents this from happening. As a result, some manufacturers of cocktail bitters employ glycerin better to preserve the flavors, oils, and alcohol-water mixture.
What to do with non-alcoholic bitters besides cocktails?
Here are five other ways you can use bitters besides cocktails:
1. Replace extracts with them when baking. Bitters can be substituted for vanilla essence to give your baked goods a unique edge.
2. Mix them when you’re making popcorn.
3. Add these after shaking juice or lemonade.
4. Include maple syrup and honey for tea or yogurt.
5. Add them to the extracts of your poached fruit.