Got a bottle of orange bitters? Add a few dashes to these top orange bitters cocktails, from classics drinks to modern spins.
Got some orange bitters? Let’s make drinks! Orange bitters are a type of cocktail bitters made with orange peel, first introduced in the 1860’s and 1870’s. They began to feature in cocktail recipes starting in the 1880’s, like in the original Dry Martini! But they fell out of favor for years and were hard to find. They had a resurgence in the 1990’s and now, there are several different brands on the market, each with their own distinct flavor.
Here are all the top orange bitters cocktails to make with a few dashes of the stuff! These drinks range from classic pre-prohibition cocktails (like the Pegu Club and Bijou) to creative ideas (like adding a few dashes to a Screwdriver or Cognac and Coke). Ready to get started?
A classic orange bitters cocktail? Meet the Pegu Club! It’s a classic 1920’s drink invented at, as the name suggests, the Pegu Club. This gin cocktail is sophisticated and refreshing, with a citrus and herbal finish.
Here's one of the earliest orange bitters cocktails: the Bijou! This drink is named for the colors of glittering jewels of the three liquors that make it up. Invented in the 1890's, it's got a spirit-forward flavor that’s crisp and herbaceous.
Here’s the oldest cocktail there is, the Old Fashioned! The classic method uses a sugar cube, bitters, and bourbon whiskey for a truly timeless drink. It was first documented in the early 1800’s by a New York paper, and is ultra popular to this day. Try with orange bitters for a citrus aroma.
Love a good Manhattan? Then you’ll love this funky spin: the Black Manhattan! This classy drink swaps out sweet vermouth for an Italian amaro. It’s strong and boozy, like any good Manhattan, but with caramel and chocolate notes on the finish.
Meet the Zombie cocktail! This drink packs a potent punch, with four types of rum, three fruit juices, two fruit syrups and of course: orange bitters. The amount of ingredients is totally unnecessary…but then again, that makes it more fun! While it’s got a 1970’s vibe, this cocktail actually comes from the 1930’s.
Ingredients: White rum, spiced rum, dark rum, lime juice, lemon juice, pineapple juice, passion fruit syrup, grenadine, orange bitters
Here’s a zingy orange bitters cocktail that makes the most of this unique citrus fruit: a Blood Orange Martini! This drink matches the floral citrus from the blood orange with the tang of lime juice, making a balanced, drinkable flavor.
Want a cocktail that really lets you taste the orange bitters? Enter: Bitters and Soda! This genius trick is the best way to feel like you’re drinking when you’re really not.. The amount of alcohol in cocktail bitters is negligible, so you end up with a drink that tastes like a cocktail with only trace amounts of booze. The flavor is so delicious: nuanced, herbal and bitter.
What if you’re a Scotch lover and a Manhattan lover? Make the Rob Roy! The Rob Roy drink is a Manhattan cocktail made with Scotch whisky instead of bourbon or rye. This retro slow-sipper has been around for over a century.
Ingredients: Scotch whiskey, sweet red vermouth, orange bitters
Orange bitters aren't an ingredient in the classic Screwdriver...but want to step it up a notch? It's a fun idea for adding intrigue to the straightforward combination of orange juice and vodka. Adding a few dashes of orange bitters to a Screwdriver gives it an herbal, intriguing finish.
The Rum and Coke might be considered low brow by some…but wrap in Cognac and add orange bitters and it’s a top notch drink! The oak, vanilla and caramel notes of the Hennessy are a perfect fit with the sweetness of bubbly cola.
Here’s an orange bitters cocktail to impress all your friends: the Revolver! This spin on the Manhattan stars bourbon paired with Tia Maria, a coffee liqueur, instead of the standard sweet vermouth. It makes an intriguing drink: sweet vanilla and oak notes as you start the sip, with a finish of lingering bittersweet coffee.
Ingredients: Bourbon whiskey, Tia Maria (or other coffee liqueur like Kahlua), orange bitters, orange peel
Last up in these orange bitters cocktails: this Pineapple Rum cocktail! It’s sweet tart, tropical and sophisticated with loads of nuance in the flavor, like a combination between a mojito and the famous Hemingway daiquiri. The icing on the cake? Orange bitters add a citrus essence.
Orange bitters have a distinct citrusy flavor from orange peel, with hints of cardamom, caraway, coriander, anise, and cinnamon. There are several brands of orange bitters, each with their own flavor profiles. Here are the top brands:
Regan’s Orange Bitters was introduced in the 1990’s, distributed by the Sazerac Company.
Angostura Orange is produced by the same company that makes Angostura bitters. It has the strongest orange scent.
The Bitter Truth orange bitters are complex and spicy, with strong notes of cinnamon and cloves.
Fee Brothers is the fruitiest and sweetest of the orange bitters brands.