Cooking with Cocktail Bitters 101

Lately I’ve taken more of an interest in the advancement of my culinary skills. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always enjoyed cooking but I seem to have reached a certain comfort level when it comes to stir fry, chili, stuffed chicken, smashed potatoes and artichoke dip (my signature dishes).

While working on some cocktail stuff for the site, I found myself promoting bitters as a flavoring for both drinks and food. It occurred to me that I have access to 14 different kinds of bitters, yet I’ve never once used them in the kitchen. I’m in the midst of planning a dinner party for some friends and I decided to see what I could do with bitters for a more exciting, more flavorful meal. After some recipe searching, here’s the menu I came up with, using Angostura Aromatic Cocktail Bitters… let me know what you think!

Angostura BittersAppetizer:

Cucumber Wrapped Scallops
18 oz (a little over 1 lb) scallops or shelled prawns
1 tsp Angostura Aromatic Cocktail Bitters
1 tbsp of lime and lemon juice (mixed)
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cucumbers (as straight as possible)

Toss scallops in a mixture of bitters, lemon and lime juice and oil. Cover and refrigerate overnight, stirring occasionally. (Marinade will “cook” scallops, turning them white and opaque.) Using a swivel-bladed vegetable peeler, remove skin from cucumber then peel thin ribbons lengths of cucumber then use then to encase the scallops, securing them with toothpicks. Serve slightly chilled.
Serves 6-8


Angostura New Yorkers
6 New York strip steaks, trimmed of visible fat
1 tsp Angostura Aromatic Bitters
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp chopped dill
½ tsp black pepper
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 tbsp red wine
2 tbsp chopped parsley
2 tsp mixed dried herbs

Place steaks in a single layer in a dish. Combine bitters with other ingredients in a bowl. Mix well. Pour mixture over steaks to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Grill steaks according to taste. Pour marinade into saucepan, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes or until onions browns and wine evaporates. Spoon over steaks and serve.
Serves 6

Mmmm… I can’t wait! I’ll make sure to follow up and let you know how it goes.



  • Dave Gourley March 31, 2017 @ 1:21pm

    I have been experimenting with bitters in cooking also. My most successful was a hearty cream of mushroom soup (has barley and potatoes in it) that I added a few drops of celery bitters to each bowl as l served it.
    I have used black walnut bitters in place of vanilla in both rice custard and coconut macaroons with success.

    • Caitlin April 3, 2017 @ 4:16pm

      I love the idea of adding celery bitters to soup! I may have to use it myself. For the black walnut bitters, did you use an amount equal to what the recipe called for in vanilla or did you use less?

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