Bitter and Balance:
The Test Cocktail:
I like using the Lemon Drop as my test bed cocktail whenever I am doing any form of substitution or addition of ingredients. Since it’s such a simple drink, any change in balance will become clear very quickly. I ended making three different drinks in order to see how the bitters was affecting the citrus, and vice versa. The first drink that I made was your basic Lemon Drop, followed by a Lemon Drop with the addition of 2 dashes of bitters and the final drink was Vodka with simple syrup and bitters.
The Lemon Drop
2 oz spirit
1 oz lemon juice
1 oz simple syrup
The reason I chose to make all three drinks was not only to find out how bitters was affecting the balance with the citrus, but I also wanted to see how the citrus was affecting the taste of the bitters as well.
1. Traditional Lemon Drop
Exactly what you would expect, a balanced drink that showcases the lemon flavor, and not much else.
2. Traditional Lemon Drop with Bitters
The addition of bitters actually increases the vibrancy of the lemon juice and brightens it up a bit. Since bitters also has a lot of flavor, there was also more depth of flavor to the cocktail as well.
3. Vodka with Simple Syrup and Bitters
I made this last drink to test how the acid was affecting the bitters in cocktails. I substituted water for the lemon juice so that I would have equal volumes to compare. The result that I noticed was that the lemon juice tamed down the bitters. In this drink, the bitters were more pronounced and had a longer finish.