Three best bitter bottles to use in Martini cocktails

6 Best Bitters For A (Dry) Martini

By Timo Torner / Last updated on January 2, 2023

First published on December 22, 2022 

Aromatic bitters are an excellent way to enhance flavors in a Martini or add complexity to the drink. Just a few drops are enough to alter the taste significantly.

The recipe for a Dry Martini consists of only two ingredients, Gin and Dry Vermouth. To tweak the flavors, you can, for instance, vary the ratios or try different brands. Another option to make the classic cocktail even better is adding aromatic bitters to your Martini.

Traditionalists may object and say that the recipe for a Dry Martini should not include any bitters. And while this is technically true, adding them to the drink is, in fact, an old tradition.

Back then, Martinis were often mixed with orange or Angostura bitters, with orange being the more popular But today, there are plenty of other options from which to choose. To find the right aromatic addition for your next cocktail, here's a list of X bitters that can elevate the flavors of your Martini.

How we tested

The flavors of Gin and Dry Vermouth can vary significantly depending on the brand. On top, changing ratios also affects the taste of your drink. That's why we stick to classic proportions and classic brands based on a great London Dry Gin:

  • 2.5 oz Sipsmith London Dry Gin
  • 0.5 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth
  • 4-5 drops to 2 dashes (about 10 drops per dash) of Bitters

For the bitters, you don't need more than two dashes. Sometimes even less is enough to get the flavors right.

Fee Brothers Gin Barrel-Aged Orange Bitters

Fee Brothers Barrel-aged orange bitters on white background

The orange-flavored bitters from Fee Brothers are aged in Old Tom Gin barrels. Compared to their West Indian orange product, these are way richer and more intense and have a more complex flavor profile.

We love its dark and rich flavors and the old-school vibe they have. One dash was enough to elevate our Martini and add some nice orange notes.

Buy here

Fee Brothers Cardamom Bitters 

bottle of aromatic cardamom bitters from Fee brothers

Bitter tinctures flavored with cardamom are amazingly versatile. After trying - and loving- them in a Martini, we added them to Whiskey based classics like Manhattan and Old Fashioned, and they worked their magic in all of them.

They are available from various brands, yet -again -we prefer the product from Fee Brothers. The ones from Scrappy's also work quite well.

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Scrappy's Celery bitters

bottle of Scrappy's Celery bitters

The wonderfully flavored celery bitters from Scrappy's were our favorites in our Martini cocktail. We knew the product performs in other Gin-based drinks like Gin & Tonic, but it worked even better in this classic.

Besides the prominent celery flavors, they have a delicate citrus note in the background. You can also use them in soda water or savory cocktails like Bloody Mary to increase complexity.

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Angostura orange bitters

Angostura orange bitters bottle on white background

The orange bitters from Angostura work exceptionally well in a Martini. They have a pleasant, intense orange flavor paired with delicate spicy flavors in the background.

You can play with the amount you add as the taste changes with only a few drops in. Increasing the amount took away from the Gin notes but makes the drink overall more complex.

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Sichuan Peppercorn bitters

Dashfire Sichuan peppercorn bitters bottle on white background

If you like savory flavors in your Martini and are a fan of spice, these Sichuan peppercorn bitters from Dashfire are an excellent option to spice up your Martini.

Besides spicy and peppery notes, you can also find exotic flavors like lemongrass. That isn't for everyone but still an option worth trying, in our opinion.

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The Bitter Truth Grapefruit Bitters

Bottle of The Bitter Truth Grapefruit bitters on white background

Using The Bitter Truth's grapefruit-flavored bitters in a Martini adds a citrusy and fruity touch. The flavor profile is quite bright and complex and brings in vegetal notes and hints of hops, too.

These highly aromatic droplets also add a wonderful natural aroma of fresh grapefruits and are an excellent alternative to classic orange-flavored options.

Buy here

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