Peychaud's bitters (pronounced "pay-SHOHDS") are aromatic cocktails bitters invented in New Orleans, back in 1838 by Antoine Amédée Peychaud. The apothecary of Creole descent created the bright red bitters according to an old family recipe Antoine's father brought with him when they fled from Haiti.
Peychaud's bitters are a highly-concentrated aromatic tincture of 35% ABV. The flavor is quite intense, which is why only a few drops of these bitters can alter the taste of a drink.
Their light and fruity taste is used to enhance flavors in many classic cocktails like the Sazerac and Vieux Carré. Today, the bitters brand is owned by the Sazerac Company and produced in Frankfort, Kentucky.
Peychaud's Bitters Fact sheet
- Producer: Sazerac Company
- Origin: New Orleans, USA
- Manufactured in: Frankfort, Kentucky
- ABV: 35%
- Bottle sizes in ml: 148 ml and 296 ml
- Bottle sizes in oz: 5 oz and 10 oz
- Price: $12 (small) - $18 (large)
How to use Peychaud's bitters?
Only add a few dashes of the aromatic bitters to your drink. This is enough to alter the flavor profile and bring light and fruity flavors to your cocktails.
Typically you add the bitters to your other ingredients before shaking a cocktail. However, in some recipes, they're used on top of an egg white foam or as a float like in the Queen's Park Swizzle.
Peychaud bitters in cocktails
Peychaud bitters are most famous for their use in cocktails like the Sazerac and Vieux Carré. Both drinks originate from New Orleans, just like the bitters. They are used in quite some cocktails recipes but are not anywhere near as abundant as Angostura Bitters. The reason is that the flavor profile is more challenging to pair with spirits and mixed drinks.
The light, sweet, and fruity flavor profile make Peychaud's an excellent match in summer cocktails. Here are some recipes, you should try making with these bitters:
Its bright red color can also help to tint drinks or cocktails. Award-winning author Brad Thomas Parsons described this way to use aromatic bitters in his book Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All:
"Its bright red cough syrup color also helps it stand out from the competition, and just a few dashes can cause a cocktail to take on its trademark candy-apple blush."
How do these bitters taste?
The taste of Peychaud's bitters is very different from Angostura's. They taste much lighter and fruitier, with licorice, caramelly sweetness, and a dominant anise flavor. But the flavor profile includes more.
It's a combination of fruits (cherry, plum, red currant, and berries), spices (cinnamon, cloves, anise, nutmeg), sweet notes (licorice, honey, caramel), and a distinctive mix of herbs.
Peychaud's Bitters Recipe & Ingredients
Peychaud bitters are based on grain alcohol infused with gentian root, aniseed, licorice, mint, saffron, citrus, and cloves. The exact composition and complete list of ingredients in Peychaud's bitters is a trade secret.
The recipe for the medical tonic is an old family recipe that Antoine's father brought with him when he fled Haiti in 1795. Because of the family history, the bitters are also often called Creole bitters due to the Creole heritage of the recipe.
Angostura vs. Peychaud's bitters
Angostura is the most used bitters brand in cocktails. The taste of Angostura bitters is more bitter, herbal, and spicy than the light and fruity flavors of Peychaud's bitters.
See our in-depth comparison of these two bitters brands showing the distinct characteristics of each product.
The best substitute for Peychaud's bitters is the Creole-inspired bitters from The Bitter Truth company. They are an excellent alternative as they share the color and flavor profile but are even more aromatic. Another great alternative is Scappy's Cajun bitters.
Do not substitute Angostura bitters for Peychaud's if you want a similar flavor in your cocktail. Angostura will enhance the complexity of flavors but in a remarkably different, more herbal, and bitter way.
More articles about bitters
- What are cocktail bitters - a more in-depth explanation of the intense flavors and purpose of bitters
- Where to buy bitters - A guide on how and where to get bitters for cocktails
- Best bitters for an Old Fashioned Cocktail - find out which bitters work best in an Old Fashioned.