Feeling Bitter

Another tuesday, time for another spicy review. And this one, like the recent 🔥 Godslayer 🔥, is something that I can’t show you until after the Continue Reading button. It’s just as sweary.

But, unlike that one, it’s not a crazily hot extract sauce. It’s an usual cocktail ingredient or two that I got as a birthday gift and would rather like to talk about.

Today’s pair are produced by a company called Bitter Bastards – A rather amusing play on the fact that they make cocktail bitters but still something that I sadly have to censor.

Plus, like most companies, they don’t exactly hide who they are on the label:

bitters

Now, these labels are lacking in one of my favourite things, colour, but they actually look rather good all the same. Their appearance is rough and aged but with the main ingredient clearly in good condition and pride of place with a central picture frame.

It implies that these are a work of art, though the skull and cross bones for the naga version does look a bit tacky compared to the chipotle.

The real attention-grabber in their packaging, however, lies outside the label, in their pipette lids.

bitterpips

These display their function as a strong flavoured additive, intended to be used one drop at a time, and they imply a hefty heat to the pair. One that, actually, they don’t really have.

The Chipotle Bitters, applied directly to my tongue, gives a reasonable

2.5/10

Heat

but, for something that’s meant to be used by the drop, that’s not a lot at all.

Dorset Chilli Shop’s Chilpōctli turned out quite gentle in my cooking at more than twice the perceived strength.

And the Naga Chilli Bitters, while a bit stronger, still only reaches a high

4/10

Heat

They both lack the heat of other chilli flavourings like the Chilpōctli or Grim Reaper Foods’ jalapeño extract but that wouldn’t bother me so much if their flavour wasn’t equally weak.

You can taste the chipotle’s earthier notes and the dried red ghost pepper over the aged bourbon and bittering agent that they use when you’re trying them like this but it takes a good two full squirts of the pipette to get even the subtlest hint of that ghost into my cocktails.

It’s great to add subtlety and a two point five kick to a glass of cream soda with half a shot of lime and lemongrass cordial, say, but anything less light and refreshing likely won’t pick up the flavour at all.

Since it tends to pair with stronger, darker flavours, I have no idea what I can use the chipotle one in that’ll still allow me to detect it.

As what is essentially an alcohol-based pair of extracts, getting them to mix into drinks will be a bit easier than with the more common, oil-based sort but what’s the point if they don’t add anything?

A cocktail bitters is supposed to change up a drink with just a few drops, not be buried by it almost completely, even in larger quantities.

This pair fail at what they were intended for and I really don’t get how, given the ease I had infusing vodka for my chilli pana cotta.

I’d like to thank the friend that gave me these, because the idea had a lot of merit, but I cannot recommend the actual products at all.

Their ingredients are:

Ingredients (Chipotle Bitters) 40% ABV: Dried chipotle chillies, Grain vodka, Bittering agent [Gentian].

Ingredients (Naga Chilli Bitters) 49.5% ABV: Naga jolokia chillies, High-Proof 8 year old bourbon, Bittering agent [Gentian].

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