A Bitter Scene in SLC
by Chelsea Nelson
Bitters have long been mysterious to some cocktail lovers, but Salt Lake City is definitely in the know when it comes to locally sourced and bottled bitters. And our local artisans are answering the consumer’s call to provide quality options for not just the bartender, but the home mixologist.
Bitters are commonly made with botanicals and prepared with high-volume alcohol, originally being sold as medicines and tonics for ailments as far back as the 18th century. Today, bitters are mostly used as apéritifs and cocktail flavorings. The knowledgeable use of bitters can highlight different flavor profiles in a cocktail, as well as create balance and complexity. Salt Lake City has three high-quality, locally produced bottled bitters to choose from.
Bitters Lab, owned and operated by Andrea Latimer, is focused on creating flavor profiles that other bitters companies may not have thought of. Bitters Lab Charred Cedar and Currant is a favorite for local craft bartenders, and you’ll have a difficult time finding anything that compares to the punch of their Habanero Lime. And while Bitters Lab does offer an aromatic, Andrea says Bitters Lab will continue to change seasonally and keep you wondering what’s coming next. Stop by the new storefront to pick up your favorite Bitters Lab swag and flavors (check Bitters Lab social media for store hours).
Beehive Bitters, created by Michael D’Amico, also produces quality, from-scratch bitters. Beehive Bitters focuses on flavors that are perfect for classic cocktails as well as more unusual combination flavors like the well-balanced Coffee and Cacao. Check out their Instagram for great photos and cocktail recipes.
Honest John Bitters, from Sara Lund who owns The Rest and Bodega, is the newest line on our local bitters market. Purchase Honest John exclusively at The Rest, online, and wholesale. Honest John offers five flavors, some dark and heavy like Black Walnut, and others bright and floral such as Nola and Grapefruit. So, whatever cocktail you might be shaking up, Honest John has you covered.