The weather has started to change here on the East Coast; crisp days and colder nights mean Winter is fast approaching. So, while you’re bundled up by the fire or hiding under a blanket waiting for the snow to melt, why not reach for a cocktail that’ll warm both the body and spirit. That cocktail is the Aromatic Collins. Wait, what? Warming? How is a drink that is based on sugar and lemon gonna warm me up? Well, this ain’t your granddaddy’s Old Tom Collins. Stay with me here. Lately I’ve been doing lots of reading and really getting into cocktails that utilize bitters. There is something amazing about a cocktail whose aroma entices you before the liquid hits your lips. So, what the hell are these aromatic bitters you speak of? In a nutshell, they are barks, roots, fruit peels, herbs, spices or a plethora of other ingredients that are infused into high proof alcohol. But will bitters make my drink really bitter? Well, yes and no. Bitters are typically added to a drink in a form of a dash or two, essentially just a few drops. Bitters add complexity to a drink. They help balance out a drink that may otherwise be too sweet or flat tasting. Think of bitters as liquid seasoning; bitters are to cocktails what salt and pepper are to food. The recipe I am going to share with you today utilizes Angostura bitters, probably the most prevalent and widely available bitters in mixology. Odds are that dive bar around the corner that only serves jack and coke probably has a dusty bottle of Angostura tucked away somewhere.
The Aromatic Collins was created by the mixologist Jamie Boudreau, Head Bartender at Seattle’s Canon Whiskey and Bitters Emporium, as seen in the video. It’s simple in execution but complex in taste with the lightness of lemon and the depth of the Angostura which, by the way, has over 40 ingredients. Think cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, allspice, and molasses. The rich, dark, warming flavours balance out the acidity of the lemon with ease. I know it’ll be what I’m craving when the snow really starts flying. So, grab a glass and get shaking.
- 1oz Angostura bitters
- 1oz Lemon juice
- 1oz Rich simple syrup
- 1oz Soda water
- In a shaker add 1oz fresh squeezed lemon juice and 1oz rich simple syrup.
- Fill shaker with ice and shake vigorously until tin is frosty to the touch.
- Strain into an ice filled collins glass.
- Float 1oz Angostura bitters over syrup and lemon juice.
- Top with soda water.
- Rich simple syrup is 2 parts sugar dissolved in 1 part water.
- To float the bitters, pour slowly onto back of bar spoon while the tip of the spoon touches the inside of your glass.