Regans’ Orange Bitters No. 6

  • Rating: 8
  • Value: 8
Ingredients: ,
Age: Not Applicable
Price: $6.50 5 oz. (148 ml)

Created Gary Regan, author, mixologist, raconteur, bon vivant, and lovable scoundrel.

Notes: A modified version of a original bitter recipe created Gary Regan, author, mixologist, raconteur, bon vivant, and lovable scoundrel. Is it truly “No. 6?” Perhaps. Is it truly “Formula 409?” It doesn’t matter, this is great stuff!

Part of the almost demise of bitters in general is the sloppy research and omission of bitters in many modern cocktail books – many people say “They don’t use bitters in drinks anymore so why mention them to a recipe?” which of course just adds to the problem. If a book doesn’t mention bitters for at least martinis and manhattans don’t buy it! It means the person who wrote it has no idea what they are doing and are perpetuating mediocre books and ignorance. Bitters blend the other ingredients together, add many layers and depths of flavor, and may even help your digestion.

First Impression: Smells like a spice box full of promise. A bit like cookies or swedish ginger snaps.

Appearance: Clear gold/orange, yellow tinge, paradoxically viscous and oily at the same time.

Taste: Very dry, cardamom, cinchona, gentian, quinine, etc., bitter orange is more in the smell than taste.

Drinks: In somewhat of a departure from our normal format we also discuss which drinks bitters are used in as so many people are not aware how integral they are to a cocktail. Orange bitters along with Angostura (or Aromatic bitters) were used in pretty much the bulk of cocktails from the beginning until recently. A manhattan or a martini is just not right until bitters have been added and this applies to almost all other cocktails.

Bottle: Clear glass bottle with orange/red label and old gold lettering with Gary’s mug and signature on each label. Designed by Ted Haigh a.k.a. “Dr. Cocktail,” a cocktail archeologist and maven, who has a day job as a highly successful graphic artist for the movies to underwrite his enthusiasms.

Other: Some people (including Audrey Saunders, owner of the Pegu Club, a.k.a. “The Libation Goddess”) prefer to mix Regans’ and Fee Brothers West Indian Orange 50/50 to get the best qualities of both.

Final Thoughts: A very spicy, mutli-layered orange bitters that bring a host of other necessary flavors to make a outstanding cocktail rather than a ordinary one. Don’t let the apostrophe throw you (see the page below), this is excellent stuff.


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