4 Ultimate Bitter Cocktails

Not sweet, not sour, but bitter cocktails it is! And while bitter might not sound that appealing, we assure you these cocktails are ones to love. They are best to serve after dinner, during good conversations with friends next to a bonfire or to release some stress after a long day at the office. Sit back, enjoy and take these classic bitter cocktails sip by sip by sip.

(Very) Old Fashioned

Starting off with one of the most famous, notorious and loved cocktails in the world, The Old Fashioned. Originally a cocktail made with bourbon whiskey, sugar, bitters and ice, but nowadays the Old Fashioned is a category of its own, served with many different aged spirits as a base. We also took this category to make our own version of the Old Fashioned, calling it the Very Old Fashioned. Using our very own minimum of 18 months aged genever, Bols Barrel Aged Genever, we add some sugar and 3 dashes of Angostura Bitters.

For a more citrus depth, you can replace the sugar for 15ml/0.75oz Bols Dry Orange liqueur.

Check out the full Very Old Fashioned recipe here!



(Bols) Manhattan

Another classic, bitter cocktail is the legendary Manhattan cocktail. It’s a masculine cocktail and is known the world over as the go-to drink after a business deal or a long day at the office. When stirred well, the cocktail is nice and cold and has a remarkably light, syrupy texture. We swap the whiskey from the original recipe for our full-bodied wood aged Bols Barrel Aged Genever, which is in great harmony with the sweet vermouth and Angostura Bitters. Now we like to call it the Bols Manhattan.

Here is the full Bols Manhattan recipe!



(Red Light) Negroni

The classics lash your ears when talking about bitter cocktails! Next up is the Negroni cocktail. The perfect balance of bitter and sweet, herbal and fruity a strong alcoholic kick and melting ice… Amazing! The recipe looks simple with equal parts of sweet vermouth, Italian bitter liqueur and Bols Genever Original, but to achieve the perfect balance it’s important to not think too light about the stirring. Dilution is key with this cocktail, so take your time do this right. To learn how to stir your cocktail right, check out this blog and tutorial video.

The attentive reader saw that we use Bols Genever Original, instead of gin. That’s correct! Another Bols twist to a classic recipe. We call it the Red Light Negroni and served in a lightbulb glass it embodies our hometown Amsterdam in every way.

Click here to find out how to create the perfect Red Light Negroni.



Espresso Martini

This classic, we keep as is. Not only because this is one of the most popular cocktails of the moment, but just because the Espresso Martini is already perfection. This coffee cocktail is bitter, sweet and with a double kick of both the Bols Coffee liqueur and the Bols Vodka. The Espresso Martini is the after-dinner cocktail to get the digestion going and get you back on your feet again if you want to stretch your night (out). Did we mention perfection already?

Read the full recipe of the Espresso Martini here!



Who said bitter didn’t sound appealing? We love these bitter cocktails and hope you do too. Want to have more cocktail inspiration? Check out our Cocktail Gallery.

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