Food & Drink

Bitters and soda, the classic combination, now comes in a can

Bitters & Soda takes the classic combination, removes the small amount of alcohol in the bitters, and puts it in a can for convenient sipping. (Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune/TNS)
Bitters & Soda takes the classic combination, removes the small amount of alcohol in the bitters, and puts it in a can for convenient sipping. (Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

Drink too many hard seltzers last night? Fear not, help is on its way. Help that comes in a can. You can now buy bitters and soda in a can from The Bitter Housewife, an artisanal bitters company out of Portland, Ore., available online for easy delivery to your bedside or boat dock.

Long a remedy for hangovers, hiccups and general queasiness, the combination of cocktail bitters and bubbly water helps in several ways. First, the bubbles soothe the stomach and the effervescence encourages much-needed hydration. Second, the various herbs and botanicals in the tincture fix the rocky digestion. And third, the tiny bit of alcohol in most bitters may be just enough to offset the body’s craving for a touch of booze.

The Bitter Housewife made its own version of the classic combination, dubbing it simply Bitters & Soda. It reformulated its original Old Fashioned Aromatic bitters recipe, throwing out the alcohol and the sugar, but leaving the cherries, warm spices, fresh ginger and bitter gentian in the mix. The result — a lively, stimulating beverage that tastes like good ol’ Angostura bitters and soda, without the boozy kick.

Genevieve Brazelton founded the Bitter Housewife five years ago with her husband, crafting small-batch bitters in pure, classic flavors. Soon she started noticing that her customers were trying to drink less, and were often buying her excellent bitters purely for use with their homemade sparkling water.

“People told me, ‘I keep a bottle of your bitters in my car, in my desk, in my purse so that I can put it in my seltzer,’” says Brazelton. These soda-alternative seekers form a huge part of the canned Bitters & Soda audience. “If you are choosing not to drink, you still get this great craft beverage that doesn’t make you feel like you are sitting at the kiddie table.”

As with any good canned beverage, the temptation to mix a drink with it is present and palpable. (Tempting, that is, if your friends are like mine and like their La Croix spiked with tequila and their White Claw dosed with flavored vodka.) Brazelton agrees: “People don’t need to be told to mix anything with alcohol.”

If you choose to go that route, Bitter Housewife Bitters & Soda screams for whiskey. Whatever your brown liquor of choice may be — rye, Irish whiskey or bourbon — mixing it with Bitters & Soda makes a terrific highball before dinner. It might even cure your hiccups.

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Find it: Bitters & Soda comes in 12- and 24-packs, at $36 and $72, respectively. Order at thebitterhousewife.com.

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