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This Cocktail Essential Is My Secret to the Best Thanksgiving Feast

We’ve teamed up with ANGOSTURA® bitters to transform all your Thanksgiving sips and snacks—just add bitters. From original aromatic bitters to zesty orange bitters, ANGOSTURA® has the flavors you need to take this season’s festivities to the next level.

My trick to surviving all the Thanksgiving kitchen prep is to pair a festive sip with everything I bake. I can’t take credit for inventing this method as countless chefs and home cooks have used it long before me, including the great Julia Child who once famously said, “I enjoy cooking with wine, sometimes I even put it in the food.” My approach is very similar, I just swap in cocktails enhanced with ANGOSTURA® bitters, like an Old Fashioned or an Orange Martini. And I definitely add bitters to my desserts, too. As we approach Turkey Day, here are some of my go-to tips and tricks for including bitters in all my Thanksgiving bakes, plus cocktail pairings to get the most bang from your bitters.


The cranberry bogs are flooded, gourds of all shapes and sizes have replaced their spooky cousins, and the first citrus harvest is just waiting to be picked. There’s no better time of year to center seasonal produce and highlight autumnal flavors, like an Orange Martini made with ANGOSTURA®’s spicy, fruit-forward orange bitters. Add 2 ounces gin, 1 ounce dry vermouth, and 2 dashes ANGOSTURA® orange bitters to an ice-filled mixing glass, then stir to combine. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a fresh cranberry skewer.

For more fall flavor classics, add 4 dashes of ANGOSTURA® orange bitters to the filling when making this Cranberry Curd Tart, swap out the vanilla for 8 dashes in the glaze on top of this Brown Butter and Butternut Loaf, or add it to the crust of this Autumn Apple and Pumpkin Galette for a subtle zing (see above crust section for how-to).

Butter, shortening, lard, or some sort of classified combo of fats—however you build your pie crusts this holiday, they should definitely include bitters. Make a souped-up seasonal classic to sip on while you work, like the Apple Brandy Old Fashioned. When it’s time to start baking, sub 8 to 16 dashes of the bitters that’ll best complement your pie filling in place of the 1 to 2 teaspoons of vinegar or vodka you’d normally use to make your crust. The alcohol in the bitters will evaporate more quickly, and they’ll add extra flavor to your crust. Add ANGOSTURA® aromatic bitters to your crust when making pies like this Cider Caramel Apple Pie, and if Sweet Potato Pie sounds more up your alley add a boost from orange or cocoa bitters to the crust.

One of the easiest ways to incorporate bitters into any beverage or baked good is to swap it in for equal or slightly less parts for vanilla. (As a general rule of thumb, 1 teaspoon is equal to 8 dashes.) Take the sweet, caffeinated Irish Cream—8 dashes of cocoa bitters are an excellent swap here in place of the vanilla extract. Looking to frost your favorite layer cake? Try a Cream Cheese Buttercream or an Italian Buttercream made with ANGOSTURA® orange bitters standing in for the vanilla.

Photo by Ty Mecham. Prop Stylist: Brooke Deonarine. Food Stylist: Adrienne Anderson.

As grandma always said, Thanksgiving is a marathon not a sprint, a metaphor I never fully understood as a food scholar more concerned with old cookbooks than cross-country, but I think I get it now: be sure to add caffeine into the baking plan. Start off by stirring 3 to 4 dashes of ANGOSTURA® cocoa bitters into an Espresso Martini to sip on as you prep. Bonus: We’ve got a seasonal cocktail kit with everything you need to make the perfect espresso ‘tini. Much like coffee accentuates chocolate-based bakes, luxurious ANGOSTURA® cocoa bitters temper the sweetness of caffeinated confections like Vietnamese Coffee Cake. Add 8 to 10 dashes of bitters to the sweetened-condensed milk brigadeiro poured on top of the cake.

What bitters-enhanced cocktails and bakes are you making this holiday season?

Our friends at ANGOSTURA® have the aromatic bitters you need to shake up all sorts of cocktails, from a classic Old Fashioned to a trendy Espresso Martini. The Siegert family bottled the first of their bitters in 1824 and the tradition was passed down through the generations, evolving into the modern line of products that includes the original aromatic recipe as well as cocoa and orange bitters.

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