$$ — 35% ABV — unaged
If the shelves in Whole Foods are an indicative of anything, the Cherry Bark Vanilla is Bittercube's most popular bitters flavor by far. This is one of the more expensive brands of bitters you might buy, but it's well worth it. Considering they won't go bad and even just the one ounce bottle is enough for dozens of cocktails, it's not a horrible thing to pay (let's be honest) twice the price of Angostura bitters.
Made from predominantly cherry bark as well as cherry pits, the bitters are rounded out with bitter almond and orange peel as well as Madagascar vanilla and also very obviously cocoa. It has a deep and round smell that seems perfectly engineered for Bourbon Manhattans. Far better than the gentian tang of classic brands, it blends seamlessly with sweet vermouth and especially the cherry garnish.
For people who like to get fancy, the bouquet on these bitters is really very pleasant. It's built like a perfume — as it should — so dolloping some on top of the egg foam of a flip is really encouraged here. This is one of those products that truly shows what you ought to and can get — if you'll excuse the Eastwood reference — for a few dollars more.
Bittercube is located in Milwaukee, Wis. in the Midwestern United States. Established in 2009 by Nicholas Kosevich and Ira Koplowitz, it remains an independent company.