The Secret Ingredient Your Pitcher Cocktail Is Missing

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

My annual Christmas party isn’t a party without the giant bowl of punch I whip up every year, but when it comes time for warm-weather entertaining, I seek out other options. Punch isn’t exactly well-suited for backyard imbibing (the bowl is extra large and often extra fragile), which is why I’ve come to love pitcher cocktails. Just like punch, they satisfy a crowd, but since they’re pourable, they’re better suited for the casual nature of spring and summer parties.

But there’s a key to great pitcher cocktails, and it’s something you might not expect.

Add a Dash of Bitters to Your Beverage

The next time you make a pitcher cocktail, add a few dashes of bitters to the mix. Whatever you have around — be it Angostura, orange, or Peychaud’s — it’s guaranteed to upgrade your pitcher cocktail.

Learn More About Bitters: An Introduction to Aromatic Bitters

More often than not, pitcher cocktails can lean towards being too sweet. Recipes typically call for fruit juice, maybe some simple syrup, and possibly even a little soda. While this makes for a drink that’s extra easy to sip, it also makes for a drink that needs balance. Bitters provide balance; just a little helps tone down the sweetness, bringing just enough depth to the drink to make it interesting, but not too much that it makes it complicated — it’s still supposed to be an easy, breezy drink after all.

When adding bitters, taste and adjust as needed, dropping in more if you want a stronger kick. It’s the secret ingredient that’s sure to make your pitcher cocktail the talk of the party.

5 Pitcher Cocktails That Deserve a Few Dashes of Bitters