Bitters and Soda: A Refreshing Mocktail

I know this might come as a shock, but most evenings I don’t actually want a boozey drink. And there are plenty of afternoons when a true cocktail would be inappropriate anyway (I prefer to be sober when I pick my kid up at the bus stop.) But sometimes I want…something.

That’s where this easy, refreshing combo comes into play. A few good shakes of bitters in a glass of water or club soda gives you something with a background of flavor and a little bit of sophistication. When made with club soda or sparkling water, the result is a bit like a dry soda. If you prefer something sweeter, a teaspoon of simple syrup can be added to the mix.

Bitters and Soda

Now, bitters do contain alcohol – the flavors and botanicals are typically infused in high-proof neutral alcohol – so if you have to strictly avoid alcohol in any quantity, this isn’t the recipe for you. But if you can enjoy bitters, I recommend this simple refresher.

Homebrew Husband and I have been getting into flavored bitters lately, and my favorite flavors for a simple DIY flavored waters like this are bitter orange, grapefruit and rhubarb. Traditional Angostura bitters are good too, but I like the fruity bitters best.

If you want to get fancy, fresh herbs or a squeeze of citrus juice can be added too, but bitters will give you a lovely complexity all by themselves.


  1. says

    Nice idea. In summer my fridge is stocked with sparkling water and/or club soda. It took a while before I realized that post-garden beer craving was not necessarily for beer, just for something wet, cold and bubbly.

  2. Heather says

    Aha! Erica, do you make your own fizzy water? I don’t find anything about it on the page (who knows if the search is perfect).
    Well, if not, this is a great topic for consideration. I have started to make my own, with a very simple set-up I put together with the help of several fantastic web resources.
    And anyway, Homebrew Husband most likely already has most of the needed items.
    Let’s teach everyone how to do it!

  3. says

    You can also try a shrub (drinking vinegar) for a 100% alcohol free option. Takes a little more, but I also like to think they’re more refreshing and flavorful than a few drops of bitters.

  4. says

    Bitters and soda is an often overlooked or even forgotten beverage choice. I got hooked during my bartending days and have never given it up.

    With more craft bitters out there everyday, the options are pretty limitless and very tasty.

  5. says

    This is such a good idea! We used to drink bitters in glasses of soda to make them adult-palate-appropriate, but using sparkling water sounds SO MUCH better. Maybe with a squeeze of lemon or orange?

  6. Pam says

    Thanks for turning me on to this idea! I’ve been drinking these a lot lately. They’re a great alternative to diet soda (which I dislike anyway) and my normal vodka sodas. Also, my Sodastream is one of the best hundred dollars I’ve ever spent.

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