One of the things my partner and I used to argue about was who should take out the recycling. His case was that because I blew through cans of seltzer like a grumpy sponge, the onus should fall on me to drag our bin downstairs whenever it was full. I mean, sure, totally fair. Except he still ended up being the one to do it (mea culpa, honey). His solution: surprising me with a water carbonator and a gift certificate to our local cocktail supply shop, which boasts a selection of more than 100 different bitters.
We picked an afternoon to go together and, since this was pre-COVID, we got to taste as many different bitters as we liked. Although it was a little overwhelming at first, we quickly narrowed in on a few companies that, no matter the flavor, outshined the rest with their thoughtful and meticulous craftsmanship. Whether you’re looking to spruce up your own bar, or looking for gifts for that cocktail aficionado in your life, these are our favorite small-batch bitters producers.