Wow. My awesome sister in NYC just sent me this pic of a wall full of bitters at a specialty store (and yes, I am sometimes jealous of all the cool stuff back in my birthplace). What are bitters? These are the accents that make a good cocktail great. I will not (and cannot) explain how bitters are made, but you need these. Bitters are not expensive, and as most cocktails just use a dash or two, bitters will last forever.
And bitters are a necessity of good mixology. If you have a few types of bitters, a few bottles of booze, citrus, sugar and the internet- you have 200+ excellent cocktails on hand. Easy. No crazy infusions, no special tricks, just great drinks. Right now we have Angostura, Peychauds, Fee Brothers Lemon and Fee Brothers Orange Bitters in our bar. This is a good start, and all for about $20. Go get some, most liquor stores will have what you need.
Think about it. For the cost of one case of
good decent wine (say $400) you can get a mix of gin, bourbon, rye, tequila and rum (light, aged and dark), a few aperitifs (dry vermouth, sweet vermouth, Cointreau, maraschino, Chartreuse, absinthe/pastis) and some good Bitters. You have sugar in your pantry. And you can buy limes, lemons and oranges anywhere. You are just a few steps from months and months and months of great cocktails. You can experiment and enjoy. You can have fun. You will have fun. Try it. Go get some bitters and some booze. Have some friends over…etc.