Understanding The Role of Bitters

Plus ... You Down With RTD? Yeah you know me!

Wotcha! So this week saw White Claw announce they are launching a 0.0 version of their hard seltzer. Ponder that for a minute.

 In this week’s edition: 

  • 📰 NAN - Non-Alcoholic News my Nan would approve of!

  • 🍹 BITTERS: All The Bitters

  • 🍺 COCKTAIL: Figlia - Fiore Frizzante

  • 🍺 BEER: Sierra Nevada - Trail Pass IPA

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P.S. ➡️ DON’T FORGET TO HIT REPLY and tell me your favorite new non-alcoholic drink discovery of 2023. ⬅️

Read time: 6 mins 34 secs


Non-Alcoholic News my Nan would approve of!

  • ✈️ BEER: Alaska Airlines have announced they will now be serving Best Day’s Kolsch on their flights. (link)

  • 🍷 WINE: 2024 will see Mionetto release an NA version of their Prosecco Brut. (link)

  • 🎸 BEER: Echoes is the new colab from Self Care Brewing and Ben Gibbard (Postal Service, Death Cab For Cutie) (link)

  • 🍹 BITTERS: All The Bitter have just released a limited run of 400 bottles of their Fig and Black Walnut Bitters. (link)

  • 📰 GOOD READ: The NYT’s Wirecutter has just released their “Best Non-alcoholic Drinks” list. (link)


In each edition of The Modern Substitute, ON THE BAR focuses on three drinks you should be on the look out for. We’ll give you a quick rundown of our thoughts on the drink, who makes it, where to buy it or, in the case of mocktails, how to make it.

Please note: due to popularity or limited runs, some drinks may be out of stock - please check with the beverage companies for updates.


  • Chico, CA

  • Calories: 10

  • Serving: 4 fl.oz.

  • ABV: 0%

  • Buy: allthebitter.com • widely available online

  • Price: $26.50

The ModSub thoughts: As I've started to explore the world of non-alcoholic cocktails and try my hand at making them from scratch, one name keeps coming up time and time again - All The Bitter.

Founded by Ian and Carly Blessing in 2021, All The Bitter has swiftly risen to the forefront of the NA cocktail scene, establishing robust partnerships with non-alcoholic spirit brands and garnering enthusiastic approval from bartenders across the U.S., Europe and beyond.

My cocktail-making skills, in the before times, stretched no further than a heavily-poured gin and tonic and a passable Negroni. It certainly didn't involve the use of any kind of bitters.

Curious, I asked a seasoned high-end bartender friend, who succinctly expressed the importance of bitters in cocktail creation: “Complexity, balance, and nuance.” Researching the history of bitters, I hadn't realized just how many cocktails included bitters to fully complement the spirit in the cocktail.

After spending the past week experimenting with recipes from the extensive All The Bitter collection, I've enjoyed learning just how important a role bitters play in the creation of a cocktail. Previously, I would just skip past the bitters when making a cocktail, which probably accounts for why most of them were rubbish.

From now on, as I continue to build and expand my NA bar at home, All The Bitter's quartet of bitters will be a permanent fixture. 

As they should be for you too.


How All The Bitter describes Aromatic: Bold and spicy, our Aromatic bitters are loaded with cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. Deep, earthy flavors are lifted by ginger and a backbone of bitter gentian. Crafted for cocktails with or without alcohol, these bitters are perfect in classics like an Old Fashioned or Manhattan, dashed into sparkling water to make bitters and soda, or added to your favorite mixers like tonic or ginger beer. 

From the Recipe Collection: Lemon, Lime & Bitters

Mod Sub: Hugely popular drink in Australia, with history dating all the way back to the 1880s! The lemon and lime, up the ante with a combination of sour and tartness, while the Aromatic Bitters add a sweet spicy earthyness and the syrup is left to gently soften the bitterness. It’ll definitely wake your mouth up. Love it.


How All The Bitter describes Orange: Our gold medal-winning Orange bitters add citrus and spice to any cocktail. Crafted with three varieties of orange peel plus cardamom, coriander and lemon balm for a profile that's as herbal and spiced as it is zesty. Designed for versatility, our zero-proof bitters can be used in drinks with or without alcohol. These are great in an Old Fashioned, Negroni, or margarita, and are shockingly good in wheat beer. Try it in sparkling water with a squeeze of lemon for an easy, refreshing drink.

From the Recipe Collection: Black Manhattan

Mod Sub: Wowza! That might be the closest I’ve got yet to re-recreating a drink that actually tastes like the regular version. I’m blown away by this one. I’ll leave it at that before I get too carried away. TRY THIS ONE!


How All The Bitter describes New Orleans Bitters: Inspired by 19th-century apothecary Antoine Peychaud, our New Orleans bitters are a celebration of NOLA and American cocktail culture. With bright flavors of anise, tart cherry, hibiscus, and rosehips, these bitters will liven up any drink. Designed for versatility, our zero-proof bitters can be used in drinks with or without alcohol. Fantastic in bitters and soda, a few dashes will do wonders for tonic, beer, and alcohol-free red wine, too.

From the Recipe Collection: Bitters and Beer

I’m not going to lie. When I saw this recipe, I was pretty skeptical. However while I do love an unadulterated light beer, adding the New Orleans bitters gave it a really appealing complexity. The cherry and hibiscus really took the beer in different directions. I’m going to experiment more with the different bitters in light beers. An unexpected delight.


How All The Bitter describes Lavender Bitters: Sip your way to relaxation with our Lavender Bitters! Crafted with locally sourced organic lavender, plus chamomile, rose petals, and calming herbs like ashwagandha, skullcap and passionflower, these bitters help bring a little chill into your day. The floral, grassy, and bitter flavor is perfect for gin cocktails, adding an uplifting note to your favorite drink.

From the Recipe Collection - Lavender Bee's Knees

Mod Sub: This was a lovely blend of botanicals from the gin, a little bite from lemon, softened by the honey syrup and given a gentle floral nudge from the lavender bitters. This is one to impress your friends at your next dinner party.

Learn more about All The Bitter at allthebitter.com


  • New York, NY

  • Calories: 43

  • Serving: 8.4 fl.oz.

  • ABV: 0%

  • Buy: drinkfiglia.com • store locator • widely available online

  • Price: $24 (4-cans), $6 (single can)

The ModSub thoughts: I love that so many companies are producing single-serve RTD (ready-to-drink) non-alcoholic cocktail cans. They're not just tasty; they're pocket-sized, and just small enough to slip into your coat or purse and bring them to places where non-alcoholic drink options are scarce.

Figlia, though. Oooof, what a cracker! If the 4th of July firework display in New York were a flavor, Fiore Frizzante would be it. Bursting with bold fruitiness the second it hits your taste buds and intensifying as it works its way around your mouth. There's a nice bitter twist afterwards, followed by a brief fruity reminder and another hint of bitterness - it's a flavor journey that keeps you hooked until it gently fades out just in time for the next sip. IT'S SO GOOD!

Fiore Frizzante is a cocktail with layered depth, complexity, and a whole lot of character, and one that sits at the top table of non-alcoholic cocktails.

Just as important though, by creating these single-serve cans, Figlia, and others, have made it easy for folks like me to feel part of the celebration, not an onlooker sidelined from it. Long may that continue. 

How Figlia describes Fiore Frizzante: Floral, Bitter, Aromatic. Rose, Bitter Orange, Clove. All the good stuff. None of the bad. We use only natural ingredients, juices and botanical extracts. We add no artificial colors or sugars.

Learn more about Figlia at drinkfiglia.com


  • Chico, CA

  • Calories: 95

  • Serving: 12 fl.oz.

  • ABV: <0.5%

  • Buy: sierranevada.com (limited to 8 states) • store locator • widely availble at online stores

  • Price: $12-14 (6-pack)

The ModSub thoughts: When Sierra Nevada unveiled the news of its first venture into the non-alcoholic beer market a few weeks ago, the collective cheer from NA beer enthusiasts echoed across the States.

Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale was my first introduction to craft brewing on the West Coast back in the 90s and holds a special place in my beer-loving heart. It was my go-to beer whenever I could get my hands on it. So yeah, I too was pretty damn excited about this one.

Well, I say “one,” the brewery is actually introducing two new beers to kick off their NA product line: the Trail Pass Golden and the Trail Pass IPA. I’ll leave the Golden in the fridge for now and focus on the IPA.

I happily finished my first pint of Trail Pass IPA and was left thinking, “This tastes old school.” It could be attributed to my hiatus from regular IPAs for the last couple of years, but there's something nostalgically reminiscent of IPAs from a bygone era. A bit rugged, in a pleasantly raw manner, leading with a burst of hops and culminating in an unapologetically bitter finish.

Expectations were high, but then again, it is Sierra Nevada. Did they nail it? Absolutely. The Trail Pass IPA is a refreshing, satisfying experience – job well done.

How Sierra Nevada describes their Trail Pass IPA: Grab a Trail Pass and start a new adventure with miles of flavor. Explore the hoppy notes of citrus and pine from Amarillo® and CTZ varieties in non-alcoholic Trail Pass IPA. The silky malt body and clean hop bitterness are just what you’d expect from a world-class Sierra Nevada IPA, yet it’s less than 0.5% ABV. 

Learn more about Sierra Nevada at sierranevada.com

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