This Cola Bitters recipe is one of my favorite cocktail components. Cola bitters are a fun and surprising addition to a cocktail. They give a quick hit of a familiar flavor, but they don’t dominate. The effect can be both familiar and surprising at the same time.

Empty Coca-Cola Bottles
Cola Bitters – Photo by Justin Helmick on Reshot

The best thing about the flavor of cola is that most people have no clue what it tastes like. When you layer cola flavors and use fresh ingredients it tastes completely different than what you expect. At the same time the flavor is totally familiar.

One of my favorite things to do is to use this recipe to make a variation on the Old Fashioned. Using cola syrup and cola bitters in an Old Fashioned you can put a cocktail in your cocktail. Rye and coke, or rum and coke old fashioned anyone?

Cola Bitters Recipe


  • 250 ml cola
  • 10 g dried licorice root
  • 8 g cinnamon stick
  • 15 g fennel seeds
  • 1.5 g star anise
  • 8 g black pepper
  • 8 g whole cloves
  • 750 ml high proof spirit


  1. Reduce cola over med-low heat until it is the consistency of a thick syrup.
  2. Mix the reduced cola syrup with the botanicals and gin.
  3. Pour the mixture into a sealable container. Store in a cool dark place for 12 weeks.
  4. When the bitters have thoroughly infused strain the solids. Filter the bitters through cheesecloth.

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