Young Man Cocktail

Created by famed bartender, Harry Craddock, the Young Man Cocktail is essentially a Manhattan made with Cognac. The addition of orange curaçao offers a subtle citrus note and a touch of sweetness.

1 1/2 oz Cognac

1/2 oz sweet vermouth

dash Bitter Truth Old Time Aromatic Bitters

dash orange curaçao


Stir with ice.

Strain into a cocktail glass.

Garnish with a cherry.


mandarin 31 Jan 2012
1:16 pm

How comparable is Bitter truth to Angustura?

Robert Hess 31 Jan 2012
2:48 pm

The Bitter Truth Aromatic Bitters and Angostura Aromatic Bitters are similar, yet different. At a certain level it is sort of like asking “How comparable is River Run Chardonnay to Bent Whistle Chardonnay?”

You can use the two interchangeably, but you may notice a slight difference in cocktails made from them. I find Angostura to be fairly complex and sharp, while the Bitter Truth is a little rounder, with perhaps just a little more sweetness?

It wasn’t that long ago (ok, we’re talking around 1999 here) that our choice of bitters was extremely limited. There was Angostura, and… well… that was about it. Peychaud’s could be found, if you looked hard enough, as too could the Fee’s products. Then Regan’s Orange Bitters came onto the market, and soon afterwards various other “craft” bitters started coming around. Today, I dare say there are probably two dozen? three dozen? more? different bitters available without needing to search too far.

While this can be seen as a “good thing”, it also adds a little confusion to the fold when you see somebody using one of the bitters that you might not have.

Aromatic Bitters and Orange Bitters should be seen as the standard products that any self-respecting cocktail enthusiast should have on hand, and while they don’t need to, perhaps they should even have a couple different brands.

If you see somebody use a brand of aromatic or orange bitters that is different from the brand that you have, feel free to simply use whatever you have. If instead they are using one of the more “esoteric” bitters, then I might first try whatever you might have on hand, and if you think the drink seems interesting, you might want to try picking up the same product they used just to see what the difference might be.


Ben Alpers 1 Feb 2012
10:51 am

While we’re on the topic of all the bitters available these days, I wanted to sound you out about the Bitter Truth’s Jerry Thomas’ Own Decanter Bitters. These have suddenly become available here in Oklahoma and I recently picked up a bottle of them.  They’re excellent and interesting.  I’ve fiddled with substituting them for more standard aromatic bitters in various cocktails. They do very well in simpler things like an Old Fashioned. But they’re seem a little more assertive to me than, say, Angostura, which makes me wonder how they’d play in more complicated drinks. Since I really like the flavor of the Jerry Thomas Bitters, I’m actively looking for uses for them.  Have you, Robert (or anyone else reading this), fiddled around with this product? What’s your experience with it?

blair frodelius 1 Feb 2012
12:59 pm


My bitters collection just keeps expanding on a monthly basis!  I currently own about 60 different bottles.  Everything from blueberry to Macadamia nut.  It’s amazing.

I do agree that everyone should have an aromatic and an orange bitters at home.  I also recommend Peychaud’s since they are called for in a few classics like the Sazerac and the Metropole.

Ben, in my opinion, the Bitter Truth products are all more aggressive, or let’s say “heartier” than Angostura Aromatic Bitters.  I find that they work well with rye or a higher than 80 proof bourbon, but with a softer product like Maker’s Mark Bourbon or Jim Beam Rye they tend to dominate the drink.  Really, it’s up to you and what you prefer.  In any case, the Bitter Truth guys make great products.  You can read several reviews of their line on my website.



Perry 3 Feb 2012
2:58 pm

Just made my one. Very tasty. Light, easy to drink; what’s not to like? I imagine the brand of cognac makes a difference. Will experiment with that. I used Dolin sweet vermouth, and that seemed to work well; will try M&R later.

If you know any of he Bitter Truth folks, it would be nice to get there product more widely distributed through retail outlets in this country. I’ve seen it online, but would like the convenience of a local purveyor.  I’m here in the midwest (MN). We’ve the luxury of Haus Alpenz importing some fine products, but I don’t think anyone is bringing in Bitter Truth.

TheBalch 21 Apr 2012
2:43 pm

Hey Mr. Hess, are you alright? Haven’t seen an update on here or on Drinkboy for some time. I hope everything’s okay. I’ll hope for the best.

I would love to see some recipes that use a wider variety of liqueurs. I have an overwhelming number of such things—Frangelico, Chambord, Tuaca, etc.. and I’d like to be able to make something other than shooters with them. Is there any hope, or am I just stuck with bottles full of candy passing for spirits?

Robert Hess 23 Apr 2012
7:42 am

We just finished filming another set of recipes which you’ll start seeing posted shortly!

As for your issue with using some of the liqueurs in your cabinet… I agree, often some of those specialty liqueurs don’t have much calling in “classic” cocktails. Sometimes you can take a classic that uses “a” liqueur, and experiment with substituting in another one just to see how it fairs. Tuaca and Frangelico can “sometimes” be used in drinks that call for creme de cacao, and Chambord can usually be used in drinks that call for Cassis. can be a good source to try to find recipes that might use a particular ingredient. The recipes are culled from older recipe books, and there are about 4,000 of them on the site.

And on the “Spirits” page of you’ll find a listing of all of the different ingredients that the recipes on my site use. Chambord unfortunately isn’t one of them (probaly should add a couple), but I do have one recipe that just happens to use both Frangelico and Tuaca… it’s the “Bistro Sidecar”...

...which was created by Kathy Casey, who is also one of our hosts here on Small Screen Network.


Lynn Ballintiner 30 Apr 2012
11:03 pm

Robert this message is off topic, but I am taking my first trip to New Orleans tomorrow and I am trying to find where Chris Macmillan works so I can have him make me my first mint julep. Can you help me find him?

Ginty 5 Feb 2013
12:56 pm

Blair! Perfectly said, I made a Rye Whisky cocktail with a less aggressive Rye and the BT aromatic bitters almost ruined it! It was all I could taste.

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