The Perfect Manhattan is one of my all time favorite cocktails, and I’m always trying variations of it. Recently my uncle recommended black walnut bitters to me, to use in bourbon drinks. I was intrigued, and ordered a bottle of Fee Brothers Black Walnut bitters from Amazon. (I couldn’t find it locally.)
The result was a somewhat smoky, earthy addition to the standard warmth of a Manhattan. Very pleasant change from using Angostura bitters.
I’ve read some directions on making your own bitters, and trying different ones like this really gets me excited to try making my own. I can see a lot of possibilities of smoking ingredients first, and then making bitters out of them!
I’ve also seen flamed and torched citrus garnishes, so that might be something to try to capture and use in other cocktails.