How Much is a Dash of Bitters

by Michael
old fashioned cocktail

Bitters are common ingredients in several alcoholic cocktails as they can really spice up an entire drink. While they can be enjoyed by themselves, these drinks will taste much better as ingredients in more complex drinks. Bitters have a strong taste and they are high in alcohol, which is why drinking them plain, is not everyone’s preferred choice.

A dash of bitters is a small quantity of bitters, anywhere from ⅛ teaspoon to ¼ teaspoon. This is more than enough to add a pinch of flavor and alcohol to your drink.  

How many drops of bitters is a dash?

While the quantity of bitters in a dash can be from ⅛ teaspoon to ¼ teaspoon, this could be difficult to measure. The easiest way to get the right amount of bitter is by counting the drops.

So, if you want to pour just enough bitter in your drink, in order to get a dash you will have to pour ten drops. To get exactly ten drops (or less) in a dash of bitters, you will need to use a precise dropper, similar or just as the ones used to administrate medicine.

The ten drops bitters quantity that equals a dash is more socially acceptance. The dash is not as well-defined as other measures and there are different experts with split opinions on the matter. However, all of them consider ten drops to be the maximum amount of bitter in a dash.

There are specialists that define a dash of bitters as simply “less than a milliliter”, and as abstract as this might seem to a beginner, a bartender will know exactly how to measure it.

How much is a dash of bitters in ml

The agreed quantity of a dash of bitters is 0.92 mls, which is the equivalent of 1/32oz. If this amount sounds difficult to measure, you are not alone. Measuring an exact dash of bitters is difficult even for the expert bartenders.

As we mentioned, the dash of bitters is most likely the least defines measurement and it creates confusion among people all over the world. The more experience you gain at prepairing cocktails or other drinks that contain bitters, the easier it will be to identify what a dash of it is for you.

Considering your personal preferences or the preferences of your guests is ideal as well. There are people that like more bitter in their drink, even if the recipe calls for just a dash of it.

Depending on the bottle you have, you can obtain this quantity by simply tilting the bottle and dropping a bit in your drink or thrust it to get several drops in your glass. But we will address the best ways to measure a bitter dash in the next section so you will not have to guess how to do it.

How do you measure a bitters dash?

If you want to be as exact as possible and stick to the established quantity of a dash of bitter, you will need to measure it in a certain way. Simply tilting your bitter bottle and dropping a little bit in your glass will not give you a dash necessarily.

You might actually drop more of it and you will end up with a drink that has a too strong bitter taste. It is however, difficult to drop less considering that a dash of bitter is just under 1 milliliter, but that could still happen as well.


1. Invest in a dropper

You will have to invest in a medicine dispenser dropper in order to get the exact amount of bitter you want. Expert bartenders use droppers frequently for all the drinks that require one of more dashes of liquid. So, if you want to get your own professional cocktail, you will be using such a dropper for a long time and with many occasions.

2. Pour bitter in the dropper

You will have to add a small quantity of bitter in your dropper bottle. The amount you add will depend on the size of the bottle but also on whether or not you want to use it again without having to refill your dropper every time. For instance if you make five drinks and each drink requires a dash of bitter, your dropper bottle should contain at least five dashes of bitter, if its capacity allows it.

3. Add a dash of bitter to your cocktail

To add a dash of bitter to your cocktail, simply add ten drops from your dropper. If you want less you can always add less. If you are a beginner and you are not sure what amount of bitter you like in your cocktail, taste your drink after five drops to decide if you need to add more.

4. Mix and enjoy

Make sure all the ingredients in your cocktail combine well with each other and enjoy your drink! This is also the step where you will use a shaker if your drink needs to be prepared in this way.

Note that even if you add a bit more than one dash, chances are that you will not compromise your drink as very few will be able to tell the difference between one dash and 2 dashes.

How much is 3 dashes of bitters?

If you are preparing a cocktail that calls for three dashes of bitter, you have two options. You can use a bigger dropper and fill it up with the equivalent of three dashes of bitter. Or, you can add three dashes of bitter separately, one dash at a time.

Three dashes of bitter means 0.09 oz, which is the equivalent of 2,6 milliliters and anywhere from 1/4 teaspoon to 1/8 teaspoon.

Experienced bartenders simply pour from the bitter bottle. But if you venture into applying this technique, know that skills are everything.

For a beginner, it is much easier to use a dropper. You can either count 30 drops which is the equivalent of three dashes of bitter, or you can add ten drops at a time in three different rounds.

Once you gain some experience, you can try to add your three dashes of bitter to your cocktail, directly from the bitter bottle. Keep in mind though, that if you add too much, you can’t remove it, while if you add too little, you can always add a bit more.

How many ounces is 2 dash of bitters?

If your recipe calls for two dashes of bitters, know that this means approximately 0.04 oz or ¼ teaspoon. But these measurements are never set in stone, even if they are the recommended ones. So, if you prefer more or less bitters in your drink listen to your personal taste. After all, your cocktail should be perfect for you before it follows any other rules!

As you noticed, the difference between one dash and two dashes is not significant so you will have to be very precise if you want to add two dashes exactly. However, in this case, you have a higher chance of dropping two dashes from one tilt of the bottle.

Usually, when pouring bitter directly from the bottle, even if you do it really fast, you will drop more than one dash. But you can drop about two dashes. However, we strongly suggest using a dropper in order to have a better control over the quantity of bitters you add to your drinks.

How to pour a dash of bitters

If you want to use the bottle method and you don’t have a dropper, here is how you can do that and still add only a dash of bitters to your cocktail. There are bottles of bitters that come in small sizes, with a thin neck, designed to be used to pour one dash of bitters at a time.

If you have such a bottle, it will be easier for you. Small bottles are also easier to manage since you have to move fast in order to add just a dash of bitters. But ultimately, the method should work regardless of the bottle size you use.

Grab the bottle of bitters by the neck and shake it a few times. Have your glass ready on the table and tilt the bottle enough to drop a small quantity of bitters in the glass.

You will have to do that fast and the pouring step shouldn’t take more than one second. You can practice this movement better with an empty glass. By using bitters as the first ingredient in your cocktail, you will be able to see how much you poured by using the bottle method.

If you decide that you poured too much of bitters in the glass, you can simply try again, as long as there are no ingredients in your cocktail yet. So, you will reduce the risk of ruining your drink.

How much alcohol is in a dash of bitters

To understand the strength of bitters, it is enough to understand the alcoholic impact that a dash of bitters will have on your drink. The average bitters will have about 35% to 45% alcohol per volume (APV). However, if you use your bitters in moderation, such as a dash per drink, you will not get a significant amount of alcohol.

The exact amount of alcohol in a dash of bitters is difficult to be established since it depends on the alcohol in the bottle as well as how exact the dash was poured. However, it is safe to say that a cocktail that contains one dash of bitters has the alcohol of 1/10th of a glass of red wine. This average rule applies of course, as long as there are no other alcoholic ingredients in the cocktail.

Bitters adds just the right amount of alcohol to a drink, to make it spicier and more interesting, as long as you only pour a dash of it. However, know that you can always add two and even three dashes of bitters if you want a stronger alcohol concentration or you want the flavor of the bitters to be more present in your drink.

How many dashes of bitters in popular cocktails

Bitters is a common ingredient in several traditional cocktails that you most likely heard of and maybe even tried. Keep in mind that you can also skip adding bitters to these drinks, but that will alter their taste significantly. Bitters is a strong drink with a very rich flavor, so you will be missing out if you let it out of your cocktail!

Cocktail Bitters dashes
Manhattan 2 dashes of bitters
Vodka sour 3 dashes of bitters
Buffalo Bill 1 dash of bitters
Sazerac 1 dash of bitters
Pink Martini 4 dashes orange bitters
Caramel Manhattan 1 dash of bitters
Rob Roy 2 dashes of bitters
Extrakt Ginger 2 dashes of bitters
Anejo Highball 2 dashes of bitters
Brandy Crusta 2 dashes of bitters
Blushing Bride 1 dash of orange bitter
Fitzgerald 2 dashes of bitters
Almond Old Fashioned 3 dashes of orange bitters
Quattro Bianchi 2 dashes of bitters

Final thoughts

Using dashes of bitters in your drinks can enhance the taste they have significantly. You will have to pay close attention to the amount of bitters you add so you don’t end up with a cocktail that is too alcoholic.

Adding just the right amount of bitters to your drink can make a true difference when it comes to its final taste. But you will have to consider your personal taste as well when you do that. If you would like a more alcoholic drink, you can feel free to add two dashes of bitters instead of one.

At the same time, if the cocktail’s recipe calls for two or even three dashes of bitters, feel free to add just one. This guide will help you understand not only what a dash of bitters is but also how it can alter the taste of your final drink.

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