Bitters added a great deal of depth and flavor to the sauce served with fried chicken from a chain store, pickles and homemade biscuits and turnip greens. / Photo by Kelley Courter


Read about a Chattanooga woman expected to start Tennessee’s first alcohol-based legal bitters business here.

KELLEY: On a recent shopping spree to my favorite local wine and spirits store, I stumbled across a selection of bitters, which are all the rage in some cooking circles. Curious, I asked the salesperson a few questions, and she was very helpful. I settled on a bottle of 18.21 Bitters brand blackberry peppercorn shrub and then spent the next several days researching and coming up with ideas on how we might use it.

BARRY: I know there was talk of making sliders and using the bitters to make a sauce, and even a cocktail or two. Bitters have been around since the ancient Egytians and are basically an alcoholic mixture that is infused with botanical things like herbs, bark, roots or fruits. It's pretty potent stuff.

KELLEY: It is a versatile ingredient. Our daughter suggested making a sauce and putting that on a biscuit with a piece of fried chicken. I liked the idea and then thought it would be fun to use some Popeyes chicken since they've been in the news so much for running out of their chicken sandwiches. I thought maybe we could spice things up for them.

BARRY: You're a giver.

KELLEY: The big challenge, for me anyway, is that I've never been able to make a decent biscuit, at least nothing close to what my mother used to make. You could use store-bought biscuits if you are baking-challenged as well.

BARRY: A giver, but not a baker.

KELLEY: I liked the sauce, and it worked well with the chicken. I also made turnip greens in the slow cooker and served it all with sliced pickles.


some text
Dress up a chicken and biscuit sandwich with a bitters-infused sauce. / Photo by Kelley Courter

Bitters Sauce

1/2 yellow onion, chopped

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon butter

1/8 cup bourbon

1/2 cup cola

1/8 cup huli sauce

1/4 cup bitters (we used blackberry peppercorn shrub by 18.21 Bitters)

1 tablespoon Worchestershire suace

2 tablespoons Dijon

1/2 cup ketchup

fresh ground black pepper

Saute the onions and garlic in the butter. Blend the bourbon and cola, and reduce by half over heat. Mix the rest of the ingredients well, and pour in food processor to blend. Store in fridge until ready to use.



2 cups self-rising flour

6-8 teaspoons butter

2/3 cup buttermilk

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix ingredients until the mixture is sloppy. Do not overmix. Dump onto floured surface, and fold 3 to 8 times. Cut into shapes, and place on greased baking sheet. Bake until golden.

Contact Barry and Kelley Courter at or 423-757-6354.