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Bitters

A rather curious drink, primarily used for adding flavour to cocktails, Bitters are a little like the salt and pepper of the cocktail world (as in the condiment and not the hip hop outfit).

Bitters are made with various bitter herbs, barks and other flavourings, with an alcoholic base (often rum). They are not intended for neat consumption, due to their very (and unsurprisingly) bitter flavour, but when added to an Old-Fashioned cocktail, or a Manhattan, they impart all sorts of complexity, bringing maturity and great depth.

Bitters started life, as did many of our favourite drinks, as a medicine. The famous Angostura bitters were created by Dr Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert as a remedy for sea sickness and stomach ailments. The original recipe was named after the town of Angostura in Venezuela (and not after the bark from the tree of the same name – also named after the town).

Exports started to Trinidad (where the Angostura company is now based) and England. The Royal Navy (which was, at the time, an ardent promoter of some of the more beneficial qualities of alcohol) took to adding a few dashing of Angostura bitters to Gin, a concoction known as “Pink Gin”, which was said to placate tummy woes.

The list of ingredients used to make traditional bitters reads a little like a who’s who of archaic remedies: Angostura bark, cassia, gentian, even quinine (the favourite anti-malarial of the old colonists). Bitters are simply made by macerating a bitter agent (often one or more of the above mentioned barks), and a selection of other herbs and spices in strong spirit.

Did you know?... ...In Trinidad and Tobago, Angostura bitters are often added to coffee – well worth trying!

Bitters

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Campari Bitters
(70cl, 25%)
A 19th century bitters created in Milan by Gaspare Campari. It is made by infusing bitter herbs, plants and fruit in alcohol and water. The result is a rich, complex bitters which works brilliantly in...  More info
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$25.74
Old Time Aromatic Bitters are some astonishing bitters from the Bitter Truth. These work brilliantly in whisky and rum cocktails and add superb, spicy complexity.  More info
$38.13
You can't make a Ramos Gin Fizz without this! Non-alcoholic Orange Flower Water can also be added to champagne or sparkling wine for a delectable summer drink.  More info
$20.57
Extraordinary bitters, Bittermens Hopped Grapefruit Bitters are made with grapefruit essences and peels, hops for bitterness, and bottled at 53% abv. We recommend these be used in cocktails such as...  More info
$39.44
Stunning Cherry bitters from Fee Brothers. A classic ingredient in pre-Prohibition era cocktail making. These work fantastically with whiskey cocktails…  More info
$14.89
Very unusual indeed - Rhubarb bitters. Made by Fee Brothers, they have a complex medicinal, rhubarb flavour with hints of cherry.  More info
$16.69
This is the second batch of our delicious cask-aged Whisky Bitters. These were aged in a fresh Kentucky oak cask, and the results are spicy and full-bodied cocktail bitters which work well in all...  More info
$25.10
These were created in 1828 by John G Boker. They became very popular in New York and they were synonymous with the "golden age" of cocktail making. They were used throughout Jerry Thomas's book "How...  More info
$16.39
The Teapot Bitters were created in early 2012 when Dr. Adam Elmegirab felt inspired by the medicinal uses of tea and bitters. So he decided to fuse the two together into these delicious tea-flavoured...  More info
$16.39
Brilliant peach bitters from Free Brothers. Try adding a few drops to a Mai Tai cocktail, it adds a luscious peach flavour that works really well.  More info
$14.83
Now where would an Old-Fashioned, or a Manhattan be without some decent Orange bitters. These are made by Fee Brothers using West Indian oranges.  More info
$14.81
These excellent grapefruit bitters from Fee Brothers work really well in cocktails with a tangy citrus element. They add a little extra spice and depth. Try them in your next Margarita or Sour…  More info
$14.79
Fabulous orange bitters from the legendary Angostura company, these were first introduced in 2007 and work tremendously well in a variety of rum-based cocktails…  More info
$14.12
Crystal Bitters
(6cl, 66%)
Our crystal bitters are made from a secret blend of botanicals and bittering ingredients, macerated for several months, then cold-distilled.
It's an intriguing proposition for cocktails, allowing...  More info
$20.07
The Bitter Truth Rose Water is flavoured with organic blossoms, and undergoes an intricate distillation process. As you might imagine the scent is flowery and very natural.  More info
$17.63
Kamm & Sons excellent Ginseng Spirit has been relaunched as Kamm & Sons British Aperitif - still containing 45 botanicals (such as grapefruit peel, manuka honey, elderflower, juniper berries, fennel...  More info
$45.32
Casque Orange Bitters
(1cl, 14.30%)
These Orange Bitters are thought to originate from the 1970s, although no definitive record of their production, ingredients or method of manufacture can be found, consequently no warranty as to the...  More info
$16.71
Fantastic chocolate bitters from Germany courtesy of The Bitter Truth. Try adding a dash into a cocktail that uses a rich whisky for some tremendous added depth.  More info
$23.95
Stunning Creole bitters from the Bitter Truth. Creole Bitters reflects the intense, rich style of good from Louisiana, vaguely similar to Cajun food, which sprung from meeting of many cultures...  More info
$23.95
Perfectly crafted orange bitters, these Orange Bitters from Bitter Truth are essential in a good Old Fashioned Cocktail. Loads of zesty, spicy flavour!  More info
$23.88
Cumin Bitters
(5cl, 40%)
A superb extraction of the very finest Cumin Seeds money can buy.

These Single-Varietal bitters are made using only three ingredients; the spirit (Grain Vodka) and Cumin Seeds with natural...  More info
$16.71
This was released in 2009 as a unique addition to the growing Bitters sector. These bitters are superb in cocktails and have a brilliantly sweet and spicy flavour.  More info
$16.39
Produced in Germany by The Bitter Truth, these delicious bitters are flavoured with peach. The result is the perfect addition to a variety of fruity cocktails.  More info
$23.66
Classically styled old fashioned bitters from Fee Brothers. These work wonders in a Planter's Punch, a Singapore Sling or a Manhattan.  More info
$15.31
These bitters from The Bitter Truth are made using oranges, lemons and grapefruit from Sicily, perfect for giving a drink a balanced citrus component.  More info
$24.37
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