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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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Bitter Bastards Fennel Bitters will add a little fennel seed spice and zing to those cocktails of yours. Ideal. Made using a carefully considered recipe where only high-proof dark rum and a bittering...  More info
$16.35
The Bitter Bastards range features all sorts of top quality bitters in a rainbow of flavours, all made with innovative (and awesome) centrifugal extraction and rapid-maceration to reduce unwanted...  More info
$16.35
Say you've got a cocktail, but you feel it's lacking some 'shazam' or 'ka-pow' or another onomatopoeic word to suggest excitement. What's the remedy for this lack of 'ta-daa'? Bitters. Perhaps...  More info
$16.35
Angelica Bitters
(5cl, 75%)
A far cry from the lurid green Glacé Angelica of our youth, these bitters are made with proper, grown-ups' Angelica root.

These Single-Varietal bitters are made using only three ingredients; the...  More info
$16.35
You're probably not going to get one of your five a day from the Fee Brothers Celery Bitters, especially since you'll only need to add a dash or two to give your drinks some complex, bitter-sweet and...  More info
$14.87
These spicy bitters are aptly named - they are spicy, sweet and tart - truly burlesque! They were work well in cocktails featuring Amari, Gin, Tequila or Rum and are made using hibiscus, açai berry...  More info
$38.59
These bitters are packed full of citrus flavours off-set with a heavy dose of chamomile. Designed for summer months but can bring a zestiness to a cocktail at any time of year!  More info
$38.59
Add a dose of dark fruit and spice to your cocktails with the Fee Brothers Plum Bitters. Ought to pair well with dark rums, we reckon.  More info
$17.61
Made using the classic black truffle (Tuber Melanosporum), the second most valuable species of truffle in the world, these cocktail bitters from Bitter Bastards bring some refined mushroomy-umami...  More info
$32.77
Angelica might sound all angelic and whatnot, but don't be fooled - it can be a right bitter bastard too! These cocktail bitters are made with intense angelica root, specially selected spirit...  More info
$16.35
Aromatic, perfumed and altogether awesome Coriander Bitters, for the cocktails that desire intriguing flavours which urge you to take another sip. Rapidly macerated, centrifugally extracted and...  More info
$16.35
Like chefs arm themselves with spices to create masterful meals, bartenders arm themselves with bitters to perfectly season cocktails. The Bitter Bastards Cumin Bitters wouldn't look out of place in...  More info
$16.35
Using the peel of the small, green and rather bitter oranges you find on the Island of Curaçao, the Bitter Bastards Curaçao Bitters are supremely zesty. With carefully measured amounts of bittering...  More info
$16.35
Clove is wonderful stuff, whether you're adding it to some mulled wine or picking it out of a whisky's snazzy bouquet, we love this dark spice. How then, to get some of this magic into your cocktails?...  More info
$16.35
Bitter Bastards Liquorice Bitters are made with liquorice root and a bittering agent (gentian root) with a high-quality bourbon base, and provide an intense, earthy, rich, unadulterated liquorice...  More info
$16.35
Absinthe Bitters
(50cl, 52%)
Absinthe Bitters from The Great Southern Distilling Company down on the Western Coast of Australia. This is made with two different types of wormwood (the herb that imparts absinthe much of its...  More info
$86.62
Aromatic bitters, made by The Bitter Truth, in 15cl bottles. For when you aren't planning to make loads of cocktails, but still want them to have a some spicy complexity.  More info
$29.03
Campari 100cl - 1970s
(100cl, 25%)
A 100cl bottle of Campari bitters produced in the 1970s. A neat little antique that isn't all that little at all. Like I said, it's a 100cl bottle.  More info
$197.14
Campari 25% - 1970s
(75cl, 25%)
A 1970s bottle of Campari Bitters, perfect for a Negroni that isn't a roast beef sandwich (check out this edition of Master of Cocktails to pick up what I'm putting down with that statement)...  More info
$157.71
Make your Gin & Tonic more Gin & Tonic-y with the Bitter Truth Tonic Bitters, which blends together notes of grapefruit, lime, Seville Orange and Sicilian lemon along with juniper, orris root and...  More info
$28.67
This is a 1980s bottle of the classic Campari Bitter. Due to the maceration, rather than distillation, that takes place in Campari's production, oxidisation takes place in the bottle, which leads to...  More info
$197.14
Cardamom Bitters
(5cl, 75%)
One of the real traditional ingredients used in the manufacture of cocktail bitters, Cardamom has long been a barman's best friend.

These Single-Varietal bitters are made using only two...  More info
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
$14.47
Lavender Bitters
(5cl, 40%)
Made using the finest grade of Lavender Flowers – these superb bitters add a perfumed intensity to all manner of cocktails.These Single-Varietal bitters are made using only two ingredients; the spirit...  More info
Naga Chilli Bitters
(5cl, 51%)
Made with the world's hottest chilli, Naga Jolokia, we reckon these bitters probably tip the scale at around about 250,000 Scoville units.

These Single-Varietal bitters are made using only three...  More info
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