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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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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
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Cardamom has been a handy tool in a bartender's tool-belt for years, and these Bitter Bastards Cardamom Bitters will surely find their way into the tool-belts of many bartenders and, consequently...  More info
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These chipotle bitters are made with delicious smoke-dried jalapeño peppers, gentian root and specially selected spirit. The yummy, highly-desirable flavours gained through rapid-maceration are then...  More info
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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
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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
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If you're looking for some bitters to make your drink taste like you just filled up an Easter egg with mashed up chocolate buttons, this probably isn't for you. However, if you're looking to add a...  More info
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Made with the finest roasted arabica coffee beans, these exceptional bitters will give a hit of Columbia's finest to your cocktail creations! Like the rest of the extensive Bitter Bastards range, only...  More info
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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
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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
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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
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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
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Brian's mother may not have been too enamoured by myrrh, but there's nothing she enjoyed more than a gift of gold or frankincense. Despite being promised as much gold as she could eat by the...  More info
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You'll often see gentian being used as a bittering agent in cocktails and bitters alike. Yep, it's fair to say that gentian is a properly bitter bastard. Naturally, the Bitter Bastards range wouldn't...  More info
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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
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The Bitter Bastards Juniper Bitters are made with rapid-maceration and centrifugal extraction in order to preserve the maximum amount of gorgeous, fresh flavours from the botanical. Also, centrifuges...  More info
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Add an exotic depth and bitterness to your cocktails with these Kola Bitters. Paired with a good rum and maybe some tropical fruits, you'll have yourself a definite winner.

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Get some bouquet in your bouquet, with these Bitter Bastards Lavender Bitters, bringing perfumed intensity to a drink near you! Made with lavender flowers, natural bittering agent (gentian root) and...  More info
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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
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The Naga Jolokia chilli, the hottest chilli in the world, is a terrifying beast, one that could bring tears to the eyes of the burliest brute in the land. So obviously there needed to be some Bitter...  More info
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