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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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Xocolatl Mole Bitters are superb bitter chocolate bitters that work wonders in drinks made with vermouth or rich whisky.  More info
$34.33
Made in New York by the Bittermens company, Elemakule Tiki Bitters are produced in very small batches. These are flavoured with cinnamon and allspice as well as spices from Polynesia and the...  More info
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Campari 1l - 1980s
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This bottling of Campari comes from the 1980s, from the era of Fellini's 'woman in red' advert with Kelly Le Brock.  More info
$163.05
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
$16.90
Fantastic spicy, rich tasting bitters from Fee Brothers. This are the crème de la crème from their range, bottled once yearly in the Spring. They aged this in fresh Tennessee whiskey barrels.  More info
$33.49
Named for the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite Bitters are made with numerous ingredients which have alleged aphrodisiacal properties. These include Chocolate, Cocoa nibs, Ginger root, Red Chilli...  More info
$16.58
If you're looking to add some fantastic citrus zestiness to your cocktails, the Bitter Bastards Sweet Orange Bitters have got you covered. They're are made with the finest Spanish orange peels...  More info
$16.90
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
$16.90
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
$23.93
These Bitter Bastards Sour Cherry Bitters have been made using cherries (obviously), a carefully selected spirit, well-measured amounts of bittering agent (gentian root), rapid-maceration and...  More info
$16.90
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
$16.90
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
$16.90
Classically styled old fashioned bitters from Fee Brothers. These work wonders in a Planter's Punch, a Singapore Sling or a Manhattan.  More info
$15.49
A new higher ABV version of the Bitter Truth's Jerry Thomas Bitters, based on those made by the legendary bartender and professor they're named after. Perfect for a Manhattan or an Old Fashioned.  More info
$32.20
A superb dark chocolate bitters inspired by the cacao lusting Aztecs of yore who would drink a bitter version of hot chocolate made from cacao, peppers and spices. Fee Brothers' bitters are fantastic...  More info
$16.95
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
$24.15
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
$16.90
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
$16.90
Dale DeGroff's Pimento Aromatic Bitters. Pimento is the Jamaican word for allspice, as such these bitters have a delicious layering of anise and other herbs that work excellently in a Piña Colada or a...  More info
$27.36
Very fresh and hearty Lemon bitters from Fee Brothers. They make these with lemon oils and Lemon Grass, and the result is great bitters that work superbly well in Sours cocktails and long drinks.  More info
$19.74
Wonderful bitters from Dr Adam Elmegirab, these offer fantastic notes of citrus. We get flavours of coriander, violet, raspberry, honey, pomegranate, chamomile, and a range of orange peels.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$16.76
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
$24.22
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
$24.64
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
$16.58
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
$16.98
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