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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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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
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A superb extraction of the very finest Cumin Seeds money can buy.

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Bitter Bastards cocktail bitters made with Tuber Borchii or 'bianchetto' truffles! Known for their slight garlicky note alongside all the earthy, perfumed goodness you'd expect, these gorgeous...  More info
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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
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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
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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
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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.

The Bitter Bastards...  More info
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Wormwood is a vital ingredient in absinthe (some might even go so far as to say it is THE vital ingredient, and they'd probably be right!), so you can bet your bottom dollar that the Bitter Bastards...  More info
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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
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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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Curacao Bitters
(5cl, 75%)
Made using small, Green, Bitter oranges from the Island of Curacao (just off Venezuela).

These Single-Varietal bitters are made using only three ingredients; the spirit (High-proof Dark Rum) and...  More info
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Superb chocolate bitters from top Austrian-based, chocolate-drink-producers Mozart. These are created by macerating top quality cocoa in sugar cane spirit, to which spices are added. Great in a...  More info
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These Lemon Bitters from The Bitter Truth were the first of their kind on the market. Great zingy flavour, works wonders in a Martini or a Gin and Tonic.  More info
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Cocoa Bitters
(5cl, 40%)
Cocoa, Cacao, Xocolatl, Chucklit - call it what you will…

These Single-Varietal bitters are made using only two ingredients; the spirit (Grain Vodka), cocoa and natural bittering agents.

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Stunning Cherry bitters from Fee Brothers. A classic ingredient in pre-Prohibition era cocktail making. These work fantastically with whiskey cocktails…  More info
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Fennel Bitters
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Made using the finest Fennel seeds macerated in a superb blend of Caribbean Rums.

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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
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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
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Coriander Bitters
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When Macerated in the high-proof rum used to extract the flavour, Coriander seeds take on an ethereal, slightly perfumed note.

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Tuber Aestivum, or the Summer Truffle, is in fact the same species as the Burgundy Truffle (Tuber Uncinatum), but they are grown in the Mediterranean warmth of southern France, Spain and Italy and are...  More info
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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
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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
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
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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
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Clove Bitters
(5cl, 75%)
The quintessential Christmas spice, cloves add a powerful and intense aroma to cocktails and recipes of all descriptions.

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