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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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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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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
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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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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
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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
User Rating:  Rating (3.5/5)
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Thanks to Fee Brothers, you can now enjoy the earthy, nutty taste of walnuts in your drinks without getting bits of shell stuck in your teeth. Their Black Walnut Bitters can add some sweet, mildly...  More info
$15.05
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
$22.13
These Robinson and Payne Orange Bitters are thought to originate from the 1890s or 1900s, although no definitive record of their production, ingredients or method of manufacture can be found...  More info
$31.34
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
$18.25
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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These Celery Bitters from The Bitter Truth are the first celery bitters on the market for a long time. Great in a herbal cocktail, or in anything with a clear spirit based (gin, vodka etc).  More info
$31.75
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
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$15.63
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
$15.63
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
$15.68
Clove Bitters
(5cl, 75%)
The quintessential Christmas spice, cloves add a powerful and intense aroma to cocktails and recipes of all descriptions.

These Single-Varietal bitters are made using only three ingredients; the...  More info
$15.63
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
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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)
$15.50
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
$13.87
Jerry Thomas was a Professor in the 19th Century, and is considered one of the most important bartenders of his generation. He created extraordinary bitters, upon which The Bitter Truth based these...  More info
$38.30
Made with tuber magnatum pico (white truffles) these are magnificently earthy, perfumed bitters. We produce these simply by macerating top-quality white truffles in fine grain spirit. Very good in all...  More info
$36.05
Coffee Bitters
(5cl, 40%)
Made using the finest Arabica Coffee beans roasted to a very high (continental) level.

These Single-Varietal bitters are made using only two ingredients; the spirit (Grain Vodka), coffee beans and...  More info
$15.63
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
$15.63
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
$15.33
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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These Bittermens Grapefruit Bitters are excellent in drinks made with gin or other clear spirits. These are great in summertime favourites like a Daiquiri or a Gin and Tonic.  More info
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