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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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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
$32.68
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
$25.10
Fennel Bitters
(5cl, 75%)
Made using the finest Fennel seeds macerated in a superb blend of Caribbean Rums.

These Single-Varietal bitters are made using only three ingredients; the spirit (High-proof Dark Rum) and Fennel...  More info
$16.71
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.

Cocoa...  More info
$16.71
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
$33.53
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
$16.71
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
$33.50
Gentian Bitters
(5cl, 40%)
Gentian is an ingredient traditionally used as a bittering agent in many cocktail bitters, and cocktail recipes.

These Single-Varietal bitters are made using only three ingredients; the spirit...  More info
$16.71
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
$33.53
Liquorice Bitters
(5cl, 51%)
Made using Liquorice root, these bitters reflect the true and unadulterated flavour of the liquorice plant.

These Single-Varietal bitters are made using only three ingredients; the spirit...  More info
$16.71
These are the London Cocktail Society's very own bitters - developed with their members and Master of Malt through a bitters blending competition held at Shaker and Company in November 2011. We gave a...  More info
$16.71
Regans Orange bitters - absolutely magical when used in an old-fashioned. A must-have for anyone making cocktails with any kind of whisky.  More info
$13.48
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
$38.54
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
$16.71
Ginger Bitters
(5cl, 75%)
Made using ginger root – these superb bitters add a spicy warmth and intensity to all manner of cocktails.These Single-Varietal bitters are made using only three ingredients; the spirit (High-proof...  More info
$16.71
Cinnamon Bitters
(5cl, 51%)
A fabulous, Christmassy spice, Cinnamon lends a superb edge to many different cocktails, especially those using apple.

These Single-Varietal bitters are made using only three ingredients; the...  More info
$16.71
Designed to be carried in your hand luggage so never again will you have to cancel a holiday out of fear of not having a decent selection of cocktail bitters. The Bitter Truth has come up with these...  More info
$25.66
Peychaud's Bitters
(15cl, 35%)
Cocktail bitters made using a predominance of cloves. Great 'all-rounder' for use in any drink calling for bitters.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$15.53
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
$16.71
With a little help from Neil Ridley from CaskStrength.net, we’ve created Christmas Bitters, based on the gifts lain at the tiny toes of baby Jesus. We’ve concocted the most fabulous festive bitters...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (2.5/5)
$21.75
Angostura Bitters
(20cl, 44.70%)
What would any great cocktail be without a few dashes of Angostura bitters? These legendary bitters were created by Dr Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert, who was Surgeon General in Simon Bolivar's army...  More info
$18.30
Gammel Dansk is a Danish bitters, and the name literally means "Old Danish". It was first created in 1961 and it is flavoured with herbs and spices including star anise, nutmeg, ginger, laurel...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$38.29
These are our very own bitters. These are made with fine herbs, spices and fruits including fresh vanilla pods, cinnamon, cloves and two kinds of orange peel.

The ingredients are individually...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
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
$161.20
These Old Fashion bitters come at a slightly lower strength than the Fee Brothers' other editions. They are aromatic and spicy and work superbly well in all kinds of classic cocktails including...  More info
$22.50
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