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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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Filliers Distillery
St George Spirits
Yamazaki Whisky Distillery
Balcones Whisky Distillery
Kentucky Oak Barrels
Glenmorangie Whisky Distillery
These bitters are packed full of citrus flavours off-set with a heavy dose of chamomile. Designed for summer months but can bring a zestiness to a cocktail at any time of year!  More info
$39.90
Fabulous festive bitters from Difford's, these are flavoured with Frankincense and Myrrh (though not Gold as well, like our Christmas Bitters…). Great for rich, spicy cocktails by the fireplace!...  More info
$14.52
Truly superb bitters from Simon Difford. These, unusually, are specifically designed to bring a-whole-nother dimension of flavour when used in a Margarita! Delicious, a great idea and very handsomely...  More info
$16.75
Beautifully presented, these are stunnning cocktail bitters produced by Simon Difford. They are the first (and only, at the time of writing in late 2011) cocktail bitters aimed specifically for...  More info
$16.75
Classic old-school cocktail bitters from Fee Brothers, this Old Fashion Aromatic bitters work brilliantly well in a Manhattan or a Planter's Punch. Very fragrant and spicy!  More info
$14.35
Our classic Black Truffle bitters are a superb means of adding that rich umami flavour to a range of cocktails and mixed drinks. They are made simply by macerating black truffles in top-quality...  More info
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
Campari - 1970s
(70cl, 25%)
This very rare bottle of Campari Bitter from the 1970s will bring your cocktails to life. Not in the scary Toy Story way, more like the "Bloody hell, this Negroni is fantastic" way.  More info
$203.81
Crystal Bitters
(6cl, 66%)
Our crystal bitters are made from a secret blend of botanicals and bittering ingredients, macerated for several months, then cold-distilled.
It's an intriguing proposition for cocktails, allowing...  More info
Kola Bitters
(5cl, 75%)
Made using Kola Nut – these superb bitters add depth, tang and astringency to all manner of cocktails.These Single-Varietal bitters are made using High-proof Dark Rum, Kola Nut, and natural bittering...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
Wormwood Bitters
(5cl, 51%)
The key ingredient in Absinthe, Wormwood is perhaps one of the most controversial ingredients of all time.

These Single-Varietal bitters are made using only two ingredients; the spirit (High-proof...  More info
Handcrafted bitters with a Christmas twist, Dr. Adam Elmegirab's Christmas Bitters are the perfect addition to seasonal cocktails requiring a botanical lift.  More info
$17.41
These were created in 1828 by John G Boker. They became very popular in New York and they were synonymous with the "golden age" of cocktail making. They were used throughout Jerry Thomas's book "How...  More info
$16.58
Now where would an Old-Fashioned, or a Manhattan be without some decent Orange bitters. These are made by Fee Brothers using West Indian oranges.  More info
$14.98
Made using the finest grade Frankincense, these bitters add a very unusual, ethereal quality to drinks of all descriptions.

These Single-Varietal bitters are made using only three ingredients; the...  More info
Sour Cherry Bitters
(5cl, 75%)
Made with the equivalent of 600g of cherries per litre of spirit, the cherries used in these bitters were freeze-dried prior to maceration to give the maximum possible intensity and flavour.

These...  More info
The world's favourite spice, Black pepper adds an amazing depth of flavour and hit of heat to any savoury cocktail.

These Single-Varietal bitters are made using only three ingredients; the spirit...  More info
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
Chipotle Bitters
(5cl, 40%)
Made using the finest smoked Jalapeño Chillies, these superb bitters add both spiciness, and a profound smoky flavour to cocktails of all descriptions.

These Single-Varietal bitters are made using...  More info
Juniper Bitters
(5cl, 40%)
Made using the finest Juniper berries, these bitters can be treated almost like a 'Gin Concentrate'.

These Single-Varietal bitters are made using only two ingredients; the spirit (Grain Vodka)...  More info
Made using the finest Spanish Orange peel, these Sweet Orange bitters add zestiness to any cocktail. Particularly good in Bourbon-based drinks.

These Single-Varietal bitters are made using only...  More info
Naga Chilli Bitters
(5cl, 51%)
Made with the world's hottest chilli, Naga Jolokia, we reckon these bitters probably tip the scale at around about 250,000 Scoville units.

These Single-Varietal bitters are made using only three...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
Lavender Bitters
(5cl, 40%)
Made using the finest grade of Lavender Flowers – these superb bitters add a perfumed intensity to all manner of cocktails.These Single-Varietal bitters are made using only two ingredients; the spirit...  More info
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
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