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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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If you're looking for some bitters to make your drink taste like you just filled up an Easter egg with mashed up chocolate buttons, this probably isn't for you. However, if you're looking to add a...  More info
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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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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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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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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
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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
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Part of the Bitters Sweet Symphony range from German distillers Ferdinand, comes the Winerose Lavender bitters, sure to add delicate, though complex notes to your cocktails and mixed drinks. And yes...  More info
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Ooh, bitters from the folks behind Ferdinand's Saar Dry Gin in Germany. These bitters have a rather intriguing flavour profile - Riesling and Quince! If you remember, the Saar Dry Gin is also made...  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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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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Add a dose of dark fruit and spice to your cocktails with the Fee Brothers Plum Bitters. Ought to pair well with dark rums, we reckon.  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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From the Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. collection comes some rather wonderful Aromatic Bitters, perfect for giving a good burst of flavour to a Manhattan or an Old Fashioned. Made with citrus, a selection of...  More info
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Behold, the third batch of our very own cask-aged Whisky Bitters! These trusty bitters are made with a bountiful selection of scrumptious ingredients, including vanilla, cinnamon, clove and two types...  More info
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Bitter Bastards Liquorice Bitters are made with liquorice root and a bittering agent (gentian root) with a high-quality bourbon base, and provide an intense, earthy, rich, unadulterated liquorice...  More info
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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
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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
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Bitters are said to be the seasoning of the cocktail world, so naturally there has to be Bitter Bastards Black Pepper Bitters (just don't go looking for salt bitters to go on your fish and...  More info
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Some classically-styled Orange Bitters from the Miracle Mile range, created in LA by Louis Anderman. By combining bitter and sweet orange peels with lemon peels, cinchona, cinnamon, juniper and more...  More info
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Brian's mother may not have been too enamoured by myrrh, but there's nothing she enjoyed more than a gift of gold or frankincense. Despite being promised as much gold as she could eat by the...  More info
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The Miracle Mile Bitters range was created by Louis Anderman out in LA - you know, where the Miracle Mile actually is. The Miracle Mile Redeye Bitters are rather interesting indeed, which have been...  More info
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You're probably not going to get one of your five a day from the Fee Brothers Celery Bitters, especially since you'll only need to add a dash or two to give your drinks some complex, bitter-sweet and...  More info
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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
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Fee Brothers Mint Bitters
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Very well made mint bitters from Fee Brothers. The flavour is so authentic and rich, just a dash to a mojito or rum cocktail and you'll bring out a world of new flavours.  More info
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Aromatic, perfumed and altogether awesome Coriander Bitters, for the cocktails that desire intriguing flavours which urge you to take another sip. Rapidly macerated, centrifugally extracted and...  More info
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