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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!

Dashfire Hibiscus Bitters

10cl, 38%
Dashfire

When you drop these Hibiscus Dashfire Bitters (handcrafted in St. Paul, Minnesota) into your cocktail, you'll probably notice the gorgeous colour first - but don't stop yourself there. The subtle…  More info

Dashfire Hibiscus Bitters
$17.71

Ferdinand's Bitters Sweet Symphony Rubinette Apple - Lemon Thyme

10cl, 44%
Ferdinand

Rubinette-Apple-and-Lemon-Thyme-favoured bitters the spectacularly titled Bitters Sweet Symphony range made by the German producers of Ferdinand's Saar Dry Gin. Top stuff for experimental bartenders.  More info

Ferdinand's Bitters Sweet Symphony Rubinette Apple - Lemon Thyme
$26.47

Bob’s Liquorice Bitters

10cl, 32.1%
Bob's Bitters

Vibrantly flavoursome Liquorice Bitters from the Bob's Bitters range. Focussing on the intense though subtly sweet flavours of liquorice, these bitters will pair well with all manner of gin-based…  More info

Bob’s Liquorice Bitters
$16.13

Bitter Bastards Gentian Bitters

5cl, 40%
Bitter Bastards

You'll often see gentian being used as a bittering agent in cocktails and bitters alike. Yep, it's fair to say that gentian is a properly bitter bastard. Naturally, the Bitter Bastards range wouldn't…  More info

Bitter Bastards Gentian Bitters
$13.20

The Bitter Truth Olive Bitters

20cl, 39%
The Bitter Truth

Savoury drinks are very much "a thing" - in fact, we'd go so far as to say they are "an awesome thing". It's the truth, and The Bitter Truth folks believe so too. They've even come up with their very…  More info

The Bitter Truth Olive Bitters
$19.97

Dashfire Spiced Apple Bitters

10cl, 35%
Dashfire

Where do you go next after mastering flavours like Grapefruit, Bay Leaf, Hibiscus and Chai'Walla Chai? You look to the classics for inspiration - and what's more American than apple pie? The Spiced…  More info

Dashfire Spiced Apple Bitters
$19.89

Bittermens Scarborough

15cl, 45%
Bittermens

The chaps at Bittermans have the perfect thing for giving your drinks a good whack of savoury herbaceousness - Scarborough bitters! These are made using a blend of sage, parsley, thyme and rosemary,…  More info

Bittermens Scarborough
$17.85

London Cocktail Society Bitters #1

5cl, 75%
Master of Malt

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…  More info

London Cocktail Society Bitters #1
$13.20

Bitter Bastards Coriander Bitters 10cl

10cl, 50%
Bitter Bastards

Looking to boost the herbaceous spice of your gin-based cocktails? Slam dunk a few drops of these Bitter Bastards Coriander Bitters in your glass! These are made utilising rapid-maceration and…  More info

Bitter Bastards Coriander Bitters 10cl
$19.84

Hobo South American Bitters

10cl, 40%
Wayfinder's Distillery

Cocktail bitters from the folks behind Wayfinder Gin, inspired by the flavours of South America. These go particularly well with gin-based deliciousness...  More info

Hobo South American Bitters
$13.16

Hobo Far Eastern Bitters

10cl, 40%
Wayfinder's Distillery

These Far Eastern Bitters from the folks behind Wayfinder Gin ought to help bolster the exciting, flavoursome elements of your cocktails and add an enjoyable bitterness into the mix.  More info

Hobo Far Eastern Bitters
$10.97

Hobo English Garden Bitters

10cl, 40%
Wayfinder's Distillery

These English Garden bitters from the team behind Wayfinder Gin boast a refreshing flavour profile and just enough bitterness to stand out in a cocktail or mixed drink (perhaps featuring some of the…  More info

Hobo English Garden Bitters
$13.16

Bittermens Burlesque Bitters

15cl, 44%
Bittermens

These spicy bitters are aptly named - they are spicy, sweet and tart - truly burlesque! They were work well in cocktails featuring Amari, Gin, Tequila or Rum and are made using hibiscus, açai berry…  More info

Bittermens Burlesque Bitters
$17.85

Copperhead Blends Aperitivum

5cl, 80%
Copperhead

The Copperhead Blends range helps you get the most out of this Belgian Gin and the different times you may wish to enjoy it. Aperitivum contains palate-cleansing angelica and grapefruit, perfect for…  More info

Copperhead Blends Aperitivum
$13.20

Dashfire Lime Bitters

10cl, 34%
Dashfire

Name me one cocktail that doesn't benefit from a helping of lime bitters? While we wait for your postcards with your answers on them, take a look at these Lime Bitters made by Dashfire, from St.…  More info

Dashfire Lime Bitters
$17.71

Bittermens Orange Cream Citrate Bitters

15cl, 44%
Bittermens

The Bittermens chaps over in the USA were inspired by cream sodas and phosphates you might find in soda shops of old for their Orange Cream Citrate Bitters, which are more intensely sour and sweet,…  More info

Bittermens Orange Cream Citrate Bitters
$17.85

Dashfire Sichuan Bitters

10cl, 38%
Dashfire

Wonderfully spicy Sichuan pepper-flavoured cocktail bitters from the Dashfire folks. These will add a kick of exotic heat to your drinks, and should pair well with rum and tequila we reckon.  More info

Dashfire Sichuan Bitters
$17.71

Dr Adam Elmegirab's Spanish Bitters

10cl, 38%
Dr. Adam Elmegirab

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

Dr Adam Elmegirab's Spanish Bitters
3
$14.16

Dashfire Mr Lee's Ancient Chinese Secret Bitters

5cl, 35.9%
Dashfire

This unique cocktail bitter brings together a flavour combination inspired by the traditional herbs and spices of China. Dashfire owner Lee Egbert spent 18 months living and teaching in China, and he…  More info

Dashfire Mr Lee's Ancient Chinese Secret Bitters
$13.81

Bitter Bastards Frankincense Bitters

5cl, 49.5%
Bitter Bastards

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

Bitter Bastards Frankincense Bitters
$13.20

Fee Brothers Mint Bitters

15cl, 35.8%
Fee Brothers

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

Fee Brothers Mint Bitters
1
$15.86

The Bitter Truth Drops & Dashes - Blossom

10cl, 42%
The Bitter Truth

A deliciously floral expression from The Bitter Truth Drops & Dashes range, released in celebration of their 10th anniversary - here's to many more, chaps!  More info

The Bitter Truth Drops & Dashes - Blossom
$16.36

Bitter Bastards Clove Bitters

5cl, 75%
Bitter Bastards

Clove is wonderful stuff, whether you're adding it to some mulled wine or picking it out of a whisky's snazzy bouquet, we love this dark spice. How then, to get some of this magic into your…  More info

Bitter Bastards Clove Bitters
$13.20

Jerry Thomas Instant Age Classic Oak Bitters

10cl, 44%
Jerry Thomas

Interesting cocktails bitters here from the Jerry Thomas range (named after the legendary bartender, of course). These will add a robust core of oak-y notes to your drink, and accentuate the…  More info

Jerry Thomas Instant Age Classic Oak Bitters
$29.13

Bitter Bastards Cask-Aged Whisky Bitters

5cl, 48.8%
Bitter Bastards

Bitter Bastards use innovative rapid-maceration and centrifugal extraction to eliminate unwanted flavours and preserve the tasty ones, with vanilla, cinnamon, clove and two types of orange peel used.…  More info

Bitter Bastards Cask-Aged Whisky Bitters
1
$21.16

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