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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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Blend Your Own Whisky
Vintage Cocktails
Angelica Bitters
(5cl, 75%)
A far cry from the lurid green Glacé Angelica of our youth, these bitters are made with proper, grown-ups' Angelica root.

These Single-Varietal bitters are made using only three ingredients; the...  More info
$15.41
It's clear to see that these Bitter Bastards Crystal Bitters are just the ticket for delicious crystal-clear cocktails made with clear spirits. Though not centrifugally extracted like the other Bitter...  More info
$18.51
This edition of Bitter Bastards single-botanical cocktail bitters is made with the Tuber Uncinatum black truffle, known for its vibrant, powerful hazelnut-like notes. Perfect for the experimental...  More info
$30.91
Now here is something very cool indeed - peach cocktail bitters from the 1960s!  More info
$92.95
This is a 1980s bottle of the classic Campari Bitter. Due to the maceration, rather than distillation, that takes place in Campari's production, oxidisation takes place in the bottle, which leads to...  More info
$185.90
Absinthe Bitters
(50cl, 52%)
Absinthe Bitters from The Great Southern Distilling Company down on the Western Coast of Australia. This is made with two different types of wormwood (the herb that imparts absinthe much of its...  More info
$77.04
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 cocktails?...  More info
$15.41
Like chefs arm themselves with spices to create masterful meals, bartenders arm themselves with bitters to perfectly season cocktails. The Bitter Bastards Cumin Bitters wouldn't look out of place in...  More info
$15.41
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
$15.41
Angelica might sound all angelic and whatnot, but don't be fooled - it can be a right bitter bastard too! These cocktail bitters are made with intense angelica root, specially selected spirit...  More info
$15.41
Some very interesting cocktail bitters from Bittermens in America (we probably could say that about everything they come out with), their Hellfire Habanero Shrub Bitters are made with a classic...  More info
$37.55
The ultimate bitters for delicious Pisco sours, Chuncho bitters are made with Peruvian Quina and Sarrapia leaves as well as a variety of barks, roots, flowers, herbs and peels.  More info
$13.00
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
$30.92
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
$36.39
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
$29.62
Curacao Bitters
(5cl, 75%)
Made using small, Green, Bitter oranges from the Island of Curacao (just off Venezuela).

These Single-Varietal bitters are made using only three ingredients; the spirit (High-proof Dark Rum) and...  More info
$15.41
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
$15.41
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
$16.25
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
$15.41
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
$23.63
These bitters from The Bitter Truth are made using oranges, lemons and grapefruit from Sicily, perfect for giving a drink a balanced citrus component.  More info
$23.90
Have you ever seen a milk crate and thought "I wish they made a smaller version of that, and for it to house bottles of Underberg..."? Well, your oddly specific wish has been granted! This handsome...  More info
$25.64
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
$23.16
Aromatic bitters, made by The Bitter Truth, in 15cl bottles. For when you aren't planning to make loads of cocktails, but still want them to have a some spicy complexity.  More info
$27.37
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
$15.41
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