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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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Origin Gin
The Lost Distilleries Blend
Monkey Shoulder Whisky
Professor Cornelius Ampleforth
Maple Whiskey Liqueur
Balcones Whisky Distillery
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
$16.51
Perfectly crafted orange bitters, these Orange Bitters from Bitter Truth are essential in a good Old Fashioned Cocktail. Loads of zesty, spicy flavour!  More info
$22.87
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
$24.00
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
$16.12
Brilliant peach bitters from Free Brothers. Try adding a few drops to a Mai Tai cocktail, it adds a luscious peach flavour that works really well.  More info
$15.47
Orinoco Bitters were created by Dr. Adam Elmegirab for use in the multi-award-winning Dead Rabbit bar in New York City, inspired by a style of bitters produced in the late 1800s. They're made using a...  More info
$15.74
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
User Rating:  (1 Review)
$16.31
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
$15.66
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
$188.87
Fantastic spicy, rich tasting bitters from Fee Brothers. This are the crème de la crème from their range, bottled once yearly in the Spring. They aged this in fresh Tennessee whiskey barrels.  More info
$31.23
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
$31.40
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
$15.66
Stunning Cherry bitters from Fee Brothers. A classic ingredient in pre-Prohibition era cocktail making. These work fantastically with whiskey cocktails…  More info
$13.96
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
$15.66
Make your Gin & Tonic more Gin & Tonic-y with the Bitter Truth Tonic Bitters, which blends together notes of grapefruit, lime, Seville Orange and Sicilian lemon along with juniper, orris root and...  More info
$27.47
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
$30.93
Extraordinary bitters, Bittermens Hopped Grapefruit Bitters are made with grapefruit essences and peels, hops for bitterness, and bottled at 53% abv. We recommend these be used in cocktails such as...  More info
$36.97
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
$31.81
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
User Rating:  (1 Review)
$15.47
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
$18.81
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
$15.66
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
$23.53
Fabulous orange bitters from the legendary Angostura company, these were first introduced in 2007 and work tremendously well in a variety of rum-based cocktails…  More info
$12.78
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
$18.95
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
$18.81
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