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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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Tasting Sets
Regans Orange bitters - absolutely magical when used in an old-fashioned. A must-have for anyone making cocktails with any kind of whisky.  More info
$13.71
The Naga Jolokia chilli, the hottest chilli in the world, is a terrifying beast, one that could bring tears to the eyes of the burliest brute in the land. So obviously there needed to be some Bitter...  More info
$15.24
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
$15.24
Designed to be carried in your hand luggage so never again will you have to cancel a holiday out of fear of not having a decent selection of cocktail bitters. The Bitter Truth has come up with these...  More info
$27.56
Peychaud's Bitters
(15cl, 35%)
Cocktail bitters made using a predominance of cloves. Great 'all-rounder' for use in any drink calling for bitters.  More info
User Rating:  (2 Reviews)
$12.87
Kamm & Sons excellent Ginseng Spirit has been relaunched as Kamm & Sons British Aperitif - still containing 45 botanicals (such as grapefruit peel, manuka honey, elderflower, juniper berries, fennel...  More info
$41.35
Gammel Dansk is a Danish bitters, and the name literally means "Old Danish". It was first created in 1961 and it is flavoured with herbs and spices including star anise, nutmeg, ginger, laurel...  More info
User Rating:  (7 Reviews)
$34.99
Angostura Bitters
(20cl, 44.70%)
What would any great cocktail be without a few dashes of Angostura bitters? These legendary bitters were created by Dr Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert, who was Surgeon General in Simon Bolivar's army...  More info
$18.63
Another addition to a bartender's arsenal from Fee Brothers, they've only gone and made some Cardamom Bitters, inspired by a classic style of bitters which date back to the 1800s. Plenty spicy, with...  More info
$14.54
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
$18.31
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
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 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
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
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:  (6 Reviews)
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
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
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
User Rating:  (1 Review)
Underberg Tin 12x2cl
(24cl, 44%)
A handsome tin, full of Underberg! Nice! This colourful little box contains 12 2cl bottles of the excellent German digestif, made with 43 aromatic herbs. A top quality after dinner drink.  More info
$25.36
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
$30.70
Campari 25% - 1970s
(75cl, 25%)
A 1970s bottle of Campari Bitters, perfect for a Negroni that isn't a roast beef sandwich (check out this edition of Master of Cocktails to pick up what I'm putting down with that statement)...  More info
$147.08
A bottle of Campari Bitters from the 1970s, made in Italy. Ready for Negronis, Americanos and the Campari Orange.  More info
$147.08
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
$37.14
Bittermens Orchard Street Celery Shrub was partially inspired by a pickle seller in New York, partially inspired by a vintage soda which was made with celery and partially inspired by picklebacks...  More info
$37.14
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
$183.85
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