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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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The Lost Distilleries Blend
Yamazaki Whisky Distillery
That Boutique-y Whisky Company
Origin Gin
Whisky Liqueurs
Glenfarclas Whisky Distillery
If you're looking to add some fantastic citrus zestiness to your cocktails, the Bitter Bastards Sweet Orange Bitters have got you covered. They're are made with the finest Spanish orange peels...  More info
$15.15
These excellent grapefruit bitters from Fee Brothers work really well in cocktails with a tangy citrus element. They add a little extra spice and depth. Try them in your next Margarita or Sour…  More info
$14.97
Superb chocolate bitters from top Austrian-based, chocolate-drink-producers Mozart. These are created by macerating top quality cocoa in sugar cane spirit, to which spices are added. Great in a...  More info
$14.36
Say you've got a cocktail, but you feel it's lacking some 'shazam' or 'ka-pow' or another onomatopoeic word to suggest excitement. What's the remedy for this lack of 'ta-daa'? Bitters. Perhaps...  More info
$15.15
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
$15.15
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
$15.15
These chipotle bitters are made with delicious smoke-dried jalapeño peppers, gentian root and specially selected spirit. The yummy, highly-desirable flavours gained through rapid-maceration are then...  More info
$15.15
Get some bouquet in your bouquet, with these Bitter Bastards Lavender Bitters, bringing perfumed intensity to a drink near you! Made with lavender flowers, natural bittering agent (gentian root) and...  More info
$15.15
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
$12.71
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
$13.63
Very unusual indeed - Rhubarb bitters. Made by Fee Brothers, they have a complex medicinal, rhubarb flavour with hints of cherry.  More info
$15.14
Campari Bitters
(70cl, 25%)
A 19th century bitters created in Milan by Gaspare Campari. It is made by infusing bitter herbs, plants and fruit in alcohol and water. The result is a rich, complex bitters which works brilliantly in...  More info
User Rating:  (1 Review)
$23.74
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
$15.15
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
$15.15
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
$27.39
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
$41.10
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)
$34.78
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
$18.52
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
$15.23
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
$18.20
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)
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