Six things you didn't know about the cocktail staple – bitters
This aromatic spirit should be a staple in everyone's drinks cupboard. A highly concentrated concoction of fruit, leaves, herbs, roots and spices, bitters help to transform cocktails and highballs, bringing a bitter and sour complexity to flavours, and balancing sweetness. Here's five things you might not know about bitters...
- Originating from Renaissance Europe, bitters were originally produced as medicines, and prescribed to aid everything from digestion to detoxification.
- Widespread bitters brand Angostura Bitters was originally created by a German doctor to treat stomach complaints, and takes its name from the Venezuelan town Angostura, where he was based.
- Popular liqueurs and digestives have been inspired by bitters, including spirits like Jägermeister, Campari, Aperol and Fernet Branca.
- A common ingredient in many bitters is the root of the gentian flower, which grows in alpine habitats and has been used as a cure for digestive issues, fever and for lowering blood pressure.
- Angostura Bitters is thought to be a cure for hiccups.
- Drinks tip: bitters can be used as a flavour turbo-booster in popular cocktails like the Mojito. Alternatively, many cocktails have originally been created using bitters – try some of our favourites below.