I was approached by Fifty Pounds Gin with a fantastic proposal to write a blog on Bitters and explain why you should use them. I could write for ages about the benefits of using bitters, but I try to keep it short in this article. The article is a guest post, but you can read the full story on the Fifty Pounds Gin website. Bellow is an only small part of this read.
What are bitters and why should you start using them in your cocktails?
The history of bitters going far back to ancient Egypt where the Egyptians may use to infuse a wine with herbs. I won’t speculate here, but the first evidence of bitter combinations could be dating back to Middle Ages. The time when Pharmacognosy (the study of plants or other natural sources as a possible source of drugs ) became very popular. The study starts using readily available distilled alcohol and mixed with herbs & botanicals. By the 19th century thing changed a lot with the new concept of mixed drinks (cocktails) start rising in America. The use of bitters starts growing up and taking their place in the industry.
There are quite a few bitters known to exist dating back to 1806. Probably one of the most popular on the commercial side is the Angostura Bitters. Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert, surgeon general in Simón Bolívar’s army in Venezuela create the bitter as a tonic. He began to sell it in 1824 and officially establish his distillery in 1830. Luckily some of the oldest bitters still around alongside with many new brands which offering outstanding quality and variety of flavours.
Visit Fifty Pounds Gin to read the full post and check the three recipes you can try. All recipes are from the 1977 book “Complete World Bartenders Guide”. The methods are my riff interpretation on this fantastic classics.