Do It Yourself

Bitters – A History

Ever wonder where bitters came from? What is the story behind this beverage enhancer? Keep reading to see.


Bitters’ History

Have you ever had bitters in your drink? Well in case you’re not familiar with them, Wikipedia defines it as “an alcoholic preparation flavored with botanical matter such that the end result is characterized by a bitter, sour, or bitter-sweet flavor.” It’s been used to cure a couple of ailments and is now used to flavor certain cocktails. Get to the bottom of how this mixer began with this trusty infographic!

Just exactly what are bitters anyway?

Bitters are an infusion of roots, seeds, spices, herbs, barks, and other botanicals in a high proof alcohol. While they once were purported to have myriad healing powers, they are now used as a flavoring agent in alcoholic drinks. They do not actually make a beverage taste bitter, but rather a dash adds spicy complexity and helps to balance a too-sweet drink.

The first definition of the word cocktail was written in 1806: “Cocktail is a stimulating liquor composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters.” 

Fun Fact: A Bitter is a combination of many flavors, while Tinctures are single flavor.

I love a good cocktail at the end of the day, and with the addition of this fine ingredient, I know I can always drink well.

What is your favorite way to prepare a cocktail with this ingredient? Let us know in the comments!

You’ll also like: Tincture Recipes | Make Your Own Herbal Tincture


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