Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Back to the bitters

A hundred years ago bitters were the key ingredient that distinguished cocktails from other types of drinks such as Toddies, Slings, Fizzes, Sours or Punches. For decades, they were an essential ingredient of good cocktail creations.

The 1920’s period of prohibition curtailed consumers’ drinking habits and cocktail bitters almost sank into oblivion. There were few brands to survive that period, and even then not all managed to re-establish themselves. Angostura Bitters alone were about the only type of bitters to stand the test of time.

The resurgence of the cocktail has led to new interest in bitters. As bartenders became more interested in the new art of mixology they looked to the past for inspiration. They found that many old cocktail recipes could simply no longer been mixed as the vital ingredient, the bitters were no longer available. Munich bartenders Stephan Berg and Alexander Hauck identified a need for to produce such historical bitters on a commercial basis. Stephan owned a large collection of current and historical bitters, some of which hadn’t been produced for decades. Thus, he knew how the most well-known bitters of the world tasted and was considered a specialist in this area.

Bitter Truth was set up in 2006 and now produces a range of award winning bitters and drinks. Flavours include Orange Bitters, Old Time Aromatic Bitters, Lemon Bitters, Jerry Thomas’ Own Decanter Bitters, Creole Bitters and a Celery Bitters. In addition, The Bitter Truth has released a SloeBerry BlueGin‚ which is flavoured with fresh sloeberries, and a range of fine liqueurs: an Apricot Brandy, a Crème de Violette and a Pimento Dram. Recently ELIXIER, a digestive liqueur in the grand tradition of the Alps was added to range to make the bridge between the bitters and the liqueur range.

If you fancy whipping up an expert cocktail from the past you can purchase their drinks online here or at specialist drinks sellers.