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– Botanical ingredients in bitters include aromatic herbs, bark, roots, and fruit for flavor and medicinal properties.
– Common ingredients in bitters are cascarilla, cassia, gentian, orange peel, and cinchona bark.
– Bitters typically contain water and alcohol, with alcohol acting as a solvent and preservative.
– Alcoholic strength in bitters varies among brands and styles.
– Some modern bitters are made with vegetable glycerin for those avoiding alcohol.

– Ancient Egyptians may have infused medicinal herbs in wine, laying the foundation for bitters.
Middle Ages saw the development of herbal bitters with the availability of distilled alcohol.
– British tradition of adding herbal bitters to wine became popular in American colonies.
– The cocktail emerged in 1806, combining liquor, sugar, water, and bitters.
– Notable bitters from the 19th century include Angostura and Peychauds.

Digestive bitters:
– Consumed in Europe and South America neat or on the rocks after meals.
– Popular Italian-style amaros and German-style Kräuterlikörs are used in cocktails.
Cocktail bitters are added in drops or dashes for flavoring.
– Many cocktail bitters in the US are classified as alcoholic non-beverage products.
– Bitters are used in various cocktails and are available in supermarkets in some US states.

Usage in cocktails:
– Bitters are used to flavor cocktails in drops or dashes.
– They are integral in classic cocktail recipes like the Sazerac.
– Orange bitters are commonly used in older cocktail recipes.
– Bitters prepared from tree bark with quinine were included in historical cocktail recipes.
– Mixologist Jerry Thomas popularized bitters in the US with his book in 1862.

Culinary uses:
– Bitters are used to flavor food and drinks.
– They are used in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
– Bitters are used in cooking to add depth and complexity to dishes.
– Some chefs use bitters in desserts for a unique flavor profile.
– Bitters are versatile and can enhance the taste of various dishes and drinks.

Bitters (Wikipedia)

A bitters (plural also bitters) is traditionally an alcoholic preparation flavored with botanical matter for a bitter or bittersweet flavor. Originally, numerous longstanding brands of bitters were developed as patent medicines, but now are sold as digestifs, sometimes with herbal properties, and as cocktail flavorings.

An old bottle of "Kuyavian Stomach Essence", bitters from Posen, Germany (now Poznań in Poland).

Since cocktails often contain sour and sweet flavors, bitters are used to engage another primary taste and thereby balance out the drink and make it more complex, giving it a more complete flavor profile.

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