The Fascinating History and Modern Use of Cocktail Bitters

As you take a sip of your expertly crafted cocktail, have you ever wondered what the secret ingredient that makes it so delicious is? It might be the cocktail Bitters! These potent ingredients have a fascinating history and continue to be crucial elements in modern mixology.

Map  Description automatically generatedThe Origins of Bitters 

Cocktail Bitters were originally created as medicinal tonics in the early 19th century. Dr. Johann Siegert, a surgeon in the army of Simon Bolivar, created the first Bitters in the town of Angostura, Venezuela. The concoction, which he named after the town, was used to treat stomach ailments, fevers, and other ailments. The recipe consisted of a blend of herbs, spices, and botanicals that were ground and soaked in high-proof alcohol.

Different Types of Bitters 

Aromatic Bitters are the most common, and they are made by combining a blend of herbs and spices with high-proof alcohol. Angostura Bitters, named after the town where they originated, are the most well-known aromatic Bitters. Other popular aromatic Bitters include Peychaud’s and Regan’s Orange Bitters.
Other lesser-known types of Bitters include savory Bitters like Scrappy’s Celery and even chocolate Bitters like Bittermens Xocolatl Mole.

A picture containing cup  Description automatically generatedHow Bitters are Made 

They are made by combining herbs, spices, fruits, or other botanicals with high-proof alcohol. The mixture is then strained, and a small amount of the resulting liquid is added to cocktails to impart flavor and depth.

Using Bitters in Cocktails 

To incorporate Bitters into cocktails, a few drops are added to the drink to enhance its flavor. They can be used to balance out sweetness, add complexity, or bring out the best in a particular spirit. Bitters should be stored in a cool, dark place, and dropper bottles are often used for precise measurements.

Pairing Bitters with Spirits 

Different types of Bitters pair well with different spirits. For example, whiskey-based cocktails often pair well with aromatic Bitters, while gin-based cocktails work well with fruit Bitters. Adding the right Bitters to your cocktail can make it taste better and give you a more satisfying drinking experience.

Popular Bitters and Cocktails  Old Fashioned

Some popular Bitters and cocktails that showcase their unique flavor profiles include:

Espresso Martini


Bitters have played a vital role in the creation of alcoholic beverages for a significant amount of time and continue to do so now. Bitters are an ingredient that can be added to mixed drinks in order to make the drinking experience more exciting and satisfying.

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