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Cocktail Bitters

 Products (Total Items: 5)
Urban Moonshiners Organic Bitters Collection
Urban Moonshiners Organic Bitters Collection
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Your Price: $34.95
Underberg Bitters 3 Bottle Set
Underberg Bitters 3 Bottle Set
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Urban Moonshiners Original Bitters
Urban Moonshiners Original Bitters
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Your Price: $11.95
Urban Moonshiners Maple Bitters
Urban Moonshiners Maple Bitters
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Urban Moonshiners Citrus Bitters
Urban Moonshiners Citrus Bitters
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Cocktail Bitters

Cocktail bitters are a key ingredient in most any classic cocktail. Bitters we included in the very first known recipe for a cock-tail. The May, 13th issue of the 1806 Balance and Colombian Repository detailed a cocktail as “spirits of any king, sugar, water and bitters.” Bitters used in this cocktail recipe were only used for cocktails. Bitters were hugely popular from the 1860’s up to the mid-1920s. Bitters were produced long before the 1860s. Recipes using the term bitters can be dated back to the late 1700’s.

What are bitters? Bitters are made by macerating herbs and spices in alcohol. Water is added to dilute the concentration. Bitters were created with a medicinal intent. Many were created to cure specific maladies and were made famous by snake-oil salesmen on the western frontier. Since bitters were considered medicine, even people that didn’t “drink” found no issues with imbibing in a daily dose (despite the fact bitters typically contained up to 45% alcohol or 90 proof!). Bitters continued to be sold in pharmacies during prohibition because of their medicinal qualities (real or imagined). Eventually the US government got wise and cracked down by banning a list of the more popular bitters brands and recipes. This put an end to having your local pharmacist whip you up a batch of your favorite bitters.

Most people think of Angostura Bitters whenever the term bitters is mentioned. This brand of bitters was started in 1824 and continues on till this day. Other popular brands and types of bitters included Hostetter’s Bitters, Alpine Herb Bitters, Berliner Bitters, IXL Bitters, Hop Bitters, Kelly Old Cabin Bitters (highly sought after bottle by antique collectors), Lash’s Bitters, Orange Bitters, Stoughton Bitters and Forest Wine Bitters.

Today, outside of the world of classic cocktails, only a few recipes call for cocktail bitters; they include the The Manhattan, the Old Fashioned, and Champagne Cocktail. Prior to prohibition, cocktail bitters were a necessary ingredient in most every cocktail. Inside the world of classic cocktails, bitters are enjoying a bit of renaissance. New cocktail bitter types and brands are entering the market and enabling bartenders to recreate long lost pre-prohibition cocktail recipes.