Originally, cocktail bitters were the ingredient that distinguished cocktails from other categories of beverages such as Toddies, Slings, Fizzes, Sours or Punches. For decades, they were an essential component of good cocktail creations.
The start of prohibition curtailed consumers’ drinking habits and cocktail bitters almost sank into oblivion. Only a few brands survived that period, but even after that, not all of them managed to reestablish themselves in the new market. Angostura Bitters alone held their ground.
For some time now, there has been a resurgence in the popularity of cocktail bitters on an international level. Since 2006, the German bitters company The Bitter Truth has been doing its share to contribute to this development.
It all started during a stay in London during the Bar Show BAR ’06 in June 2006. At that show, Munich bartenders Stephan Berg and Alexander Hauck gave birth to the idea of producing and distributing cocktail bitters on a large scale, as they were hard to find in Germany and of inferior quality. Both of them had already gained a considerable amount of experience in producing handmade cocktail bitters for the bars they were working at. In addition, 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.
Their criteria for the choice of flavors was mainly provided by old cocktail recipes that could no longer be mixed true to the original because one crucial ingredient had been missing – the correct bitters.
In August 2006, the first products from The Bitter Truth were released: an Orange Bitters and an Old Time Aromatic Bitters. Shortly after that, a Lemon Bitters was released. Since then, two additional flavors have been added to the range: the Jerry Thomas’ Own Decanter Bitters and a Celery Bitters, which won the award as »Best Spirit of the Year 2008« at the Mixology Bar Awards in Germany. In addition, The Bitter Truth has released a SloeBerry BlueGin‚ which is flavored with fresh sloeberries, and a range of fine liqueurs: an Apricot Brandy, a Crème de Violette and a Pimento Dram.
In Summer 2009 they started a global partnership with Janet and Avery Glasser, the founders of Bittermens, Inc., to bring their bitters line to market, starting with a Grapefruit Bitters and a Xocolatl Mole Bitters.
»The Bitter Truth – Elixier« is The Bitter Truth’s latest product, a digestive liqueur in the grand tradition of the Alps.
»The Bitter Truth – Lemon Bitters« were the first lemon bitters on the market. They add the liveliness and freshness of lemons to every cocktail. They are primarily suited for drinks that are based on clear spirits like Vodka, Gin and Silver Tequila, but also go well with many other spirits and liqueurs.
Fresh and fruity-tangy with an unbelievably intense citrus note. They are bitter to the taste with flavorful notes of coriander and cardamom in the background.