spirits of varying strengths flavoured with roots and herbs, used in cocktails to add a kick or depth of flavour, or for medicinal purposes. Most common are Amer Picon, angostura, Campari, Fernet Branca, orange and peach bitters, Cinzano, Underberg.
As their name suggest, bitters are a bitter additive made from dozens, if not hundreds of herbs, spices and plants. Bitters are often called for to flavor cocktails. Use bitters in moderation, as too much can ruin the cocktail.
A group of organic plant chemicals that are characterized by being extremely bitter to taste (although not always unpleasant), rarely poisonous, and nitrogenous. Bitter principles are found throughout the entire plant kingdom, but two families, Asteraceae (Compositae) and Gentianaceae, are utilized the most, in a medicinal sense, for their bitter substances. Bitters stimulate the secretions by the salivary glands and digestive organs, making them an effective aid to the digestive process. Such secretions can dramatically improve the appetite and absorption of nutrients; consequently, the body is nourished and strengthened.
Bitter-tasting herbs that stimulate the digestive organ secretions and actions - stomach, liver, gallbladder, pancreas. They can also help increase an abnormally low appetite (e.g., gentian root, burdock, goldenseal, dandelion root).
These plants contain "bitter principles" which are the constituents that give them their flavor. They work to tone and strengthen the digestive system and to stimulate secretions in the stomach, liver and gallbladder. They are best taken 15 minutes prior to a meal. Gentian, Gentiana lutea
Plant products that have a bitter taste, which stimulate saliva secretions and digestive juices, causing an increase in appetite. Found in plants such as wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) and chiretta (Swertia chirata). Some are also poisonous as in the example of the tropical plant nux vomica, which contains strychnine.
(alc. 30-40%) Herbal-flavoured liqueurs with a pronounced bitterness which often derives from quinine bark (the only known specific for Malaria). They are particularly popular in Italy, Germany and Eastern Europe and are said to aid the digestive process.