Every bartender knows that the key to making the ideal cocktail includes bitters. A popular ingredient in drinks prior to prohibition, bitters have been around for centuries and have gained popularity in recent years with the rise of craft cocktails. One company that left their mark on the cocktail industry is The Bitter Truth, with their wide selection of bitters and recently celebrating its tenth anniversary.
The brainchild of Munich based bartenders Stephan Berg and Alexander Hauck, the duo started the company when they realized the difficulties of finding good bitters that haven’t been seen since the early 1900s. While studying vintage cocktail books, Berg decided to start with the classic bitters. With Alexander as a graphic designer who created a distinctive look and feel for the brand, the duo soon entered the spirits world.
The meticulous process of creating bitters takes more than two months. Berg and Hauck only use all natural ingredients, and begin with maceration and percolation, which is the extraction of flavors by soaking the ingredients in alcohol or water. The extraction of flavors varies on the type of ingredient, but once that stage is done then water or alcohol is added to the liquid to give the bitters its alcohol strength and placed into casks for maturation and harmonization. The final steps are tinged, filtered, bottled and labeled, then they get distributed. Even though the process may be long, it is the traditional way of creating bitters, which produces a higher quality taste.
Starting with a core set of four bitters, the original collection included Aromatic, Orange, Creole and Celery. Within the past decade, The Bitter Truth has expanded and offers liqueurs and flavored spirits. Some of the new additions are Elderflower Liqueur, which has fruity notes ideal for those sweet cocktails, and Jerry Thomas’ Own Decanter Bitters, which is perfect for the classic Old Fashioned with almond and citrus notes.
Speaking of an Old Fashioned, here is an easy recipe to follow from The Bitter Truth that can be made right at home:
Old Fashioned Cocktail
2 oz. Gin, Rum, Tequila or Whiskey
3 dashes Jerry Thomas Bitters
1/4 oz. Sugar Syrup
Pour all the ingredients into a tumbler filled with ice and stir.
Twisted Talk: Have you ever used The Bitter Truth? What is your favorite bitter? Discuss below!