Initially created in an attempt to combat sea-sickness and to settle the stomach, this potent tasting drink includes various aromatics infused into a strong base spirit.
The most well known is the famous Angostura Bitters, named after the Venezuelan town, which was a tonic created in the 1800s and was marketed at the local sailors. It included elements of tree bark which was also said to have antimalarial properties and which lent it its sour flavour.
Used sparingly Bitters act almost as a condiment, balancing a mixed drink by adding a, you guessed it, bitter element. The careful blend of barks, herbs and spices make for an unusual flavour that is the ideal counterbalance for what could be a too sweet cocktail.