Bitters are distilled alcoholic beverages that have a strong, bitter taste.
Digestive bitters are usually brown, high in alcohol and very bitter. Grog bitters have an intense red colour and a sweetish, moderately bitter taste.
Bitters are served as digestifs, chilled on their own or in mixed drinks.
Digestive bitters are served after a heavy meal to aid digestion. Grog bitters are used in mixed drinks with, for example, soda water or orange juice.
Bitters are served chilled, at 8–10°C.
Bitters were originally intended to be used as medicine. The idea was to stimulate an appetite and aid digestion.
Examples of typical spices used in bitters are angelica root, cinchona bark, galangal root, liquorice root, ginger, gentian root, rhubarb root, peppercorns, lemon peel, aniseed, fennel seed, cardamom, nutmeg, tonka bean, saffron and sandalwood.